COP22: Read Azeb Girmai, LDC Watch’s climate lead, from Ethiopia’s detailed assessment

COP 22 Marrakech, Morocco 7 – 18 , 2016

On the 7 November climate talks in Marrakech started with the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22); the 12th session of the conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12); the 45th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45); and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

Unique for COP22 in Marrakech was the second session of the newly-established body: the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), following its first session in Bonn in May this year.

The Paris Agreement (PA) was signed in Paris last year, and due to its entering into force on 4 November, this year, another meeting also held its first session: the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the PA (CMA 1). (The PA came into force 30 days after 5 October this year, when the double threshold for entry into force of the agreement was achieved: 55 Parties to the Convention, accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, deposited their instruments of ratification. To date 97 of the 197 Parties to the Convention have ratified the Paris Agreement).

Major elements addressed at COP22, Marrakech:

Marrakech “COP of Action “

Pre-2020 Action

Despite the PA’s early entry to force, the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) (where Parties agreed to give effect to the second commitment of the KP (2CP) for emissions’ reductions by 18%  below the 1990 levels by developed countries for the period 2013-202) has yet to come into effect.  COP 22 was held against the background of an urgent call for ratification. This is particularly urgent in the light of the UNEP’s latest report: Emissions Gap Report 2016 which says that the world is still heading for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 0C this century, even with “Paris pledges”. The report warns that in 2030, emissions will be 12 to 14 gigatonnes above levels needed to limit global warming to 20C.

Developing countries once again complained with disappointment about developed countries’ inaction to fulfill their pre-2020 commitment to ratify the Doha Amendment, which after four years has only been ratified by 73 countries and requires a further 144 countries to ratify the second amendment in order to come into effect. This failure is even more alarming in the month when the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that preliminary data shows that 2016 is the hottest year on record with global temperature reaching approximately 1.20C above pre-industrial levels. More so, failure to take action pre-2020 can be detrimental to the ability to accomplish the post-2020 target of reducing global temperatures by less than 1.50C.




Means of Implementation pre-2020

Parties came to Marrakesh expecting to hold discussions on Paragraph 3 and 4 of Decision 1/C.P.19 relating to the 2013 Warsaw Agreement to accelerate the full implementation of the Bali Action Plan to provide support including finance, technology and capacity building to enhance developing countries’ ambition in the pre-2020 period.

During a facilitative dialogue on progress pre-2020 action and about providing the means of implementation, it was reported that registration of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) had increased by 35% with the largest percentage coming from LDCs and African countries. Yet, finance, technology transfer and capacity-building support at scale are not being sufficiently used. The Asian Development Bank Representative Preety Bhandari reported that of the 2015 climate budget of US$25 only 20% was allocated for adaptation, while 80% went to mitigation actions.

Similarly, in his presentation, the Chair of the LDCs Tosi Mpanu Mpanu underscored that the cost of adaptation in developing countries is much higher than mitigation, and the most recent adaptation cost is likely to be up to 2-3 times higher than current figures indicate.  The proposal for National Adaptation Plan of Actions (NAPAs) was agreed at COP 17 in Durban. However five years later developing countries, particularly LDCs, are still waiting for financial support to implement their NAPAs, which were finalised years ago. To date 32 NAPA implementation project proposals submitted by the LDCs that were technically cleared by the GEF secretariat are still waiting support from the LDC Fund (LDCF). So, at Marrakesh the LDC Chair emphatically urged developed countries to increase their support to the LDCF.


Developing countries; particularly vulnerable countries in the LDCs and SIDS, wanted the Parties at Marrakesh to focus on Action for Adaptation as a matter of urgency.  However, the outcome after the two weeks’ discussion has been very unsatisfactory.  At both the SBI and SBSTA sessions the Parties present expressed their worries on the budgetary implications of Adaptation. Most developing countries believe this is hampering action under the UN Convention and expect the same thing to happen under the PA.

