Daily report for 3 December 2018

Katowice Climate Change Conference - December 2018

On Monday, the Katowice Climate Change Conference continued, with the official opening ceremony held in the morning. During the day several events convened, including the High-level Segment featuring heads of state and government, the review of the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures, and the Koronovia Joint Work on Agriculture. Informally, delegates met throughout the day to discuss issues related to the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP).

Opening Ceremony

President of COP 23/CMP 13/CMA 1-2 Frank Bainimarama underscored that when it comes to climate change “we are all in the same canoe.” He presented COP 24 President Michał Kurtyka with the gavel, remarking that it “represents all parties’ efforts over the years to bring us to this point.”

Saying the world faces “yet another historic test” at COP 24, President Andrzej Duda, Poland, highlighted that Poland’s GHG emissions have declined by 30% below 1988 levels while its economy has grown, stressing the contribution of efficient coal technologies.

Stating “we are in deep trouble with climate change,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres shared four messages:

  • science demands a significantly more ambitious response to the challenge of climate change;
  • the Paris Agreement provides the framework for the needed transformative action and must be operationalized in Katowice;
  • there is a collective responsibility to invest in averting “global climate chaos”; and
  • climate action offers a compelling path to transformation but political will and more far-sighted leadership are required.

Reminding delegates that the world is watching, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly, acknowledged that negotiations would be difficult, but urged parties to see COP 24 as an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of multilateralism at a time when its legitimacy is challenged.

Henryk Kowalczyk, Minister of Environment, Poland, highlighted the expectation for COP 24 to deliver the package needed to bring the Paris Agreement “alive.”

Explaining that the story of the region surrounding Katowice is “a story of transition,” COP 24 President Kurtyka said the path of a “deep but just transition” requires: vision, hope, and confidence that “we will get there”; reassurance to people that they will not be left alone; and transparent, implementable rules and a system of support.

Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank, announced the Bank’s intent to double its support for climate finance, pledging US$200 billion for climate action, including US$50 billion for adaptation and resilience. She said the World Bank will use a “climate lens” in all its work, apply a shadow carbon price in its economic valuations, and work to integrate low-carbon growth into policy planning.

Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, highlighted the city’s motto of “black to green,” underscoring that COP 24 is an opportunity for Katowice to share its experiences of transitioning from a coal-mining town to a modern metropolis.

Presenting the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration, President Andrzej Duda, Poland, stressed the importance of bringing together the broadest possible coalition of stakeholders and delivering win-win solutions and gradual change acceptable to all. He said the declaration complements the Paris Agreement by adding an important social aspect.

Sir David Attenborough, BBC, delivered the “People’s Seat” address, noting that he represented the voice of the people and sought to deliver their collective thoughts, concerns, ideas, and suggestions directly to decision makers. Underscoring that “the message is clear,” he called on leaders to act now to ensure the continuation of human civilization and the preservation of the natural world.

High-level Segment

COP 24 President Kurtyka presided over the High-level Segment.

President Gjorge Ivanov, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, characterised the Paris Agreement as the start of a “long race that will determine the future of humanity,” calling for changes in lifestyle and consumption.

President Baron Divavesi Waqa, Nauru, lamented that “powerful interests emerged from Paris unscathed” and emphasized that willingness to implement system change would be the “benchmark for true leadership.”

Noting that Botswana is experiencing unusual and extreme temperatures, President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, Botswana, said that his country’s climate efforts rely on the provision of financial support.

President Alain Berset, Switzerland, emphasized the need for major emitters to reduce emissions and for the poorest countries to receive support, and noted that history shows the fast movers are rewarded.

President Raimonds Vējonis, Latvia, called for a robust transparency framework to send a strong signal to the private sector, and for not reinterpreting the Paris Agreement.

President Rumen Radev, Bulgaria, stressed the need for predictable implementation guidelines to send a strong signal about the solidity of the Paris Agreement.

Captains Regent Mirko Tomassoni and Luca Santolini, San Marino, said our time is marked by collective narcissism and short-termism, and called for making bold decisions, which will “require enormous sacrifices but will allow us to leave a better planet for our children.”

Grand Duke Henri, Luxembourg, congratulated the Polish COP Presidency on its declaration, noting it is “timely to insist on the social aspect” of climate change.

President Borut Pahor, Slovenia, highlighted recent public debates on climate change and said his country’s long-term climate strategy would be its most important document since independence.

President Sauli Niinistö, Finland, said his country has banned the use of coal for energy by 2029 and aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2045.

The High-level Segment continued throughout the day. The webcast is available at: https://unfccc-cop24.streamworld.de/webcast/first-part-of-the-high-level-segment


Review of the Work of the Improved Forum on the Impact of the Implementation of Response Measures: Andrei Marcu (Belize) and Keith Anderson (Switzerland) co-facilitated the full-day event, inviting parties to share lessons learned from the improved forum over the last three years.

