COP24 outcomes and Solomon Islands analysis

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Solomon Star Newspaper, Pacific Region

The Solomon Islands delegation to the recent United Nations climate change summit in Poland, determined that its outcome as it related to the county’s key asks was not all that positive, according to a recently released analysis the delegation conducted.

What were those requests and how did the outcome of the conference of parties, or COP24, fall short? Here are some excerpts from the analysis.

Key asks going into COP 24

Going into COP24, the Solomon Islands Key Positions were as follows:

  • Close the gap on pre-2020 climate ambition.
  • Call on major emitters to ratchet up their Nationally Determined Contributions to reducing greenhouse gases soon to help stabilising global temperature increases below 1.5-degrees Celsius. In this regard, the delegates wrote, “we want the COP to ‘Welcome’ the latest IPCC 1.5oC Special Report as the major scientific report that all parties can be guided by to transform their development pathways to ensure sustainable development, eradication of poverty and to reach the global goal of stabilising the global temperature to 1.5 oC.”
  • Have an Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement.
  • Ensure that “Loss and Damage” is an integral part of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and has to be treated separately from adaptation.
  • Ensure completion of the Rule Book (Paris Agreement work programme) at COP24 or before 2020.

Outcomes of COP 24 as measured against key asks

  • The COP continues to “emphasize” that enhanced pre-2020 ambition can lay a solid foundation for enhanced post-2020 ambition. Nevertheless, the Doha Amendments which guide the pre-2020 work is still to be adopted as many parties are still to ratify the amendment. This does not help if we want to stabilise the global temperature to 1.5oC soon.
  • The COP “recognises” the role of the IPCC in providing scientific input to inform Parties in strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. In addition, it “Welcomes” the timely completion of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC in response to the invitation of Parties as requested Decision 1 of COP 21. The COP further “invites” Parties to make use of the information contained in the report.
  • On the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement, it was decided that the, “Adaptation Fund shall exclusively serve the Paris Agreement and shall no longer serve the Kyoto Protocol once the share of proceeds under Article 6 of the Paris Agreements become available. This is good news for us. However, we have to wait until market and non-market mechanisms (Article 6) under the Paris Agreement are developed and implemented and start generating funds that could feed the Adaptation Fund.”
  • On Loss and Damage, the analysis said there was no clear decision during the COP on any substantive collective actions and support to address Loss and damage. “Care must be taken in the upcoming COP by Solomon Islands and Pacific islands countries to ensure that the responsibility to address Loss and Damage must be supported and not fall entirely on parties’ shoulders.”
  • As for the Rulebook to guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, major issues have not yet been completed. “These include clear decisions on how to actually address Loss and Damage; Transparency and Compliance guidelines to implement the Paris Agreement transparently and coherently by all parties; and Market and Non-Market Mechanisms to serve the Paris Agreement and generate needed funds for the Adaptation Fund. All these outstanding issues needs to be completed before 2020 to ensure smooth implementation of the Paris Agreement by 2020.”

The Solomon Islands’ representatives to the COP were led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology, Dr. Melchior Mataki. Other members of the delegation were from the Ministry of Forestry and Research, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and independent organisations. Here are some of their takeaways.

How the outcomes of COP24 will affect the Solomon Islands and the Pacific region

Pre-2020 mitigation action and the rulebook for implementing the Paris Agreement must be done before 2020 to guide urgent post-2020 actions, delegates said. The IPCC special report on 1.5° Celsius shows the grave risks of exceeding this temperature increase above pre-industrial levels. “Urgent actions need to be taken immediately by all parties if we are to keep up with the 1.5oC trajectory,” the delegates’ analysis says. “Solomon Islands and the Pacific Island countries stand to lose their land and marine ecosystems and their livelihoods sooner should we exceed 1.5oC within the next couple of decades.”

Did the Talanoa Dialogue achieved its purpose at COP24?

The mandate of the Talanoa Dialogue is to take stock of the collective efforts by all parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. The COP “took note” of the outcome, inputs and outputs of the Talanoa Dialogue and their potential to generate greater confidence, courage and enhanced ambitions.

The COP further “recognised” the efforts that parties and non-parties are undertaking to enhance their climate actions. Parties are further “invited” to use the outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue in the preparation of their Nationally Determined Contributions and their efforts to enhance their pre-2020 actions and ambitions.

The Solomon Islands’ analysis on COP24 has detailed that although the Talanoa Dialogue has achieved its purpose of taking stock of collective efforts of parties and encourages countries to enhance their ambitions, there is more to be done on how to reach the global goal of the Paris Agreement.