Event ReportsPublished on Oct 06, 2016
From Paris to Marrakesh: Indian expectations from COP22

More focus needs to be given to pre 2020 rather than post 2020 actions, through ratification of the Doha Amendment, it was stressed during a roundtable discussion on From Paris to Marrakech: Indian Expectations from COP22’ organised at Observer Research Foundation on September 12, 2016.

The roundtable also noted that transparency works both ways. Though it is important for developing countries to press for finance, it is also important to substantiate how the money will be used. Also, it is important that states, apart from implementing what they agree to, also should provide mechanisms for implementation for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reporting.

The Indian expectation is that the facilitative dialogue in 2018 focuses on pre-2020 actions. 2018 is the last opportunity available to us to really see that we have achieved or we are on the right course and we will be able to come to an ambitious conclusion of the pre-2020 process. In a similar vein, stock take is an issue which some countries want to visit in 2018. The Indian perspective is that it will be a little too early. Global stock take is actually meant for 2023. While there can be a certain forward looking element in this facilitative dialogue in 2018, it was pointed out that it should not overshadow the main concern.

Along with representation from the French Presidency as well as participation from the next COP Presidency (Morocco), senior representatives from Indian central ministries, including the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), participated in the Roundtable. It also brought together various stakeholders from the private sector, think tanks, media, NGOs and industrial associations in India. The purpose of the discussion was to highlight India’s expectations and concerns ahead of the COP 22 meeting in Marrakesh this year. Discussions took place under Chatham House Rules and led to fruitful debates in an interactive manner.

In the introductory remarks, the French Presidency was congratulated for the outcomes of COP 21, which were a result of extensive consultations conducted in a transparent manner through a bottom-up approach. Going forward, to Marrakesh, there are both opportunities and challenges.

In the weeks ahead, the French Presidency will continue to hold the chairmanship of COP 21 and there are a few priorities that remain. It was outlined that the first priority would be on how to accelerate climate action before 2020. The second priority would be to encourage all parties to start preparations in earnest to implement their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in 2020. The third objective would be that the Paris Agreement may come into force in Marrakesh. Countries that have ratified at this point represent 40 per cent of the world emissions. The two fold goal of 55 countries and also 55 per cent of the world emissions need to be achieved. It was highlighted that If India can complete the ratification process before the end of the year, it would send a positive message to the world.

The Moroccan vision for COP 22 was also delineated and aims at maintaining the dynamics and mobilisation in favour of climate action while encouraging all parties to ratify, accept and adhere to the Paris agreement. Mobilising non-state actors and governments within the Lima Paris Action Program is also a key priority. Morocco also wants to adopt a roadmap to mobilise necessary funds before 2020 and adopt an action plan for the period pre-2020 with a particular focus on the developing countries, least developed countries and small island states.

It was noted that the French Presidency did an excellent job of reaching out to various countries and understanding the red lines of various nations ahead of COP 21. Participation from the Moroccans in this roundtable discussion demonstrated a similar commitment from the incoming Presidency and is highly welcome. From the Indian point of view, certain pertinent questions for Marrakesh are regarding the importance of pre 2020 commitments; the rules for technology frameworks; roadmaps for finance, particularly the achievement of the USD 100 billion target; the design of the mechanisms for transparency, global stocktake and implementation & compliance and; unfinished issues over equity and CBDR which will continue to be addressed.

During the roundtable, it was pointed out that REDD+ is amongst the most evolved instruments that the COP has negotiated so far. The forestry sector alone can enable India achieve its 20-25% targets of reductions in emission intensity by 2030. From an Indian perspective, it was suggested that it would be better for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to rely on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) methodologies. Furthermore, it was opined that REDD+ should only be linked to Article 5 and not Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement was an ambitious diplomatic undertaking under French leadership which built a consensus for the way forward. However, it was pointed out that in view of time constraints, there are discordances between what the Paris agreement says and what the COP Decision Text says. That is something which the COP Presidency has to keep in mind because the Paris Agreement is something which everybody is going to ratify and therefore subject to thorough scrutiny by stakeholders. Decisions are however taken by negotiators. The heads of negotiating teams are Ministers. It is fundamental that the Moroccan Presidency harmoniously construe what was decided in Paris as the COP Decision Text and what was legally agreed in Paris as the Paris Agreement. Last but not least, the role of corporate, non-state actors outside the UNFCCC is welcome. However, it was highlighted that the primacy of sovereign national entities should not be taken away.

In conclusion the discussion ended with the recognition that the COP Presidency can send the right signal in the first session when it initiates its vision for the COP by specifying what is to be negotiated and also by giving out a clear message that discussions and outcomes will be under the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement. If that is the case, there is no reason why Marrakesh cannot be successful in its own way, as Paris.

This report was prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi


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