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Lima: High-level statements, ministerial roundtable

By Ramesh Jalan

One Tuesday (Dec 9th) morning, the opening ceremony of the joint COP/CMP high-level segment took place, and high-level statements were delivered throughout the day. In the afternoon, a ministerial roundtable on climate finance convened. Throughout the day, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) contact group on item 3 focused on a draft Conference of the Parties (COP) decision. Informal consultations under the COP and meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol CMP also took place during the day.


On behalf of President of Peru Ollanta Humala, COP 20/CMP 10 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of Environment, Peru, opened the high-level segment, noting the generation of a positive “Lima spirit” and stressing the need to “raise this spirit to achieve the outcome the world is expecting from us.”

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres highlighted that “the Inca calendar says this is the season for planting and the science calendar warns us we are running out of time,” stressing “it is for us to plant here in Lima the seeds of a more secure, just and prosperous world for all.”

President of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa said “business as usual” is not an option and pointed to “a glimmer of hope” provided by the knowledge that taking action now and transforming to carbon-neutral, climate-resilient economies can reduce adaptation costs tomorrow.

Noting “this is not the time for tinkering but for transformation,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that in order to keep the global temperature rise under 2°C, “all parties must be part of the solution, and all societies must be engaged.” He called on parties to, inter alia: deliver a balanced and well-structured draft text as a solid foundation for negotiations in 2015; reach a common understanding on the scope of INDCs; and address climate finance.

The high-level segment then continued with statements from other heads and deputy heads of state and government, ministers, and other heads of delegations.


COP 20/CMP 10 President Pulgar-Vidal opened the session, encouraging parties to consider, inter alia: whether current institutions are working adequately; the level of transparency and predictability of climate finance; and responsiveness to the needs of developing countries. He urged ministers to launch a concrete roadmap to build a robust climate finance architecture and achieve coherence across institutions.

Alonso Segura, Minister of Finance, Peru, identified factors for consideration, including: improved operational measures to increase access to finance; coherence of reporting to allow comparability; financial management based on the principles of transparency and predictability; participation of the private sector; and scaling up the capacity of existing financial institutions.

Hussein Alfa Nafo, SCF Member, presented key findings and recommendations from the first biennial assessment by the SCF.

Noting that the GCF is “ready to disburse,” Hela Cheikhrouhou, GCF Executive Director, identified recent milestones, such as pledges reaching US$10 billion.

Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, GEF, identified climate finance as critical for the global climate agreement and catalyzing actions on the ground. Highlighting the potential to leverage funds, she noted the need to use public resources as effectively as possible.

Co-Facilitators Edna Molewa (South Africa) and Ed Davey (UK) called on parties to discuss how to move towards an articulated vision for climate finance.

Many countries welcomed the initial GCF resource mobilization, with some, including the EU, GERMANY, SPAIN and FINLAND, describing their contributions to various climate-related funds. AUSTRALIA announced her country’s pledge of AUS$200 million to the GCF over four years.

BELGIUM announced it will contribute €51.6 million to the GCF and called for the GCF to fund transformative activities in LDCs and vulnerable countries.

CHINA said it was “imperative” to define in Lima a roadmap to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020. MEXICO suggested finding ways to utilize the GCF for promoting technology transfer.

DENMARK highlighted the role of transparency in aiding learning. INDIA called for greater creativity from developed countries to mobilize innovative sources of finance, such as pension funds.

The NETHERLANDS called for carbon pricing, redirecting investments from “brown to green,” and highlighted activities of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA urged collaboration between the GCF and SCF, and noted the role of the private sector in mobilizing finance.

The US noted, inter alia, activities of the donor coordination group on climate finance and ongoing work to improve access to existing financial flows. Highlighting the adaptation finance gap, MALI called for greater transparency and common methodologies.

FINLAND identified the revenue from the EU-ETS as its source of financial support. EGYPT said climate finance should be related to the global temperature goal, and called for identification of needs, priorities and necessary enabling environments.

LUXEMBOURG emphasized that public finance at the national and local levels has a vital role to play in mobilizing private investment.

BOLIVIA supported introducing a “compound index of country participation,” based on historical responsibilities, ecological footprint, capabilities and state of development.

INDONESIA outlined her country’s “small” contributions to the GCF in the context of South-South cooperation and encouraged other developing countries to make pledges as well.

COLOMBIA emphasized that ensuring linkages between financial institutions under the Convention will be crucial in the new climate agreement. ZAMBIA called not only for pledges but also that they be “honored, timely, transparent and predictable.”

