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REPORTS: New briefings on key issues in the climate negotiations for Least Developed Countries

Anju Sharma of the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) introduces a new set of publications on international climate issues, for which she is the Managing Editor.

The European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) and CDKN have produced three briefing notes that summarise three of the greatest issues of concern for LDCs: differentiated responsibilities for climate mitigation; monitoring, reporting and verification; and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

These LDC Briefings summarise issues from a larger set of nine LDC Papers for the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which ecbi and CDKN produced in 2013-2014. While the LDC Papers were produced specifically for LDC Group negotiators to the UNFCCC, the LDC Briefings are written for a wider audience, to raise broader awareness of LDC concerns.

The papers were produced in response to the Group’s information needs. Topics were proposed by Group members, and shortlisted by a Series Editorial Board that included the Group Chair and two other LDC representatives, in addition to representatives from ecbi, CDKN and other contributors. The papers were co-authored by LDC negotiators, along with international experts. This process not only helped to tailor the Papers to the needs of the Group, but also to build capacity among Group members.

The Briefing on National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) explores the relationship between NAPs and National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). It finds that the NAP process can be useful for LDCs to explore low-cost and ‘no regret’ adaptation strategies to provide robust policy responses in the face of information uncertainty, and refine assessments of economic impacts of climate risks, in order to target adaptation investments better. It can also facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into development policies and activities. Examples where this is already taking place are included. However, it notes, finance for NAPs ­– including measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of such finance, and its provision through the modality of ‘enhanced direct access’ – should be a priority for the 2014 climate conference in Peru, and for the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, and other financial contributors.

The Briefing on Differentiated Mitigation Commitments in a new climate agreement notes that high ambition in the new agreement is vital to LDCs, as they are worst affected by climate impacts. A good balance is needed between the initial level of ambition inscribed in the agreement, and a process to move to even more ambitious commitments later on. How country proposals will be reviewed for technical correctness, fairness and against the 1.5°C or 2°C limit is another critical point. While country positions on principles like equity, responsibility and capability vary broadly, an Equity Reference Framework could help bring them together in the form of acceptable ranges. This could serve as guidance to propose or review commitments – as part of the formal process, or informally.  The Briefing proposes active positioning on the use of equity principles as a way for the LDC Group to push for global ambition.

The Briefing on LDC Concerns Related to MRV in the Climate Regime notes that, for mitigation actions, LDCs would benefit from the development of simplified methodologies for LDCs under the Framework of Various Approaches; and also, a system for simplified greenhouse gas inventories would be welcome, with the provision of adequate resources to help LDCs to limit emissions as they develop. A consistent and transparent system for MRV of support has not yet been developed. In particular, clarity is needed on definitions of “climate finance” and of “new and additional” finance, and on methodologies for the accounting of finance provided by developed countries and leveraged in the private sector. The LDC Group could initiate in-country verification of the climate finance they receive, based on what they consider climate finance, to expedite the development of international rules for accounting, and to fine-tune the definitions of climate finance. The Briefing also notes that submitting Biennial Update Reports – if resources are available –  can allow LDCs to receive support that is more effective, and better tailored to their requirements.

Image courtesy Humanitarian Coalition.

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