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Negotiators seek to develop Paris operational guidelines as Bangkok talks open

The resumed sessions of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement opened in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 amid strong calls for progress.

Bangkok climate change conference

A view of delegates at the opening of the Bangkok climate change conference

At the resumed session, negotiators from some 190 countries will focus on developing the implementation guidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The guidelines are needed to provide guidance on how to implement the agreement and to see transparently how countries are progressing in their actions.

The opening of the session was graced with a brief addresses by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who is currently presiding over the climate change negotiations, as well as the Polish in-coming COP president, Mr. Kurtyka, who will preside over the negotiations at this year’s climate change conference – COP24 – to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.

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Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed; General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand; Mr. Kaveh Zahedi; Officer in Charge of the UN in Thailand; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, also addressed the opening.

All speakers strongly urged negotiators to step up the pace of their work and to move towards negotiating texts that capture clear options on the implementation guidelines that can swiftly be finalised and adopted in Katowice. This is crucial given the deadline that countries set for themselves to complete this work at COP24 this year, said the organisers.

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Espinosa stated that COP24 was now right around the corner. “We are working against the clock. We must now complete the heavy lifting and we must do it rapidly. UN Climate Change stands ready to assist countries,” she said.

Current COP president Bainimarama impressed upon delegates that the six-day Bangkok talks were urgent. “In these few days, we have the opportunity to put the Paris Agreement on a path from words to action,” he said.

The implementation guidelines will unlock practical actions and bring the agreement’s institutions to life. This is vital for all aspects of climate action, including:

  • enabling ambitious global and national adaptation action and emission reductions,
  • developing fair transparency and compliance arrangements, and
  • mobilising means of implementation, especially with respect to finance, to support developing country action.
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In-coming COP president Kurtyka said that non-state actors were steaming ahead and that governments had to keep up with that pace by putting in place the implementation guidelines.

He urged delegates to craft clear texts in Bangkok that they could work with at COP24.  “Clarity and a streamlined text is my request,” he said.

“These six days of additional negotiating time in Bangkok before COP24 are a golden opportunity for countries to prepare solid texts that can be finalised at COP24,” said Espinosa.

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