On institutional linkages, the PHILIPPINES called for harmonization and for integrating a monitoring system with monitoring indicators and feedback mechanisms.

The arrival of ministers for the high-level segment, marking the beginning of the shift to a more “political” negotiating mode, characterized the eighth day of COP 20. As is often the case, the high-level engagement was met with both perceptible excitement and apathy.

While some made bold, emotionally-charged statements, others retreated to familiar red lines and oft-heard positions. Still, some hoped that the presence of ministers could help finally bridge the “substantial gaps” remaining in several areas, and build badly needed “trust and reassurances,” under the ADP.

Many delegates felt the need for greater and sustained political engagement was becoming palpable.

A veteran negotiator declared a meeting to be convened by the President of the UN General Assembly on 29 June 2015 “a great idea” and seemed unperturbed about adding yet another meeting to the dense climate agenda for 2015. Concerns over “overloading” negotiators were mirrored in the ADP contact group where a procedural decision to work on the basis of “alternative” paragraphs instead of brackets made one delegate exclaim: “my eyes are hurting already from keeping up with all this new text, and I am not sure we have agreed on a single paragraph yet.”

As nominations for bodies under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol started to filter in, some delegates remarked that it was good to have a breath of “fresh air.” Others welcomed the arrival of process veterans, hoping they can provide time-trusted guidance and a change of pace. In the last week of the Lima COP, it is all hands on deck, with input needed from ministers and from current and new co-chairs alike

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(Dr Ramesh Kumar Jalan is the Resource Person and Moderator of the Climate Change Community of Practice, Solution Exchange, UNDP, New Delhi)

Lima: Climate scientists discuss risk amid uncertainty

By Ramesh Jalan

On Wednesday  a side event at the Lima Climate Change Conference focussed on challenges of making climate projections and linking damages from extreme weather events to changing emissions. Moderated by Leo Hickman, Met Office Hadley Centre,  UK, the event titled Climate Change Science Update: The Challenges for Robust Decision Making, also discussed risk management in the face of uncertainty; and the ethics of loss and damage.

Peter Stott, Met Office Hadley Centre, explained that attribution science that takes into account human activity can be used by decision makers in national planning processes. He described the science, highlighting that scenarios from the “real world” are compared to scenarios from a climate not influenced by human activity.

Elizabeth Kendon, Met Office Hadley Centre, described high resolution spatially-detailed models which help to illustrate climate change events, noting that these will better predict change over time. She said the results of the models are currently being used in the UK to help provide better information to decision makers on potential future risks.

Petra Tschakert, Pennsylvania State University (PSU), US, noted that the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) considers multidimensional vulnerability, explaining that this is linked to social frameworks where the more vulnerable have less capacity and fewer opportunities to adapt. She highlighted new qualitative modelling based on quantitative data, as well as value judgements, to demonstrate scenarios where adaptation is possible.

Nancy Tuana, PSU, explained that as different countries set standards on dealing with climate risk, they should consider that there are value judgments embedded in both the science and the politics of climate change. She underscored gathering information on what the wider community values, and then engaging with the decision makers to model various scenarios that should be considered when creating strategies to manage risk.

Allen Thompson, Oregon State University, spoke on ethics, loss and damage, and event attribution, calling for loss and damage to be considered as separate from adaptation as, among others, residual loss and damages occur beyond the limits of adaptation. Speaking on climate justice, he noted that event attribution raises the “specter of liability,” further noting that claims for compensation often rest on “distributional justice.” He said that building institutions will require unprecedented levels of international repair, and that moral repair involves victim identification and making amends.

Claudia Murray, University of Reading, gave examples from Latin America of mitigation measures in natural resources and urban planning and development. She described rural indigenous communities forced to migrate to urban areas where governments provide them with sub-standard housing and living conditions. She attributed the mushrooming of these unsustainable housing blocks to “bad politics” and the construction industry lobby, and called for better land policies as well as more effective tools to distribute the value of natural and urban resources.

In the discussion, participants considered:

  •   The measurement of large-scale changes in relation to local changes in climate;
  •   Value judgements as part of target-setting; the place for geo-engineering in risk discussions;
  • Shifting the discussion from adaptation to survival;
  • The importance of user-friendly science for communities; and
  • The need to understand the political situation in order to present the most influential science to decision makers.

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(Dr Ramesh Kumar Jalan is the Resource Person and Moderator of the Climate Change Community of Practice, Solution Exchange, UNDP, New Delhi)