Quamrul Islam Chowdhury
The 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded on December 8 last failed to deliver a robust Doha finance package to face immediately the adverse impact of climatic changes across the world.
True, ministers and delegates from 195-member states in Doha adopted couple of decisions on finance but those were essentially procedural in nature, not concrete actions on immediate and mid-term finance (2013-2020), long term finance beyond 2020; arrangements between the COP and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Standing Committee on Finance.
From day one of Doha COP, some of the developed country delegations were resisting any meaningful discussions on finance matters saying newly created bodies like Green Climate Fund and standing committee on long-term finance were the places where it should be addressed. They argued that the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) should now close its work and there should be no text on finance under AWG-LCA.
Bangladesh alongwith other LDCs, SIDS and other developing countries strongly pushed for concrete decisions under LCA before its closure on post fast-start and mid-term finance.
Finally, the COP President formed Contact Group on finance to deal with the remaining issues on finance on the COP 18 agenda.
Besides, a number of finance-related draft decisions were forwarded from the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) to the COP/Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (CMP8). Those were also adopted at Doha COP on the final night including the review of the financial mechanism, report of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and additional guidance to the GEF and initial review of the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol.
It was most unfortunate that in Doha COP developed countries shown their reluctance to have decisions on any post-fast-start, mid-term and long-term finance.
As there was no progress on first eight days on finance, COP President Abdullah Hamad Al-Attiyah on December 4 appointed the ministers of Switzerland and Maldives to conduct bilateral ministerial consultations to find solutions on matters related to finance both in relation to issues under the AWG-LCA and the COP Contact Group. Both the facilitating ministers faced extreme difficulties to land on any middle ground on finance matters because of strong position of some of the developed countries.
A select ministers and representatives led by G-77 Chair Mourad joined a number of ministerial consultations where I had the honor to initiate the discussions couple of times arguing for having a concrete figure for post-fast-start fund for 2013-2015 preferably US$60 billion per annum by 2015. The three-year Fast-start fund of US$30 billion ends this December. Because of our collective effort, the ministers and representatives from developed countries finally conceded to have some decision text on finance but were still reluctant to have some finance figure like the fast-start climate finance for 2010-2012 brokered by US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Denmark host Prime Minister at Copenhagen COP 15.
At the final ministerial consultation, Bangladesh Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud argued strongly on behalf of LDCs. The ministers from EU specially UK, Norway, France, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland then played a very positive role in reaching consensus on key finance matters. US, Japan, Australia and Canada also gave their consent to the outcome of AWG LCA especially maintaining the average annual level of fast-start climate finance from 2010-12 for the period of 2013-2015.
The Doha decision on finance reads, "
Acknowledging the pledges and announcements made by several developed country Parties on the continuation of climate finance post 2012;
Urges additional developed country Parties to announce climate finance pledges when their financial circumstances permit;
Reiterates that a significant share of new multilateral funding for adaptation should flow through the Green Climate Fund, and the request to the Board of the Green Climate Fund to balance the allocation of the resources of the Green Climate Fund between adaptation and mitigation activities;
Calls on developed country Parties to channel a substantial share of public funds to adaptation activities;
Urges all developed country Parties to scale up climate finance from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources, to the joint goal of mobilizing USD 100 billion per year by 2020;
Invites developed country Parties to submit, by the nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties, information on their strategies and approaches for mobilizing scaled-up climate finance to USD 100 billion per year by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation; Encourages developed country Parties to further increase their efforts to provide resources of at least to the average annual level of the fast-start finance period for 2013- 2015;
Decides to extend the work programme on long-term finance for one year to the end of 2013, with the aim of informing developed country Parties in their efforts to identify pathways for mobilizing the scaling up of climate finance to USD 100 billion per year by 2020 from public, private and alternative sources in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, and informing Parties in enhancing their enabling environments and policy frameworks to facilitate the mobilisation and effective deployment of climate finance in developing countries;
Looks forward to the implementation of the work programme of the Standing Committee, including the creation of a climate finance forum which will enable all Parties and stakeholders to, inter alia, exchange ideas on scaling up climate finance;
Requests the Standing Committee, in initiating the first biennial assessment and overview of climate finance flows, to take into account relevant work by other bodies and entities on the measurement, reporting and verification of support and the tracking of climate finance;
Requests the Board of the Green Climate Fund to expeditiously implement its 2013 workplan, with a view to making the Green Climate Fund operational as soon as possible to enable an early and adequate replenishment process;
Agrees to consider the progress made in the mobilization of long-term finance at its nineteenth session, through an in-session high-level ministerial dialogue under the Conference of the Parties on efforts being undertaken by developed country Parties to scale up the mobilization of climate finance after 2012, informed by inputs from Parties, technical bodies and processes under the Convention, as well as the outcomes of the extended work programme on long-term finance;"
Doha COP 18 also took note of the report by the co-chairs on the workshops of the work programme on long-term finance;
Ministers and representatives also "decides to extend the work programme on long-term finance for one year to the end of 2013, with the aim of informing developed country Parties in their efforts to identify pathways for mobilizing the scaling up of climate finance to USD 100 billion per year by 2020 from public, private and alternative sources in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, and informing Parties in enhancing their enabling environments and policy frameworks to facilitate the mobilization and effective deployment of climate finance in developing countries;"
COP 18 also asked its president to appoint two co-chairs, one from a developing country Party and one from a developed country Party, for the work programme and requests the co-chairs to report back to COP 19 next December on the outcomes of the work programme.
