While angst about the pending Trump decision on the Paris Agreement (PA) remained a subtext of the annual intersessional climate meetings that wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany, the technical work trundled on.
More than 3,300 (negotiators, observers [including a VLS delegation], plus secretariat and other agency staff) participated in:
the 3rd part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA1.3),
several COP-mandated companion events (e.g., indigenous peoples, climate finance reporting, capacity building), and
more than 90 side events.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin gave its usual comprehensive (if dry) lowdown of the meetings. By many reports (here, here, here, and here), the negotiations moved rather smoothly. In particular, positions on APA agenda items got clarified, even though negotiating texts are still out of reach. The APA must deliver a Paris rulebook by December 2018.
Aside from the Trump question, the media coverage (e.g., here, and here) spotlighted the contentious tussle over conflict of interest (read: corporate/fossil fuel industry influence on climate policy). But that shadow side of the SBI’s imperative to “further enhance the effective engagement of non-Party stakeholders,” was not the only thing we watched.
A few of our observations:
APA round tables got a thumbs up for the airing and clarifying of views and could speed introduction of “contextual proposals” for PA rulebook pieces. Five will be held ahead of COP23, though observers will be excluded.
- Parties are determined to understand, manage and capitalize on the linkages between Paris Agreement articles, and between the APA work and PA work of the subsidiary bodies. This is important and rich ground for cohesiveness.
- More frequent interventions are coming from the new “coalition” of 3
contiguous South American countries – Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. They constitute 3 of the 4 members of Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, which is on track to a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association. We’ve known them as part of multiple different negotiating groups: G77+China (all 3); Coalition of Rainforest Nations (Argentina, Uruguay); BASIC (Brazil); Like-minded Developing Countries (Argentina); and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). We’ll be keeping an eye on this development.
- The Long Term Climate Finance workshops (LTF) may catalyze concrete COP consideration of strategies to address the confusing
- The SBSTA’s agriculture agenda item hopped on a rollercoaster, disrupting the 4-year stalemate between developed and developing countries over adaptation vs mitigation. The excitement generated by delegates’ Week 1 mantras (“very substantive dialogue,” “feels like a family”) landed with a thud in the end. No mature elements moved forward to the SBI; nor was an agriculture work programme recommended. We do see slightly positive prospects looking ahead, given the Co-Facilitators’ non-paper. Stay tuned for our deeper dive on this.
- The Gender Action Plan workshop wasn’t covered by anyone, but you’ll get the in-depth story with our next post.