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OPEC lauds UNFCCC over Paris Agreement

Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, has congratulated Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on the entering into force of the Paris Agreement, as well as the effective support provided by the UNFCCC secretariat in the process.

Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo
Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo

Mr Barkindo, a Nigerian, made the submission last Friday in Bonn, Germany during a visit to the UNFCCC secretariat. He described the successful implementation of the Agreement as a priority for OPEC, adding that OPEC Member Countries have been involved in climate change negotiations and the implementation of the Convention since its inception process.

During the visit, which was aimed at enhancing cooperation between the UNFCCC and OPEC and exchange views on recent developments, Mr Barkindo and Ms Espinosa, along with senior delegations from both organisations, discussed the importance of enhancing cooperation between the UNFCCC and OPEC, especially on matters related to climate change, sustainable development and economic diversification.

The meeting, which took place just a few days after the Paris Agreement reached the threshold for entry into force on 5 October 2016, builds on the ongoing involvement of OPEC in climate change negotiations and the active participation of its Member Countries.

The UNFCCC secretariat shared information regarding a high level event on sustainable economic transition and economic diversification to be organised by the Moroccan Presidency during COP22. The event is expected to be attended by Ministers and heads of delegations and targets raising awareness of the importance of economic diversification and transformation in relation to the impact of the implementation of mitigation measures and how that is linked to sustainable development for many developing countries.

The leaders agreed that enhancement of cooperation between the two organisations is beneficial, particularly since the OPEC Secretariat is an intergovernmental organisation representing 14 developing countries, all of which are also Parties to the UNFCCC. Such teamwork enhances input from developing countries in the implementation of both the Convention and the Paris Agreement, it was gathered.

The importance of inclusiveness and participation by all Parties in implementing the Paris Agreement was emphasised during the meeting, taking into account that sustainable development and poverty alleviation are high priorities for all.

The key role of oil in economic development and the right of developing countries to develop was stressed. In this regard, the OPEC efforts towards sustainable market stability were recognised as a contribution to a healthy global economy and helping implementation of the Convention and the Paris Agreement and the transition to a low emission economy.

Both secretariats acknowledged that economic diversification is an important objective for building economic resilience and agreed to explore all available capacities which can assist OPEC Member Countries in diversifying their economies and achieving just transition of work force.

The Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016. As a result of this, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP22/CMP12. Other important consequences of the above include the transformation of Parties’ INDCs into Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, which oblige governments to take action to contribute to achieving the temperature goals enshrined in the Agreement. Additionally, negotiations to develop the Paris Agreement’s implementation rule book are to be completed as soon as possible.

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