En route to Katowice: Negotiators from Least Developed Countries prepare for COP24

Date
27 October 2018

Written by
Manjeet Dhakal, Gilbert Balo, Kouassigan Tovivo, Fahad Saeed

Earlier this month around 30 ministers and high-level representatives from LDCs met in Addis-Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, to prepare for the upcoming climate talks to be held in Katowice, Poland (COP24) in December. What were the main issues discussed?

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For the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), continued engagement in negotiations on the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines is vital to ensure that the implementation of the new Agreement adequately addresses the priorities, needs and the attainment of sustainable development for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Regular, in-person engagement of the LDC Ministers and other high-level representatives has been critical in contributing to and influencing the Paris Agreement’s work programme in line with LDC priorities. The LDC Group organised the Ministerial meeting to provide opportunities for ministers and technical experts to meet and develop positions and strategise as a group in advance of and to plan for the work ahead.

The Climate Analytics team has been instrumental in helping to organise this process in recent years.

For three days before the Ministerial meeting, lead LDC coordinators met to discuss, in-depth, the issues and priorities for the group, and to plan and strategise for COP24. Around 30 LDC focal points and country representatives then attended the LDC Ministerial.

The LDC Ministerial meetings have proved essential and important in providing high-level LDC political actors with hands-on updates on the climate change negotiations, and to prepare their respective delegation for the COP so they can fully engage in the talks.

The COP24 Katowice talks are an important moment in international climate change negotiations, as it must finalise the “implementation guidelines” of the Paris Agreement and to conclude the Talanoa Dialogue.

The implementation guidelines are important to translate the work done in the negotiating rooms into tangible action on the ground. It will put the Paris Agreement into practice and establish process for each country to present counties plans, review their commitments and implementation of actions, and assess whether governments are collectively on track for the Paris Agreement goals.

The Talanoa Dialogue is a shared effort by governments that is assessing the collective level of climate action in light of the 1.5°C warming limit they agreed in Paris. The hope is that this gap assessment will spur more ambitious mitigation plans. COP24 could be a turning point from where focus shifts towards implementing actions on the ground.

The timing of this year´s LDC high-level Ministerial meeting was also very important as it came just days after the IPCC approved the Special Report on 1.5°C – a crucial important input for COP24. Governments requested the IPCC report as they adopted the Paris Agreement in order to provide them with important scientific information around the implications for government climate action of the agreed 1.5˚C limit.

The task before this year´s Ministerial meeting was to take stock of the progress made to date in developing the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement, and to draw up a plan and list of agreed LDC priorities and positions for COP24, including preparations for the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue. The meeting also allowed LDC negotiators to jointly strategise with ministers and to seek their political guidance on priorities and immediate actions for COP24.

Outcomes

During the meeting, the Ministers adopted the “Addis Ababa Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change”, which highlights priorities, areas of concerns and immediate actions for the LDC.

The communiqué reiterates that LDCs face the unique and unprecedented challenge of eradicating poverty while achieving low-carbon, climate-resilient sustainable development.

They pointed out that this requires the support of the international community on finance, capacity building and technology transfer to implement nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, national climate change policies, measures and strategies.

The Ministers also urged all Parties to ensure they complete and adopt comprehensive, robust and effective implementation guidelines at COP24, which will enable full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Through the communiqué, the Ministers also called upon the Board of the Green Climate Fund to initiate the replenishment process at its 21st meeting, to support current and future projects and programs – and in time to ensure there are no funding gaps.

The Ministerial meeting also endorsed various initiatives by the LDC group in their effort to reduce emissions, build climate-resilient communities and achieve sustainable development goals.

These initiatives include:

  • the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development (LDC REEEI) for which an implementation framework and institutional arrangements have been recently agreed on,
  • the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilient Development (LIFE-AR) and
  • the LDC Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC). This endorsement is crucial in advancing the work on those initiatives in Katowice later this year.

The COP24 presidency was also at the meeting, and called for Heads of State or Government to attend the inauguration of the COP24 High-Level Segment (HLS) on December 3 to deliver their statements in the opening plenary.

The work ahead in Katowice requires preparation and full support and engagement of LDCs to participate and influence the negotiations for better consideration of their circumstances, needs, priorities and challenges in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The LDC group also issued a press release with the LDC key priorities for COP24:

  • the adoption of a comprehensive, robust and effective set of guidelines at COP24.
  • a formal political declaration and COP decision on the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24, which would send a strong political signal calling for fair and ambitious climate action.
  • likewise, the implementation guidelines should facilitate action to address loss and damage and to adapt to climate change by mobilising sustained financial, capacity building and technological support.

Climate Analytics has been instrumental to this process. We have been collaborating with partners for the organisation and support of the LDC Ministerial meetings since 2015. Support has ranged from technical and financial assistance, to the preparation of knowledge and advisory products including scientific to policy inputs, as well as logistical preparation. This support has been provided since 2016 under the IMPACT project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservancy and Building (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).