By Jaya Ramachandran
BONN (IDN) – The 28-nation European Union and 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group have reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016. They also urged all member states to ensure concrete progress at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23).
COP23 is an abbreviation for the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the former West German capital city Bonn, from November 6 to 17.
Both the EU and the ACP Group acknowledge the importance of this year’s conference to ensure the achievement of key milestones for the full implementation of the Paris accord.
Their expectations of the outcomes include, among others: a balanced package of decisions for moving forward the work programme under the Paris Agreement; and progress on the design for the 2018 ‘facilitative dialogue’.
The EU and ACP Group also expect the adoption of the first Gender Action Plan and operationalisation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. In addition, they are looking forward to the scaling up and accelerating climate action from the private sector and other non-state actors.
On November 14, the EU and the ACP Group congratulated Fiji, an ACP Member State and the first Small Island Developing State to hold the presidency of the UN climate conference, for successful discussions during the first week of the conference from November 6 to10.
The EU and the ACP Group commended the ‘talanoa spirit’ under which negotiations had been conducted. They were referring to the Pacific tradition of Talanoa, a traditional approach to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.
Both groups agree on the need for ambitious climate action already before Parties are required to implement their Paris Agreement obligations. They acknowledge the importance of the so-called pre-2020 agenda, which concerns developed countries’ commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and enhancing early action and collaboration between all partners, including the non-Party stakeholders.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11,1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2001, and are referred to as the “Marrakesh Accords.” Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
In Doha, Qatar, on December 8, 2012, the “Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol” was adopted. On December 21, the amendment was circulated by the UN Secretary-General, acting in his capacity as Depositary, to all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Caňete said: “Two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement and one year after its entry into force, we continue to stand united in our commitment to ambitious action and full implementation of the agreement.”
He added: “Now is the time to ensure we maintain the Paris momentum and deliver the next steps we have collectively agreed. We have made some good headway, but much still needs to be done to ensure we leave COP23 with good results.”
The ACP Secretary General Patrick I. Gomes said: “Climate change is causing devastating impacts on many ACP Member States – the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean should be a clear reminder to all of the need to build resilience and contribute to a more sustainable, secure future for the most vulnerable countries in the world.”
The EU and the ACP Group are long-standing partners in international climate cooperation. As an example, the Global Climate Change Alliance Intra-ACP programme has been providing technical support to ACP countries since 2011.
The second four-year phase of the programme, launched officially at COP23, will provide an additional EUR 70 million to ACP countries to better adapt to the impacts of climate change and contribute to strengthening the strategic role of the ACP Group in global climate action. [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 November 2017]
Image credit: COP23
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