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COP 22: From Agreement to Action

While COP21 in Paris in December 2015 was a fast-paced landmark agreement, COP22 in Marrakech in November 2016 was more nuanced and difficult to follow, even for those on the ground. The Paris Agreement, entered into force on 04 November 2016, demonstrated concerted political support for climate action. However, in the weeks and months following COP22, the impact of the results of the US elections left people wondering if Marrakech had helped in taking the spirit of Paris forward, or had it begun to fizzle out?

While this is a key question, there were several ways in which COP22 in Marrakech did help in pushing the Paris Agreement forward. Most importantly, by setting 2018 as the deadline for specific plans towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Overall, 32 decisions were adopted in Marrakech, among them, the Marrakech Action Proclamation, a reaffirmation of global commitment to the Paris Agreement; the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, a platform that facilitates the involvement of non-state actors in pre-2020 climate action; and the 2050 Pathways Platform to address the issue of transition to net zero GHG, climate resilient and sustainable development pathways. Specifically, developments around climate finance and adaptation were encouraging.

Climate Finance

Following the Paris Agreement, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) began to consider how to account for public finance, which requires developed country parties to provide transparent and consistent information on finance to developing country parties. The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action calls for strengthening resilience by scaling up support and investment in climate solutions. The larger goal remains to bridge the gap of 14 to 17 Gt emissions. There were a few financial pledges announced during the COP22 by countries and financial institutions. For instance, USD 23 million for Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN); 11 donor countries pledged more than USD 50 Million to help developing countries build and capacity to meet new transparency requirements; the World Bank doubled its climate finance to USD 1.5 billion by 2020 for the MENA region; and the Adaptation Fund met its COP22 fundraising goal with new contributions of nearly USD 81 million.

However, there is still a long way to go to meet the USD 100 billion per year requirement. The 2020 climate finance roadmap to USD 100 billion calls for scaling up of private finance in developing nations beyond historic levels to bridge the gap.

The launch of NDC Partnership, saw several developed and developing nations along with international institutions come together. The Partnership takes a 3-pronged approach involving knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and enhanced financial support, with special emphasis on climate finance.

Adaptation

The NDCs provided parties an opportunity to express their needs and efforts on adaptation. In Marrakech, within the working group discussions, one of the focus areas was on enhancing communications linking it to transparency and global stock-taking. The discussions also focused on how developing country parties’ efforts on adaptation will be recognized and how to periodically assess the adequacy and efficacy of interventions.

The Paris Agreement established a global stock-taking every-5 years, commencing from 2023, to assess collective progress towards achieving the objectives of the Agreement. In Marrakech, SBSTA, during its 45th session, deliberated on how IPCC’s assessment can inform the global stock-taking process as well as the implementation of Paris Agreement. It was highlighted that the assessment must be policy-relevant and not policy-prescriptive.

India at COP22

So, what does this mean for India? At the India Pavilion in Marrakech, the focus was on sustainable lifestyles. India’s NDCs highlight that the country needs around USD 206 to USD 834 billion between 2015 and 2030 towards implementation. So far, India’s climate action has been largely financed from domestic sources, through the National Clean Environment Fund and the National Adaptation Fund, with an initial allocation of a USD 55.6 million tax-free infrastructure bond, and other fiscal instruments.

So far, India has received total funding of USD 1.6 million for 6 projects. With the COP22 decision of keeping the Adaptation Fund alive, India can target scaling-up actions on adaptation, with a focus consistent with its National Action Plan on Climate Change.

The decision on global stock-taking every five years from 2023 onwards presents India with a timely opportunity to re-calibrate its actions on climate mitigation and adaptation. At this juncture, the country could design a robust Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) mechanism, which will be internationally consistent and locally relevant. This would ensure enhanced reporting on national GHG inventories, climate actions and their effects, and support received. Furthermore, it will ensure transparency in national communications and Biannual Update Reports (BURs).

India, in its closing statement, remained optimistic about the negotiations. The statement highlights comprehensive domestic action and calls for a rapid ramping up of efforts to focus equally on pre-2020 and post-2020 actions. The message on a sustainable lifestyle remains key to achieving the SDGs and climate solutions.

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