Mr. Julius Mbatia, 4th year student, LARMAT at the UNFCC COP 22 meeting
Mr. Julius Mbatia a fourth year student pursuing BSc in Management of Agro ecosystems and Environment, in the department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology (LARMAT) at the University of Nairobi (UoN) participated in the just concluded UNFCC COP 22 meeting.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting was held from 7th to 18th November 2016, in Marrakech, Morocco. The theme of this year’s conference was “Turning Paris Agreement into Action”
The Paris climate agreement entered into force faster than anticipated following the ratification by more than 55% of countries which is 55 countries.
Due to this reality, COP 22 focus was on how to make Paris agreement work by setting up mechanisms and structures that would be implemented.
During the first week of the meeting referred to “technical week”, Subsidiary Body on Science and Technology Advancement (SBSTA) and Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) conducted plenary session with help of party negotiators and observers. Agenda items are normally issued by the UNFCCC secretariat before COP meetings for parties to engage with the next and communicate their positions. Parties negotiate to consensus and the text submitted to the High Level Segment comprising of Ministers and Heads of States for adoption.
In the SBSTA/ SBI sessions, “I followed up under the guidance and mentorship of Kenya’s lead negotiator on technology and Eng. Omedi Jura of the Directorate of Climate Change, on Technology development and agenda Transfer. These were:
- Development and technology transfer of – Item under both SBSTA and SBI
- Joint annual report of the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology center and Network- Agenda item under both SBSTA and SBI
- Technology framework under Article 10 paragraph 4 of the Paris Agreement – Agenda item under SBSTA
- Scope and modalities for periodic assessment of technology mechanism in relation to supporting Paris Agreement implementation – Agenda item under SBI
Mr. J. Mbatia participated in YOUNGO youth meetings and drafting of youth communication to the High Level Segment.
Outcomes of COP 22
Nations held the first meeting of the parties of the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) and willingness by parties to have adaptation fund under Paris Agreement was realized.
The Paris Agreement was a complete document that set out the overarching goals and framework for international climate action. But setting out the details is a longer process, which the countries participating in COP22 have decided should be completed by 2018, with a review of progress in 2017. There was agreement to have completion of rules for the PA by 2018 and review of progress in 2017. There was launch of initiatives; NDC partnership and Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency to assist developing countries achieve goals of the global agreement.
A new fund to encourage transparency efforts was established and given a $50m injection of cash from countries including Australia, Canada and Germany. Also, there was US dollar 23 million pledges by 9 countries for Climate Technology.
On finance, normally a heated discussion with much divergence, parties agreed to have it as tool for implementation under PA and to continue discussing it. Also, countries were urged to continue scaling up their financial contributions towards the pre-agreed “$100bn a year by 2020” goal, and to achieve a greater balance between adaptation and mitigation. Some countries had hoped for stronger wording on this, since adaptation has long trailed mitigation, to the detriment of the most vulnerable countries.
On Adaptation Fund, there was also divergence on the Adaptation Fund body, a body which exists to serve the Kyoto protocol (the deal struck in 1997 committing developed nations to emissions cuts up to 2020), and which many argued should be moved over to the Paris Agreement, in order to ensure it remains a political priority in the future. These discussions fell flat, with countries merely agreeing to discuss the issue and hand in their views by 31 March 2017.
On facilitative dialogue, the organization of the “2018 facilitative dialogue” also proved to be controversial. Countries agreed in Paris that they would convene in 2018 to take stock of how climate action was going so far — a discussion that is intended to inform the next round of national pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In Marrakech, it was decided that the presidents of COP22 and the forthcoming COP23 would consult with countries on the organization of this dialogue and report back on their findings in a year’s time.
On Article 4 of the Paris Agreement deals with both the long-term net-zero emissions in the second half of the century goal, as well as the need for NDCs to provide clarity and transparency. A key theme of COP22 was debating how best to create a fair “rulebook” that all countries could share and have confidence in when assessing each other’s climate pledges. The technicalities of the rulebook – baselines, methodologies – will likely be a continuing discussion into 2018. The matter was not finalized in COP22.
Negotiators also battled, without resolution, with the “orphan issues” of the Paris Agreement. These were tasks for which no one was assigned responsibility. They include important issues, such as common timeframes for future climate pledges, and a new goal for climate finance.
On Loss and Damage, Countries also approved a five year work plan on “loss and damage”, which will start in 2017 and will see countries start to formally address topics such as slow-onset impacts of climate change, non-economic losses (for example, culture and identity) and migration. This will enable dealing with climate impacts that are beyond adaptation.
The greatest outcome of the COP was the release of one- page declaration called’ Marrakech Action Proclamation’ to show solidarity for urgent climate action. The document communicates countries pledge to move to urgent climate action as a unified entity. It underlines irreversible momentum to act on climate change. It is a reaffirmation of global commitment to the Paris Agreement, “We welcome the Paris Agreement and we affirm our commitment to its full implementation,” it says.
Although Marrakech outcomes, much still remains to be done.
Youth involvement in these processes is crucial.
While in Marrakech, I engaged the Directorate of Climate Change on initiating a mentorship programme for youth, mainly students in university on climate change negotiations. This will be a good opportunity for students to learn and acquire experience on the international process. The programme is anticipated to be launched next year.
Prepared by Julius Karanja Mbatia