Developing nations call for ‘urgent’ action to develop Paris Agreement rulebook

A network of some of the least developed countries in the world has called on developed economies to turn "concepts into action" by accelerating the implementation of a 'rule book' for the Paris Agreement through increased climate finance.

The 47 nations of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group expressed “disappointment” over the current state of negotiations, which concluded at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany last week.

The network, which believes its members are “especially vulnerable to climate change” despite “having done the least to cause the problem”, are calling on developed countries to prevent future talks from stalling again so that the roadmap can be completed by its deadline of December’s COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland.

“The LDC Group came to Bonn ready to shift gears and make concrete progress on the numerous issues that need to be addressed this year to translate the Paris Agreement from concepts to actions,” LDC Group chair Gebru Jember Endalew told delegates.

“The Group hoped that the negotiations would advance further at this meeting, and we are disappointed that many vital topics are still at conceptual stages. It is concerned by the lack of urgency we are seeing to move the negotiations forward.”

It is widely known that 2020 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are currently not sufficient to collectively deliver the Agreement’s flagship target to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C; several scientific reports have proven the case for NDCs to be revised by finding that, if current NDCs are implemented, the world will be on track for an estimated 3.4C temperature rise.

But progress made at the talks was so insufficient that the UN has scheduled an additional round of climate talks in Bangkok in September, with Endalew attributing the stalling primarily to finance debates while calling for developed countries collectively to raise $50bn by 2020 for loss and damage finance.

The $50bn figure is a small sum compared to the $12trn ivestment needed into renewable power generation over the next 25 years to achieve the climate goals laid out in the Paris agreement.

Predictability clause

Developed counties said they wanted clarity on precisely how much climate funding they are committing to and how their funding levels will be adjusted to support progressive emission reductions. Under Article 9.5 (the ‘predictability clause’) in the Agreement, which is set to be implemented in 2020, developed nations would be required to review and report on their financial commitments to developing countries every two years, with other nations encouraged to do the same.

The clause has sparked dispute from developed countries, which claim it is a challenge to provide accurate figures when government financial policies may change within the two-year timeframe – prompting LDCs to emphasise the importance of transparency over this “essential” provision.

“In the face of climate change, poor and vulnerable countries are forced to address loss and damage and adapt to a changing climate, all while striving to lift their people out of poverty without repeating the mistakes of an economy built on fossil fuels,” Endalew added. “This is not possible without predictable and sustainable support.”

As the stalemate around the differentiation of financial commitments between rich and poor continued, no ‘negotiating text’ was produced as hoped when the talks concluded on Thursday. Without this document, delegates were set up to arrive in Poland in December without a basis to finalise the Agreement rule book – hence the additional talks being scheduled at the last minute for September.

Sarah George

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