The COP also deceded that the work programme on long-term finance shall be open and transparent; and agreed" to continue the existing processes within the Convention for assessing and reviewing the needs of developing country Parties for financial resources to address climate change and its adverse effects, including the identification of options for the mobilization of these resources, and the adequacy, predictability, sustainability and accessibility of these resources."
The COP also sorted out the relationship between COP and Green Climate Fund saying that "the provisions contained in Article 11, paragraph 3, and decision 3/CP.17 and the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund contained in the annex to 3/CP.17 form the basis for arrangements between the Conference of the Parties and the Green Climate Fund to ensure that the Green Climate Fund is accountable to and functions under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties;"
The COP in Doha also requested" the Standing Committee and the Board of the Green Climate Fund to develop arrangements between the Conference of the Parties and the Green Climate Fund in accordance with the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund and Article 11, paragraph 3, for agreement by the Board and subsequent agreement by the Conference of the Parties at its nineteenth session."
The COP also adopted the report of the Green Climate Fund Board and guidance to the Global Environment Facility.
COP 18 endorseed the consensus decision of the Board of the Green Climate Fund to select Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea as the host of the Green Climate Fund, on the basis of an open and transparent process.
The Doha COP requested the Board of the Green Climate Fund and the Republic of Korea to conclude, in accordance with decision 3/CP.17, annex, paragraphs 7 and 8, the legal and administrative arrangements for hosting the Green Climate Fund, and to ensure that juridical personality and legal capacity are conferred to the Green Climate Fund, and the necessary privileges and immunities are granted to the Green Climate Fund and its officials in an expedited manner.
The COP also decided to provide initial guidance to the Green Climate Fund at Warsaw COP 19 and requested the Board of the Green Climate Fund, in its report to cop 19:
(a) To develop a transparent no-objection procedure to be conducted through national designated authorities referred to in paragraph 46 of the governing instrument,2 in order to ensure consistency with national climate strategies and plans and a country-driven approach and to provide for effective direct and indirect public and private-sector financing by the Green Climate Fund, and to determine this procedure prior to approval of funding proposals by the Fund;
(b) To balance the allocation of the resources of the Green Climate Fund between adaptation and mitigation activities;
(c) To secure funding for the Green Climate Fund, taking into account paragraphs 29 and 30 of the governing instrument, to facilitate its expeditious operationalization, and to establish the necessary policies and procedures to enable an early and adequate replenishment process;
(d) To establish the independent secretariat of the Green Climate Fund in the host country in an expedited manner as soon as possible, in accordance with paragraph 19 of the governing instrument;
(e) To select the trustee of the Green Climate Fund through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process in a timely manner to ensure that there is no discontinuity in trustee services;
(f) To initiate a process to collaborate with the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Executive Committee, as well as other relevant thematic bodies under the Convention, to define linkages between the Fund and these bodies, as appropriate;
8. Looks forward to the appointment of the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund in accordance with decision 3/CP.17.
14. Requests the Board of the Green Climate Fund to expeditiously implement its 2013 workplan, with a view to making the Green Climate Fund operational as soon as possible, which will enable an early and adequate replenishment process; "
The Doha COP also adopted the work programme of the Standing Committee for 2013-2015, contained in annex II to the report of the Standing Committee; the work on the forum of the Standing Committee and encourages the Standing Committee to facilitate the participation of the private sector, financial institutions and academia in the forum.
The COP requested the Standing Committee to report on the forum in its report to the COP and decided that the name of the Standing Committee shall be changed to the Standing Committee on Finance.
The COP invited developed country Parties to submit to the secretariat, by May 2014, information on the appropriate methodologies and systems used to measure and track climate finance; and requested the Standing Committee, in preparing the first biennial assessment and overview of financial flows, to consider ways of strengthening methodologies for reporting climate finance.
Quamrul Islam Chowdhury is a member of UN Adaptation Committee, a lead negotiator of LDCs and G-77 and a member of Bangladesh delegation to UNFCCC.