Major elements under discussion:

  1. Agriculture: there was a call for adaptation to focus on agriculture, given its implication for food security and as it is a major economic sector for most developing countries, particularly LDCs. This was central to the discussion carried out by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and a final decision was expected at Marrakech, after years of debate since it was initiated at COP 17 in Durban and discussed at two consecutive workshops in the last two years. A decision was expected on setting up a work programme on agriculture under the SBSTA, but the SBSTA failed to come to an agreement and the matter was deferred until the next SBSTA 46 session in May 2017. This was extremely disappointing for developing countries. They are eager to start work on this matter urgently and to trigger action to adapt the sector from the effects of climate change and to build the capacity of a multitude of small-scale farmers to help rescue their livelihood and ensure food security.
  2. Adaptation Fund – under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), there was a lengthy discussion on whether the Adaptation Fund would serve the Paris Agreement or not. The Adaptation fund was initially set up under the Kyoto Protocol to be financed from the 2% levy of the CDM proceeds; however, the carbon market has collapsed, leaving the CDM devoid of funds. Although the Paris Agreement indicated that the Adaptation Fund would serve the PA, Parties were once again in a lengthy conflicting discussion.


Finally, after the CMA 2 at the COP on its 24th session it was decided that it should serve the PA.  In the mean-time the APA will start the necessary preparatory work on the Adaptation Fund to address the governance and institutional arrangements, safeguards and operating modalities for it to serve the PA. Parties are therefore requested to submit their views on the formalities by 31 March 2017. This worries developing countries, as it will hinder/slow down their adaptation action.


The Adaptation Fund’s financial gap was barely met by Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Walloon and Flemish regions of Belgium raising $81m. In addition, there is heightened concern in the light of the recent Adaptation Finance Gap Report which estimates that $56-73 billion is needed for adaptation in developing countries annually now, rising to $140-300B in just the coming 13 years.

All in all, adaptation in Marrakech was not well-served.  Developed countries said they were unable to raise public money, yet G7 countries and Australia, which are struggling to provide public money for adaptation of 3.4b/year are comfortable raising funds for subsidies and public finance to support oil, gas and coal production to the tune of $67b annually.

  1. Long term Climate finance – Discussion on long term finance has delivered no clear decision on the mobilisation and provision of scaled-up financial resources for developing countries – the one tangible element that was expected from Marrakech. There have been some small-scale wins: avoiding adopting the finance road map with its dodgy, unfair and incorrect accounting modalities; some seemingly-positive intentions such as the emphasis given to public finance for adaptation; the call for a balance between adaptation and mitigation and mention of scaling up adaptation finance.

Loss and Damage

One thing that can be seen as progress under the Loss and Damage discussion during COP was the agreement (after a long first week of lingering and tedious negotiation) on a series of technical processes that will help developing countries deal with impacts not addressed by planned adaptation.  The decision establishes a review of the Warsaw International Mechanism – the overall governing framework for the loss and damage discussion – and there was also agreement to produce a technical paper elaborating the sources of financial support for loss and damage.

Initiatives launched that might have implication in the LDCs

  1. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency initiative (REEEI) in the LDCs
  2. The African Adaptation initiative (AAI)
  3. The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

These initiatives may have potential to engage LDCs as they all attempt to focus on small-scale climate actions.  There may be a need to assess the opportunity to tap into possible resources.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development (REEEI) launched on the last day of the conference announced that it intends to scale up the provision of renewable energy to LDCs, while promoting energy efficiency. This will particularly help rural development.  It will be working with exiting initiatives such as the AREI to help those countries which fall in the cracks between current frameworks.

There was a call for civil society to engage during a preliminary presentation of the AREI where I attended and gathered basic information. At the moment, the initiative is at an early stage but once it starts operating civil society engagement will be a major focus.

Equally, I attended the launch ceremony of the African Adaptation Initiative – still also at a preliminary stage. When it begins operations a major focus will be strengthening and supporting small-scale adaptation actions to access financial support.  This will require close follow-up to get engaged.

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