(KATOWICE POLAND); This week is the last of the two weeks in Katowice Poland where parties including Samoa come together to unlock and finalize any remaining challenges for the development of the rule book that will guide commitments by all parties for the implementation of goals and decisions of the Paris Agreement.
The agenda included the ministerial high- level dialogue on climate finance; the stock take on pre-2020 implementation and ambition and the Talanoa Dialogue. These were meant to inform everyone on where we are and how do we get there.
The climate talks come in the wake of three recent reports, which were expected to feature prominently discussion amongst all parties.
These are the 1.5°C Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2018 Emissions Gap report and the 2018 Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows prepared under the guidance of the UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCF).
The IPCC Special Report in particular was critical as it was invited by UNFCCC to inform targets and all efforts to address the Paris Agreement. However, there were objections from some parties
Honorable Prime Minister, Susuga Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Malielegaoi Sailele, in addressing the 24th Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice Poland, reconfirm the priority Samoa and the Pacific Islands placed on fighting and adapting to Climate Change.
In his address, he reflected that “The IPCC 1.5 degree Special report and the UNEP Gap report provide a fitting backdrop to our conference.
Both reports validate our worst fears that climate change is real with dramatic consequences and expected impacts never felt or experienced before.
It has social, economic and environmental implications and the consequences of climate change respects no borders or sovereignty.
Furthermore, he strongly stressed that “We need a decision on the Talanoa Dialogue to incentivize all parties to scale up ambition and climate change actions across all sectors in line with the IPCC 1.5 report. We need to finalise and adopt the Paris Agreement Work Programme, to design, identify, implement, assess, report, monitor and track activities by all parties to the Paris Agreement.”
For Samoa and other developing countries the focus was to ensure that the principles of equity and ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ (CBDR) enshrined in the Convention and the PA are operationalized in the outcomes of the talks.
It would mean that while all Parties have a common responsibility to address climate change, the responsibility is also differentiated between developed and developing countries, due to the historical responsibility of developed countries for their past emissions, which cannot be disregarded with only a focus on current and future emissions.
Developed countries on the other hand, were pushing to downplay or even ignore equity and CBDR principle in the process, and advance positions that blur the lines between developed and developing countries. This includes the dilution of obligations of developed countries for undertaking greater emissions reductions or for the provision of finance and technology transfer to developing countries.
This tussle between developed and developing countries was obvious during the PAWP negotiations as well as on finance and the dialogues on pre- 2020 and post 2020 actions.