November 21 2017

FEEM at COP23 - Wrap Up and Final Conclusions

FEEM at COP23 - Wrap Up and Final Conclusions

The 23rd session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties ended on November 18, 2017, after a long night in which governments worked to complete the final negotiation decisions.

A new wave of climate action has been announced during COP23 from countries, states, regions, cities, businesses and civil society.

The common message has been that action to get on track towards the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and to achieve the 2030 Agenda is urgent and time is running out.

One of the main outcomes of COP23 is the document  “Fiji Momentum forImplementation” by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The document aims to provide the general requirements to foster the next efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement work programme by 2018 and to enhance the pre-2020 implementation and ambition.

Moreover, UNFCCC welcomes the design of the 2018 facilitative dialogue, known as the “Talanoa dialogue” (“Talanoa” is a traditional word used in Fiji and the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue), announced at COP23 by the Presidents.

Crucial elements of the Talanoa dialogue are specified in the Annex II of the document. The dialogue will start in January 2018 and close at COP24 Katowice, jointly presided by Fijian and Polish Presidency. Three main questions will guide the process: i) Where are we? ii) Where do we want to go? iii) How do we get there? The process will consist of two phases: a preparatory phase, from January 2018 to COP24, in which reports on each of the three issues will be prepared,  and a political phase, that will be held during COP24, where high-level state representatives will undertake political discussions to take stock of the advancement towards the Paris objectives.

By launching the next steps on action prior to 2020, the most relevant provisions included in the COP23 final document are: i) the request to the UNFCCC and the UN Secretary General to enhance activities to promote the ratification of the “Doha Amendment”, which established the second commitment period of the “Kyoto Protocol”; ii) the invitation to Parties to submit by 1 May 2018 additional information on acting progresses prior to 2020; iii) the request to the secretariat to prepare a synthesis report of the above mentioned submissions, to serve as an input for the facilitative dialogue in 2018; iv) to convene a stock take of pre-2020 actions both in 2018 at COP24  and in 2019 at COP25.

Beyond the progress on setting the ground for discussion to resume next May, COP23 is being celebrated because it has been particularly successful in  advancing some important issues.

The final text requests the UNFCCC bodies for Technological Advice and for Implementation to address issues related to agriculture and invites Parties to submit, by 31 March 2018, their views on several elements for tackling these issues.

Moreover, COP23 established an "expert dialogue" in 2018 to address the issue of the International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. Climate-related disasters have affected many countries, including heatwaves, drought, floods, cyclones, and other extreme weather events, as well as the increasing impacts associated with slow onset events. It is crucial to avert, minimize and address these impacts through comprehensive risk management approaches and build back and forward better, social protection instruments.

Another important success of COP23 is the creation of a new platform for local communities and indigenous peoples to strengthen their knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts on climate change. Moreover, the Gender Plan of Action contains five priorities areas, established to advance women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and promote gender-responsive climate policy.

Finance was overall among the most contentious issues discussed during this COP. After solving the debate on the Adaption Fund by recognizing its role within the framework of the Paris Agreement (it was indeed launched under the Kyoto Protocol), the article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement on the information to be provided by Parties on long-term finance kept delegates hostage of the Conference up to Saturday early morning. Finally a text was delivered, which reiterates that developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information on financial support but actually postpones the decision on the type of  information to be provided to the next intersessional meetings.

Find out more about COP23 conclusions on the ICCG Climate Policy Observer website!
Climate Policy Observer (CPO) is the online platform on climate and energy policies run by the FEEM’s Initiative on Climate Change policy and Governance (ICCG). CPO aims at explaining current international events on climate change in their political, economic and social implications.

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