katowice, poland

Climate negotiators reach agreement on “Paris Rulebook”

The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended on a positive note after two weeks of intense negotiations. Held in Katowice, Poland, COP24 was arguably the most important climate conference since the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, which had a commitment to finalise the implementation guidelines by December 2018.

After postponing the final plenary session more than five times, the 2018 conference saw climate change negotiators from about 200 countries across the globe finally agree on a ‘rulebook’, making the Paris Agreement operative. The rulebook gives countries a common framework for periodic reporting and monitoring progress towards their climate targets. Countries will be required to avail information on how their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) were estimated and how they consider their targets fair and ambitious in view of their national circumstances.

katowice, poland

Critics, however, lament that despite agreeing on the framework, the rulebook does not offer much to compel countries to improve their ambitions as current national pledges fall short of meeting the global warming goals of the Paris Agreement. This is despite the release of the 1.50°C special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prior to COP24, which many expected to form the spine of the climate negotiations as it details the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of climate change related initiatives.

Climate finance is another area where some agreements were made. For instance, negotiators agreed on post 2020 financing rules that seek to improve transparency on past and future funding and establish processes to help attain the finance goals of the Paris Agreement. Developed countries are obliged to report every two years on what climate finance they plan to avail.

In the same event, Germany and Norway announced their intention to double their contributions towards replenishing the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This was the first COP after the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) was announced at COP23 in 2017. While the KJWA is still in its early stages, farmers expect it to make a difference in their livelihoods through a transformed agriculture sector.

In a statement issued by the farmers’ constituency, it was noted that ‘true transformation’ will require much greater ambition from individual countries. “We are clear about what we need: innovation and the scaling up of technology transfer; investment in research and extension; and an ambitious financing framework particularly for farmers in developing countries will transform farm productivity and resilience across the world, so that no farmer, especially women farmers and the farmers of the future are left behind”, noted the representative of farmers’ constituency.

The next Conference (COP25) will be hosted by Chile in 2019.