Climate Change

Climate Emergency CoP 25: Roadblock for Adaptation Fund

Developing countries willing to compromise on the negotiations to get Article 6 of Paris Agreement moving in the right direction

By Akshit Sangomla
Published: Wednesday 11 December 2019
Negotiations on Adaptation Fund hit roadblock
Photo: Patricia Espinosa C. @PEspinosaC / Twitter
Photo: Patricia Espinosa C. @PEspinosaC / Twitter

Negotiations regarding the Adaptation Fund hit a major roadblock on December 11, 2019, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (CoP) 25 in Madrid. The negotiations are key to migration from the Kyoto Protocol regime to the Paris Agreement regime and a governance mechanism for that. 

The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) agreed to the first seven paragraphs of the text of the agenda item 7 under CMP, which deals with the Adaptation Fund. But it could not reach a consensus on the the main point of contention regarding the composition of the governing board of the Fund which makes up the paragraph 8 of the text.

In its current form, the board comprises members mostly (70 per cent) from developing countries, giving them control over the financial management of the fund. On the other hand, the developed countries want a greater representation on the board.

At a negotiation meeting on December 10, the decision regarding paragraph 8 was postponed to the next meeting of the CMP in June, 2020. Hence, the parties agreed to delete the paragraph from the text document for now.

China said it sees some progress in the negotiations on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and would like to talk about composition of the board only when parties come to a conclusion on the new carbon market mechanism. The European Union (EU) took a more pro-active stand on the issue saying that “our mandate was to operationalise the board. We wanted consensus on the issue but as none was reached, we want it deleted.”

Other countries like India, Saudi Arabia and Belize wanted the matter to be taken up in the next session.

The Adaptation Fund was set up in 2001 under the Kyoto Protocol to finance projects and programmes in developing countries to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change. The finance was raised, in part, by levying a 2 per cent “share of proceeds” on the value of credits traded on the international carbon market under the Protocol — known as the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’.

It also relies on contributions from developed countries. The fact that it was mostly controlled by developing countries and was able to build their national capacities to adapt to the consequences of human-induced climate change had contributed to its success. An amount of $532 million has been disbursed through the Fund for 80 projects on adaptation, mostly serving vulnerable communities in developing countries.

The next discussion among the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) was on whether the text that has been agreed upon by them for the CMP can be taken over directly under CMA.

This led to a lot of confusion in the room, with remarks coming from a host of countries across the spectrum. The EU had first proposed that the same text under the CMP be taken over under the CMA as the parties had waited for a long time for the Adaptation Fund to be guided by the Paris Agreement.

Saudi Arabia was vehemently opposed to this proposal while South Africa said that it “cannot consider new text and wanted to go back to its team to discuss”. India and Egypt pointed out that there was no clarification on the text.

To this, the co-facilitator stated that the text is the same as has been agreed upon a while back under the CMP. Saudi Arabia raised its flag again to say that “it is not ok with the text”. For quite sometime later, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia intervened that they cannot entertain new text while the co-facilitator kept reiterating that the text was the same.

In the end, South Africa remarked that what the co-facilitator was proposing was procedurally wrong. “It seems like procedural engineering of an agreement and It is a problem”, its representative said.

It was also pointed out that no decision can be made on this matter till the issues regarding Article 6 get resolved. After this, the session was abruptly closed after a series of statements by Saudi Arabia for the session to be ended.

With this, matters concerning the Adaptation Fund and its functioning remain unresolved and so do the hopes of the millions of vulnerable people who would have benefitted from its smooth functioning.

It seems like the developing countries are willing to compromise on the Adaptation Fund negotiations to get the Article 6 moving along in the right direction. With only three days left for the CoP 25 in Madrid to end, a decision on Article 6 is highly unlikely.

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