What are the expectations from COP 23?
Developing countries must give priority to ensure good governance in climate finance for protecting lives and livelihoods. The developed countries must meet their pledges to provide the climate funds and shall apply robust and transparent accounting for avoiding double counting.
The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) will be held in the German city Bonn from 6-17 November 2017. Under the Presidency of Fiji, an island state, COP23 would focus on developing, in line with the Paris Agreement, to build its architecture and regime e.g. modalities/guideline that would be finalized in 2018 for implementation of the Agreement after 2020. However, the global demand for the Paris Agreement to be legally-binding also didn’t happen, thus ensuring transparency of Parties became optional, which will make it difficult for vulnerable LDCs to access grant-based public finance.
LDCs like Bangladesh are facing difficulties in accessing the required amount of resources from climate funds as industrialized countries are not fulfilling their commitments made during the Rio Convention. In the absence of clarity on the ratio of adaptation versus mitigation, and the interpretation on issues like ‘new’ and ‘additional’, grant or loan; the implementation of the “Roadmap for US$100 billion” per year by 2020 promised by developed countries has become at the mercy of their wishes. While developing countries’ need is estimated to be US$3.5 trillion by 2030 to curb the climate change impacts, however, against which altogether only US$18 billion will be made available from public sources of the developed countries will be available by 2020. Moreover, among the approved funds from the Green Climate Finance (GCF), only 32% has been allocated for adaptation in the vulnerable countries. It is urgent to continue to mobilize ODA for poverty reduction to meet the SDG and also to adopt a time-bound and credible Roadmap along with implementation plan for mobilizing the committed new and additional climate finance consideration of the ‘Polluters Pay (Compensation) Principle’ that recognizes only public grants only, not loans. Moreover, to adopt rules to ensure 50:50 balance for adaptation and mitigation in finance especially from the Green Climate Fund.
Several vulnerable countries including Bangladesh are slow in meeting stringent fiduciary, environmental and other standards for the direct access from the GCF. Though as private entities of Bangladesh PKSF and IDCOL received accreditation as NIEs, much appreciated, but matter of concern that GCF is yet to release any fund to 43 approved projects including Bangladesh Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Mainstreaming (CRIM) project that was approved on 6th November 2015. However, there is no information available behind this unwarranted delay. With that backdrop, consistent with TIB’s mandate and commitment to facilitate promotion of transparency and accountability in climate finance governance, it sought the information from the GCF about what are the reasons for the delay of 23 months in the commencement of the disbursement of the fund for the CRIM project, in this regard whether pro-active disclosure policy exists, whether any roadmap including timeline for completing the pending procedures before the commencement of disbursement of the CRIM project and also whether any policy and procedure to compensate for potential loss in terms of opportunity costs incurred by the target people as a result of any delays.
Article 13 of the Paris Agreement has included that the Transparency Framework emphasized to promote transparency, accuracy, completeness, consistency and comparability of both demand and supply sides.
However, the Adaptation Finance Transparency Gap Report 2016 by Adaptationwatch has identified that “Overall findings suggest that countries are not being adequately transparent in their reporting of climate finance, and at the very least are failing to meet UNFCCC guidelines in their reporting process”. Most of the vulnerable countries are at the bottom quintiles of the corruption perception index 2016 by the Transparency International. Developing countries must give priority to ensure good governance in climate finance for protecting lives and livelihoods. The developed countries must meet their pledges to provide the climate funds and shall apply robust and transparent accounting for avoiding double counting. In the COP23 in line with principles of climate finance Transparency Framework under the Paris agreement should follow the “Whole-of-Governance” approach in climate finance, both supply or the developed countries and also demand or its utilization by developing countries. The issues are illustrated below:
|Indicators of “Whole-of-Governance”||Developed countries||Developing Countries|
|Transparency||· Both proactive and on-demand disclosures of complete/accurate information on fund delivery, easy access to information about the availability and allocations
· Easy access to information
|· Both proactive and on-demand disclosures of complete/accurate information on vulnerability assessment, about allocation, project/program actions fund requirement,
· Easy access to information
|Accountability||· Accurate and improved reporting
· Introduce accountability mechanism/tools
· Timely, predictable delivery of climate finance priorities to vulnerability
|· Introduce accountability mechanism/tools
· Proper environmental, social and economic assessment
· Due consideration to country-driven policies e.g. NAP, indigenous knowledge
· Proper prioritization of
· Gender-sensitive, consideration marginalized community
|Participation||· Mechanism to Community-led Adaptation planning
· Participation of community in climate finance related decision making
· Independent/Citizens-led MRV mechanism
|Integrity||· Being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness – not double counting, maintain environmental integrity
|· Being honest and having strong moral principles;
· Proper estimate and proper utilization of funds
· Environmental integrity e.g. conserve as well as protection of the environment
|Equity||· Avoid to impose ‘undue burden’ on climate vulnerable countries e.g. conditional grant
· “Fair shares” and “fair opportunities” in the distribution of and access to finance should be made available to the most vulnerable LDCs and SIDS
|· “Fair shares” and “fair opportunities” in the distribution of fund to the most vulnerable areas/communities|
|Coherence/ Consistency||· Strictly following UNFCCC funding principles/strategies and also national policies and priorities
· Consistency between INDC reporting (actions, and plans, including NAP), and progress, methodologies
|· Coherence/consistent with Adaptation principles in Paris Agreement and also national climate change vulnerability assessment, policies|
As a most vulnerable island, as the President Fiji has identified loss and damage as one of the priorities for COP 23. The Article 8 of the Paris Agreement also recognized ‘loss and damage’ as an issue separate from adaptation finance. After establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) at COP19, there is no funding yet to incur the growing loss and damages in the vulnerable countries.
It is expected that ‘Fiji International Initiative for Loss and Damage Finance’ would be adopted to generate and provide public finance as ‘new’ and ‘additional’ to ODA in addition to the commitment as adaptation finance.
It is important to note that as a financial tools for Loss and Damages insurance is not feasible mechanism in absorbing the shocks and stresses in developing countries since it covers only uncertain impacts and does nothing to address the inevitable slow onset events like sea level rise, salinity increase and ocean acidification faced by the Pacific, Caribbean and LDCs.
COP 23 should adopt the zero draft of the Paris Agreement Implementation Guidelines with clearly specified options for climate finance, loss and damages and transparency framework recognizing the “Whole-of-Governance” approach in order to meet the 2018 deadline through meaningful and constructive negotiations on the draft texts. Fiji presidency should provide strong political guidance to assure concrete commitment especially from the developed countries to mobilize grant based public finance; and also the guidelines should be disclosed and discussed with all stakeholders including observers and non-state actors throughout 2018 and all comments and suggestions must be adequately considered for equitable and balanced implementation of the Paris Agreement.