On moving work under the forum forward, the EU suggested more focus on a just transition in the energy sector and on decent work in the agriculture sector. The US lauded the forum for informing governments’ macroeconomic policies, investments in infrastructure and people, and improvements in business climates. SOUTH AFRICA lamented the lack of attention to the transboundary impacts of response measures and to ways to minimize negative impacts in developing countries. Saudi Arabia, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed the capacity needs of developing countries around undertaking assessments, and, with SINGAPORE, called for developing clear recommendations for specific actions.

Most appreciated the previous decision to limit the forum’s focus to two work areas: economic diversification and transformation and just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs. Many advocated broadening the scope, with MALDIVES and NEW ZEALAND proposing focus on tourism and agricultural sectors. GHANA, with SINGAPORE, recommended looking at response measures in the context of NDCs to minimize adverse effects.

Discussions also addressed the effectiveness of the forum’s modalities in supporting its functions and the work programme. Views diverged on the benefit of in-session versus regional workshops held for participation and capacity building purposes. Several supported a permanent technical expert group, opposed by the US and AUSTRALIA.

On how to capture the outcome of the review, the G-77/CHINA called for using the discussions and submissions as building blocks for recommendations on the improved forum. The EU, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, and the US proposed to conclude the review with an oral recognition of the variety of views expressed, and emphasized the need to focus on modalities, work programme, and functions of the forum under the Paris Agreement. Marcu said draft conclusions for the contact group to consider will be prepared.

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: The workshop met throughout the day, co-facilitated by Milagros Sandoval (Peru) and Heikki Granholm (Finland).

The UNFCCC Secretariat, inter alia: highlighted how agriculture is addressed under the Convention; delineated the role of SBSTA in fostering knowledge exchange; summarized key takeaways from previous Koronivia workshops; and pointed to linkages with processes outside the Convention.

Representatives of the Convention’s constituted bodies presented, highlighting how their work supports parties in implementing action on agriculture issues. Among the presentations, the Adaptation Committee highlighted incorporating an agriculture lens in guidance provided to the Nairobi Work Programme. The LEG referred to technical guidance on NAPs, and work on vulnerable groups and ecosystems. The WIM ExCom presented its work on slow onset events, non-economic losses, risk management, and human mobility. In the ensuing discussions, participants, inter alia, exchanged views on the challenges associated with insurance-based tools for addressing loss and damage in the agriculture sector, and stressed the need to promote knowledge sharing.

In the afternoon, Zambia shared experiences on developing a NAP for the agriculture sector with support from the LEG. The Adaptation Fund pointed to a project in oasis zones in Morocco, highlighting the rehabilitation of a traditional irrigation system as a key component. The World Food Programme presented a project on climate change, food security, and gender equity in Ecuador. The CTCN reported on supporting Viet Nam in exploring the potential of rice husk as an alternative energy source. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) delineated its collaborative activities with various UNFCCC constituted bodies and pointed to guidelines on incorporating agriculture issues in adaptation planning and communication.

On the way forward for the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, views included: inviting the GCF to present on its agriculture-related work; mapping how the constituted bodies address issues identified in the Koronivia workshops, with a view to identifying gaps between these actions and parties’ needs; and options for institutionalizing constituted bodies’ involvement in the Koronivia process, including through a COP decision. Informal consultations will convene on Wednesday, 5 December.


Multilateral Assessment: In the morning, SBI Chair Emmanuel Dlamini, eSwatini, chaired. The following countries presented on results and progress related to achieving their quantified, economy-wide emissions reduction targets: the EU, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and France. The webcast is available at: https://unfccc-cop24.streamworld.de/webcast/multilateral-assessment

Facilitative Sharing of Views: In the afternoon, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, and Jordan presented information related to their biennial update reports. The webcast is available at: https://unfccc-cop24.streamworld.de/webcast/6th-workshop-of-the-facilitative-sharing-of-views

In the Corridors

On Monday, the Katowice Climate Change Conference officially began with a sense of momentum. After the successful launch of negotiations on the first day, many were hoping the day of high-level events and discussions would inject urgency, while providing cover for delegates to work informally on a range of issues around the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP).

At the high-level opening, heads of state, dignitaries, and celebrities reminded delegates that “the world is watching” and exhorted them to deliver on their moral responsibility. They described the high stakes in Katowice, as humanity endures a “global state of shock” and “races to survive as a species,” frequently invoking the recent findings of the IPCC. Renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough, speaking on behalf of the world’s people, implored those present: “The message is clear. Leaders of the world, you must lead.”

Meanwhile, delegates tucked themselves away behind closed doors in candid, party-led consultations, to test the acceptability of the addenda that the presiding officers of the subsidiary bodies had drafted since Bangkok in an attempt to streamline text and consolidate options. There seemed to be an overall acceptance of the addenda as the basis for further negotiation, with some reporting progress, although largely on “low-hanging fruit.” Some issues only convened for short sessions to hear initial reactions or to read through a few specific parts of the text. Across rooms and topics, the approach differed but the goal was the same: to move closer to a new iteration of the draft text due in two days. Many left unsure, but hopeful, that they would meet that goal.

Further information