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“Spirit of Paris” Motivates Climate Negotiations in Marrakech

Negotiators meeting this week in Marrakech for the first major climate summit since the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement was agreed, sustained the “spirit of Paris” – the wave of momentum that brought the Agreement into force on a timetable that was lightning-fast by international diplomatic standards. Starting on November 7, country delegations – known as Parties -- began to unpack some of the complex processes that will guide countries in fulfilling their climate commitments.

The COP22 meeting in Morocco also opened a program alongside the international climate talks, with a focus on how countries, cities, businesses and others can pursue robust action across sectors such as energy, transport, forests and land use and resilience. Morocco, acting as president of this process next year, plans to take up this new mode, taking concrete steps on initiatives such as finance and adaptation.

The surprise victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election caused a stir in Marrakech, amid uncertainty over what policy decisions he might make. Still, negotiators remained focused on their work, determined to transform the Paris Agreement’s promises into action.

Here’s how negotiators made progress over the past week:

Ambition

Parties worked on elaborating the key elements of the Agreement’s ambition mechanism, at the heart of the Paris Agreement responsible for continually strengthening climate action overtime. There were fruitful discussions on how to design the global stocktake, the pivotal moment every five years when countries are to assess their progress and consider adjustments to be more effective and ambitious. Negotiators stressed that the global stocktake needs to be comprehensive, including both mitigation and adaptation.

Some countries also called for a process to discuss how a facilitative dialogue in 2018 could be a springboard for enhanced action before 2020. This dialogue will be a crucial opportunity to accelerate climate action and close the emissions gap. We expect COP22 to deliver a clear process for the design of the facilitative dialogue to ensure 2018 is a momentous year for climate change.

Capacity Building

The Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) is now up and running. Negotiators agreed it will focus in 2017 on supporting implementation of countries’ national climate plans and that membership should have a strong regional balance. The first meeting of the PCCB will take place in May 2017.

Transparency

Transparency is the backbone of the Paris Agreement. In Marrakech, negotiators have shared views on how flexible the transparency framework should be for some Parties. Many negotiators noted that developing countries should have different responsibilities from developed countries based on national circumstances and capacity constraints. It will be important moving forward for Parties to identify how to design an enhanced framework that takes these needs into consideration while allowing common guidelines, and for countries to improve the quality of their reported information over time. Parties also began identifying what information countries should include in their next batch of national climate plans by 2020. Parties made progress on crafting a clear roadmap to design transparency guidelines for this framework by 2018.

Finance

Countries continued the discussion on the roadmap for how developed countries will deliver $100 billion of climate finance annually. Agreeing to clear next steps – particularly on funding for measures to build resilience to climate impacts -- will be important to meet urgent needs. The climate finance ministerial meeting on November 16 presents a key opportunity for new finance commitments. Agreement that the Adaptation Fund can serve the Paris Agreement would also send a positive signal.

Fruitful discussions have revolved around how best to account for climate finance. Some developed countries argue that this process must wait for clearer signals from the discussions on reporting which are happening simultaneously, but accounting is a clear prerequisite for reporting. In Marrakech, negotiators should work carefully to optimize the linkages between the accounting and reporting discussions.

Adaptation

Adaptation has been a hot topic at COP22. Key issues include clarifying how future adaptation efforts will be recognized and supported under the Paris Agreement. An underlying concern is how to balance mitigation and adaptation. Parties also discussed the possibility of the Adaptation Fund serving countries under the Paris Agreement.

Global Climate Action

Outside the negotiations, non-state and subnational actors have actively engaged with Global Climate Action, the platform for non-state actors to highlight efforts across a wide range of sectors, from cities to forests to resilience. Enhancing coordination and cooperation between state and non-state actors was a common theme. Laurence Tubiana, climate champion for France, noted how Global Climate Action and countries’ NDCs are both part of a common strategy and linkages between them need to be strengthened. A new report on building efficiency from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction highlighted the need for greater collaboration between cities and national governments.

Week 2 Preview

On Tuesday, at a minister-level event, developing and developed countries will launch the NDC Partnership a global partnership dedicated to delivering on the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. This will demonstrate that countries are committed to accelerating ambitious climate action – and show that climate change has a permanent position on the world’s priority list.

Later that day, 80 heads of state will join negotiators to celebrate the Agreement’s early entry into force and attend the opening of the first session of the Agreement’s governing body, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, known as CMA1. Convening on Tuesday, CMA1 will be made up of those Parties that have joined the Agreement. Because the Paris Agreement requires CMA1 to decide critical issues about implementation, this first meeting will likely be extended over the next two years to allow adequate time to finalize the rules of the agreement in an inclusive manner.

We look forward to celebrating the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement at CMA1 and the strong political will of global leaders it demonstrates. But we also recognize that there are important details to hammer out to make sure the implementation of the Paris Agreement is as inclusive, effective and ambitious as possible. It is essential that Parties have a clear roadmap to 2018 in hand before the negotiations conclude at the end of this week.

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