Climate Action Network Canada Brief: 50th session of the Subsidiary Bodies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Bonn, Germany | June 17 – 27, 2019)
June 4, 2019
2019 represents an important moment for Canada’s current and future action on climate change domestically and internationally. Domestically, Canada’s 2019 elections represent a test to see if we are able to lock-in the progress achieved since 2016, specifically on the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Clean Growth. Internationally, climate inaction from political elites represents a threat to our planet, our biodiversity, and our oceans. Science can’t be more clear. In May of 2019, the highest atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the last 10 millions years were observed, caused primarily by the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation. In Canada, scientists have warned us that our country is warming twice as fast as the global average. The impacts of this warming will affect those most vulnerable communities, particularly from Northern communities.
Canada’s 2019 climate story must be one that emphasizes the importance of not backsliding. This is particularly essential as we get closer to the United Nations Secretary General’s Summit on Climate Change, set to take place in September 2019. As we lock-in what has been achieved since 2016 in Canada, we should start a discussion about the enhancement of our NDCs in an ambitious, inclusive and transparent way. The current level of uncertainty regarding our collective ability to respond to climate urgency represents an obligation for Canada to use all international opportunities to build bridges and protect the momentum that keeps the international community working together to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
At the upcoming UN climate conference in Bonn – the 50th meeting of the subsidiary bodies to the UNFCCC (SB50) – countries will meet for the first time after COP24 to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement while they continue to consider the draft decision texts related to Article 6, where countries still need to reach consensus. If Canada wishes to take a leadership role and influence the international community to get on track towards holding the global temperature to 1.5 oC, it should:
- Encourage Parties to use each moment to recognize the climate emergency and its impacts globally and discuss actionable and rapid solutions to enhance ambition in the light of equity while at the same time increase support. No back-sliding and the implementation of new transformational policies in the light of science require an important level of trust from the international community and countries stepping up to build bridges and propose ways forward when short-sighted politics get in the way. This is Canada’s role in 2019.
- At COP24, following the adoption of the modalities, procedures, and guidelines for the enhanced transparency framework as contained in decision 18/CMA.1, it was agreed that more work is needed over the next two years to elaborate further on the reporting tables for reporting national inventories and common tabular formats for reporting progress in implementing and achieving NDCs, support provided and mobilized, and support received and needed; the outlines for the biennial transparency report, national inventory document, and technical expert review report; and the training programme for experts participating in the technical expert review. Canada should contribute to a constructive dialogue on all technical work agreed on for the next two years and promote a dialogue that builds on the TACCC principles (transparency, accountability, completeness, consistency, and comparability), ensures double counting is avoided, promotes environmental integrity and the support of improved reporting and transparency over time.
- On Common timeframes, we encourage Canada to support five-year common time frames, compared with ten-year time frames. The five-year cycle has the potential to better respond to the urgency of action outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees (SR15) and better reflect changes in technology that allow for more ambitious opportunities. Further, a five-year common time frame fits well into the cycles of the Paris Agreement—five-year cycles for the global stocktake under Article 14 and five-year cycles for the communication of NDCs.
- On the SBSTA agenda item on Matters related to science and review, Canada should use this opportunity to present its expectations regarding its contribution to the next periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of overall progress towards achieving. Building on what was achieved at COP21 and the conclusions and recommendations of the structured expert dialogue (SED), the next review must build upon the latest IPCC reports, particularly SR15. The next review should encourage the participation of state and non-state actors, increase the participation of women and encourage the participation of Indigenous and local communities. It should consider domestic information and bring together the best available knowledge not only from the scientific community but also from national information sources.
- On finance, Canada should update countries on how it intends to deliver on its CAD 2.65 billion by 2020/2021 while reaching CAD 800 mo/year in the year of 2020/2021. Canada must use this SB50 to express its support for an ambitious and successful Green Climate Fund 1st Replenishment while announcing (if not done already) that it intends to substantially increase its financial contribution to at least double its initial resource mobilization. At the upcoming SB50, Canada should continue to make constructive contributions to ensure a smooth transition for the Adaptation Fund as it begins to serve the Paris Agreement. At SB50, the discussions around membership are an opportunity for Canada to consider becoming a member of the Adaptation Fund and to providing support. Decisions, including those related to share of proceeds from Article 6 to the Adaptation Fund, should ensure sustainability and predictability of resources for the Adaptation Fund over time. Finally, Canada should play a constructive role in the negotiations around Loss and Damage. This agenda item has the potential of either blocking overall progress in the negotiations or contributing to building trust among countries as we move forward towards the adoption of the terms of reference for the 2019 review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts.
- After the successful adoption by Heads of State of the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration, countries and non-state actors have the opportunity to use SB50 as a moment to discuss the work plan for the Forum on the Impact of the Implementation of Response Measures that serves the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and most importantly the Paris Agreement. At the first meeting of the Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI), Canada should set expectations on the work ahead of KCI, as well as the modalities of the Forum and KCI and ensure the work of both bodies is ambitious, transparent and inclusive. Canada, building on the progress of the Just Transition Taskforce, has an important leadership role to play in ensuring that upcoming discussions and high-level meetings pave the way to the creation of policies that encourage fast but fair transitions, and protect workers and communities in the effort to cut emissions, enhance NDCs and hold global temperature to 1.5oC
- Indigenous leaders from Canada and Canadian negotiators played an important role in the adoption of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. The meeting of the Facilitative Working Group of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform at SB50 and the Gender Workshop represent opportunities for Canada to continue to play a leadership role to ensure the work of the Convention and the process of implementation of the Paris Agreement is transparent, ambitious and inclusive.
Executive Director, CAN-Rac
+1 902 412 8953
International Policy Analyst, CAN-Rac
+1 514 975 1592