The two week long discussions is seeing the convening of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) and 12th Session of the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12) as well as sessions of the subsidiary bodies – Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) along with the new Ad Hoc Working Group on Paris Agreement (APA) which began its work in May this year following the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement (PA) in December 2015.
The Paris Agreement came into force on 4 November 2016 creating a history in multilateral diplomacy, as no other convention came into force so quickly. This reflects global political commitment and desire for addressing climate change issues and to transit towards a low-carbon, climate resilient future. Timor-Leste being one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change with being negligibly responsible has sent a 20-member delegation to the 22nd COP and effectively contributing towards shaping the global discussions. The delegation consists of representatives of different ministries, directorates and partners including technical experts of climate change, finance, forestry, water, renewable energy and currently being led by UNFCCC Focal Point Mr. AdaoSoares Barbosa and Director of National Directorate of Climate Change, Mr. Augusto Pinto. H.E. Mr. Constacio Pinto, Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment will lead the high-level segment of the conference and will be accompanied by high level Government of Timor-Leste officials including Director Generals of Environment, Electricity and Social Services. Timor-Leste delegation is actively participating in key group discussions including the Alliance of Small Islands Developing States (AOSIS), Least Developed Countries (LDC) and G77 and China and thematic working groups on adaptation, loss and damage, finance, capacity building, mitigation and technology transfer. It is to be noted that Timor-Leste has been nominated as the Coordinator of Loss and Damage discussions for the LDC group and our lead negotiator Mr. AdaoSoares Barbosa is leading the L&D discussions in various negotiating fronts.
Given the need for urgent action, COP22 is touted as the “COP of Action” or the “implementation COP”. It is expected that COP22 will not only shape the rules of the implementation of the Paris Agreement for the post 2020 timeframe, but also deal with the existing commitments including delivering USD 100 billion per year by 2020 from developed to developing countries that was agreed in 2010. Moreover, due to early entry into the force of Paris Agreement has created enormous pressure on the delegates and relevant bodies to finalize the rules of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Key issues related to COP22 and Position of Timor-Leste Delegation:
Temperature Goal and NDCs: The target of keeping global temperature rise well below 2-degree C and preferably below 1.5-degree C as agreed in the Paris Agreement still looks very ambitious. “The Emissions Gap Report” of 2016 published by UNEP just before the Marrakech COP reveals that the world is still heading towards a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4-degree C by this century, even with “Paris Pledges” and that in 2030, emissions will be 12-14 gigatonnes above levels needed to limit global warming below 2-degree C.
Timor-Leste through its different negotiating groups is advocating for enhanced commitments from major polluters to enhance their emission reduction targets to achieve the agreed global goal. Timor-Leste being responsible for only 0.003% of the global emission has approved its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) with technical assistance from UNDP, showcasing its global commitment and seeking financial and technical assistance for effective implementation of the INDC like other developing countries.
Fortunately, some Parties have already put forward the seeds of a possible solution to this problem. Some have used their contributions to specifically indicate additional mitigation potential that could be unlocked with technology, finance and capacity-building support. These efforts, conditioned upon the delivery of support, represent an additional 2.4 GT of emissions reductions in 2030.Developed countries should honour their dual obligations to deliver mitigation efforts within their own borders as well as deliver support to unlock efforts in developing countries that are conditional on receiving support. More than any other space in the negotiations, partially conditional NDCs emphasize how critical the delivery of finance, technology and capacity building is to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. And they offer an opportunity for countries to work collaboratively to unlock additional emissions reductions.
Climate Finance: Climate finance remains as the corner stone of achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement. The second biennial report of the Standing Committee of Finance to the COP was released on 8 November 2016. The report highlights the inadequacy of climate finance, particularly for adaptation. Only 25% of the climate finance was provided to developing countries to address their adaptation needs. Timor-Leste is advocating for enhanced climate finance, particularly for LDCs and SIDS and to streamline different climate finance mechanisms including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). Timor-Leste is also advocating for enhanced nation access to the finance instruments using national systems and national priorities.
Adaptation: Timor-Leste is actively participating in adaptation discussions and particularly focusing on adaptation communication issues. Due to divergent views between developing and developed countries on adaptation communication, Timor-Leste following the developing countries path is advocating for streamlined adaptation communication through existing mechanisms including national communications and national adaptation plans rather than creating an additional layer of reporting instruments as envisioned by developed countries. Timor-Leste is also supporting the argument of using adaptation communications to trach adaptation finance from developed to developing countries following the global pledges and to avoid double counting of ODA as climate finance. Timor-Leste is also negotiating for continuation of LDCF resources to meet the NAPA priorities in developing countries to meet the short to medium term adaptation priorities and in support of new, additional, dedicated and predictable funding for medium to long term adaptation needs. We are also negotiating to set the rules for climate finance flows and accounting procedures to be agreed upon for successful implementation of the agreement and to meet the pledges of the developed countries which is long overdue.
Loss and Damage: Timor-Leste being the coordinator of LDC’s position on Loss and damage is negotiating for establishment of a clearing house for risk transfer that serves as a repository for information on insurance and risk transfer, and a task force to develop recommendations for integrated approaches to avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change. Timor-Leste positions to advance L&D discussions in a way that it is separated from the adaptation discussions as agreed in the Warsaw COP and notable progresses being achieved by the end of the COP22.
Capacity Building: Timor-Leste positions itself with relevant negotiating groups for specific assistance from developed countries and through South-South cooperation mechanism to enhance its capacity to address all aspects of climate change. As countries stands at different circumstances with different capabilities, Timor-Leste considers and is negotiating for dedicated support to developing countries through full functionality of Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB). Timor-Leste also advocating for the comprehensive review of the “Framework for Capacity-building in Developing Countries” to make it fully operational and effective to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement.
Timor-Leste delegation is also effectively participating in bilateral negotiations on behalf of respective negotiating groups including bilateral meetings with several developed countries (eg, Nordic countries, Australia) and international development organizations and climate finance mechanisms (eg, UNDP, GEF, GCF). Timor-Leste is also currently drafting its country statement following the discussions of the COP22 which will be delivered during the high-level segment by the Head of Delegation, HE Minister Pinto.