The Secretariat of UNFCCC communicated the negotiation text of the Climate Change Agreement in Paris in December 2015 to Governments on 19th March 2015 in all six official languages.
This communication, according to the UNFCCC, means that the formal, legal and procedural requirements to allow countries to adopt a legal instrument under the UNFCCC have been fulfilled. Governments are set to agree a global climate change agreement which will come into effect in 2020.
As part of the agreement, every country is expected to contribute now and into the future based on their national circumstances to prevent global warming rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to adapt societies to existing and future climate change. This is the primary purpose of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which every country is expected to send to the UNFCCC.
The UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres made this clear when she said that the INDCs Report allowed early considerations of the emerging consensus and the options now on the table by all concerned government ministries so countries can conclude successfully in Paris. She went on to say that Paris needs to put the world on a recognisable track to peak global emissions as soon as possible, achieve a deep decarbonisation of the global economy and reach a climate neutral world in the second half of this century at the latest.
The negotiation text covers substantive content of the new agreement including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building and transparency of action and support. Another step towards the goal of COP 21 has been achieved with the negotiating text to all governments. The road will see intense effort towards the Agreement and formal negotiations will continue on the text at the next UN Climate Change sessional meeting in Bonn from 1st to 11th June, 2015.
It is expected that the Bonn meeting will be a useful platform for countries to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to come to an early resolution of the outstanding issues and to seek common ground on unresolved issues. It is expected that further sessions will provide opportunities to converge on and resolve issues in advance of the Paris Conference in Bonn from 31st August-4th September and from 19th to 23rd October 2015. There will also be series of top-level meetings that will include climate change on their Agenda and contribute to convergence on the key political choices. Major Economic Forum with up to four sessions tentatively scheduled for this year, The Petersburg Climate Dialogue (17th-19th, May 2015), the G7 and G2 0meetings.
These sessions, according to Ms Figueres, will provide opportunities that will help to ensure that countries can inject the right level of political energy and direction. She further said that “what is needed now is that the views of the Heads of State, Ministers and negotiating teams reflect a consistent view of ambition and the means to achieve it”.
The negotiating sessions will be interesting and challenging especially with the launching of the complete version of the Synthesis Report that concludes the instalment of the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC).
The Report, written by over 800 scientists from 80 countries and assessing over 30,000 scientific communities knows about the scientific basis of climate change, its risks and options for adaption and mitigation. It will serve as useful information for negotiators to advance strong basis for their positions and the interest of their regions and countries.
The train to COP21 is moving fast and, as the clock ticks, we must all ensure that we move with the tide. It is good news that the in-coming administration through the President-elect has given a signal that climate change, international diplomacy is a priority area for the government. We welcome this and as we have said in our series Nigeria has the responsibility to lead Africa and all of us must key into this olive message because we must move towards the path of low carbon economy and tap on this to get “buy-in” by all Nigerians. Climate Change is real and we must also be advocates.
I continue to wish the Committee on COP 21 every success, as we all look forward to the end product. We assure them of our support and pray that God will grant them wisdom and grace to succeed.
By Prince Lekan Fadina (Executive Director, Centre for Investment, Sustainable Development, Management and Environment (CISME). (He is a member of the Nigeria Negotiation Team, Africa Group of Negotiators and member, AGN Finance Co-ordination Committee). Website: www.cismenigeria.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org