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UN Climate Change Conference Opens with Calls for Implementation and Amplification of Paris Agreement

The Marrakech Climate Change Conference commenced three days after the Paris Agreement entered into force. In a press conference preceding its opening, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that dialogue and decisions in Marrakech have “immense potential” to “accelerate and amplify” the response to the climate challenge outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Espinosa encouraged public and private sector leaders and citizens alike to follow the Marrakech proceedings and build momentum to meet interlinked climate and sustainable development challenges.

On Monday, 7 November, delegates gathered for the opening ceremony of the conference. The meeting includes the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC and the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12).

COP 21/CMP 11 President Ségolène Royal, France, described COP 22 as an “African COP” and called for climate justice for the continent. Espinosa emphasized that realizing the Paris Agreement’s goals is not a given, and stressed the need for: adaptation support and progress on the loss and damage mechanism; integration of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) into national policies and investment plans; capacity building; predictable finance to catalyze low-emission development; and full engagement of non-party stakeholders.

COP 21/CMP 11 President Ségolène Royal, France, described COP 22 as an “African COP” and called for climate justice for the continent.

Plenaries of the COP, CMP, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) then convened. SBSTA and SBI contact groups and informal consultations also met in the afternoon.

During the COP plenary, Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Morocco, after being elected COP 22/CMP 12 President by acclamation, said the conference represented Africa’s commitment to climate action, and called for finalizing support mechanisms for the Paris Agreement. Parties then adopted the COP agenda with the agenda item on the second review of the adequacy of Convention Articles 4.2 (a) and (b) (developed countries’ mitigation) held in abeyance and Turkey’s request to include an item, on access to support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) under the Paris Agreement by parties whose special circumstances are recognized by the COP, left pending under other matters. On the organization of work, inter alia, COP President Mezouar reported an emerging understanding on the provisional agenda for the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1). He suggesting that the CMA could adopt, as a procedural conclusion, the continuance of its work either in 2017 or 2018.

The CMP convened briefly, but was then suspended.

During the SBSTA opening plenary, delegates adopted the agenda and addressed agenda items on, among other things: development and transfer of technologies, and the Joint annual report of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the CTCN; methodological issues under the Convention, specifically bunker fuels; and modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions in accordance with Paris Agreement article 9.7 (transparent and consistent information on support for developing country Parties).

During the SBI opening plenary, the provisional agenda and organization of work were adopted, with the sub-item on information contained in national communications from non-Annex I Parties held in abeyance. Following opening statements, the SBI: heard reports from the Adaptation Committee and the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM); addressed reporting from Annex I and non-Annex I parties; and briefly took up matters relating to, inter alia, least developed countries (LDCs) and to Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, administrative, financial and institutional matters, and Article 6 of the Convention.

In the APA opening plenary, parties agreed to consider the COP’s request to undertake preparatory work so that the Adaptation Fund may serve the Paris Agreement under the agenda item on preparing for the convening of CMA 1. The APA then heard opening statements from governments and other stakeholders. [IISD RS Coverage of COP 22] [UNFCCC Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Statement of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary]

Many side events also took place throughout the day. During a session on improving measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) for agricultural emission reductions in the livestock sector using a bottom-up approach, participants from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Uruguay discussed experiences in their countries. At an event on synergizing international climate finance, market mechanisms and philanthropy, panelists discussed, inter alia, the role of market mechanisms in financing conditional elements of NDCs, Viet Nam’s Green Growth Strategy, and patterns and expectations of governance networks for NDCs.

Participants to an event on urgencies in climate research following the Paris Agreement highlighted, among other things, research on the carbon cycle, weather changes and habitability; interdisciplinary thinking; and the impacts of warming on the availability of fresh water resources. Other side events focused on: understanding national adaptation plan (NAP) and NDC linkages in the Philippines; Refinement to the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; and loss and damage perspectives and options. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

During a side event on 21st century regional climate in a warming world, speakers underscored that modeling helps to translate science into guidance for policymakers. They pointed out a knowledge gap on dust storms and hurricanes in Africa and discussed the relationship between temperature change, precipitation, human migration, crop choice and crop yields in South Africa. [IISD RS Coverage of US Center Events]

The Marrakech Conference Information Hub provides an overview of the Conference. It includes links to the webpages for the negotiating bodies, the high-level segment, the venue and logistics, exhibits and side events, mandated and other events, and news and media. [Marrakech Conference Information Hub]

Credit: SDG Knowledge Hub and IISD

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