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4 Key Steps To Implementing The Paris Agreement

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CLIMATE CHANGE
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Written by Deborah Glaser, BCCIC's Senior Policy Analyst direct from Marrakech, Morocco where she is representing BCCIC at the COP 22 climate change conference from Nov 9-16.

On Thursday I arrived at the Action COP. That's the name COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco earned as the meeting to follow the historic passing of the Paris Agreement and its entry into force earlier this month on November 4th. The focus of the week is on developing an implementation plan for achieving the bold 1.5°C target threshold for global temperature rise that was agreed upon at COP 21.

Spirits seem high, despite some uncertainty from a politically rocky couple of days. Any ability to achieve these goals, however, will depend on the rules, guidelines and processes adopted by the newly created Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), made up of all the Parties that adopted the Paris Agreement last year, that will be meeting here in Marrakech. To make a real change, this group will need to start working toward concrete action on mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building, and finance.

Here are just a few of the key areas BCCIC is keeping an eye on while in Marrakech to measure progress:

1. Provide Guidance for Countries to Increase their Ambition

One of the key pieces of the Paris Agreement is the dynamic ambition mechanism, which establishes a methodology for countries to increase their ambition, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in a way that is responsive to changing science, technology, and economic opportunities. Every five years, the world will conduct a "Global Stocktake" of its implementation and collective progress toward emissions reductions. Countries will then be able to submit updated NDCs in an effort to adapt to a changing landscape and achieve the long-term goals of the Agreement.

In a triumph for pre-2020 action, the first "Global Stocktake" will take place in 2018, where a "facilitative dialogue" will hope to expand on the NDCs that countries brought to Paris. However, determining exactly how this process will take place, what the inputs will be to monitor progress toward the Agreement's goals, and the outputs that will inform Parties' future actions are still to be decided and that is work that the APA must accomplish during this COP.

2. Recognizing Adaptation

To be clear, the Paris Agreement went a long way in placing adaptation at the same level as mitigation. An Adaptation Committee was formed and the Agreement established a long-term adaptation goal alongside a long-term mitigation goal. Now, however, that Adaptation Committee must develop a process for assessing developing nations' needs and accounting for their efforts. This includes measuring the impact of loss and damage, or the unavoidable impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events, on a country's ability to adapt.

What kind of methodology will the Parties develop to institutionalize loss and damage accounting? And how will they balance overall climate finance between adaptation and mitigation? Will there be more support for funds that place an emphasis on adaptation, including the Least Developed Countries Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund? All this discussion of adaptation financing brings me to my next point....

3. Climate Finance

Achieving any of these goals requires funding. Collective global support of the Paris Agreement sent the signal that both public and private finance would be needed in the move toward a low-carbon and resilient world. In this vein, developed countries have released a roadmap to support their commitment to mobilize $100 billion by 2020 to support developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

It is still unclear how Canada's commitment of $2.65 billion will be allocated, and BCCIC will be encouraging the government to ensure that this funding will be NEW and ADDITIONAL financing separate from the ODA and focused on countries of climate vulnerability. Furthermore, we'll be pushing Canada to contribute more in line with its fair share, which would bring the country's contribution closer to $4 billion a year by 2020 (a three per cent to four per cent contribution).

4. Whole of Government/Multi-stakeholder approach

BCCIC has long encouraged a whole of government and multi-stakeholder approach to tackling the world's most pressing issues. Any future action on climate change should continue to build on the unprecedented collaborative process that marked COP 21 and the Paris Agreement as such a global turning point for collective climate action. This means not just working with the representatives from the developed and developing worlds, but across the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, and with the invisible mosaic of Canadian civil society and other non-state actors.

It also means beginning to look at British Columbia as an equal partner in achieving these goals. With Canada signing on to a global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to recognize that many of the natural resources that come into play in the fight against climate change -- from our temperate coastal rainforests to our rivers and lakes -- are at home in this province. If we want to know what B.C. is doing to contribute its fair share toward achieving its Paris Agreement commitments, we need to work with the provincial government that has jurisdiction over managing these resources. We need to work together in developing subnational plans to get us to our sustainable development and climate action goals.

Deborah Glaser is the Senior Policy Analyst at the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) and Founding Secretary of the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium (MC-4), an international network for building resiliency to climate change among cities in the five Mediterranean-climate regions.

Follow @BCCIC on Twitter for live updates direct from Morocco.

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