Status of negotiations and CGIAR engagement in the UNFCCC COP Presidency and key negotiation tracks

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From June 3-13, delegates from 198 nations will convene in Bonn, Germany, to prepare for the 2024 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more commonly known as COP29. Serving as the midpoint to the UN Climate Change Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, this November, the Bonn Climate Change Conference aims to lay the groundwork for significant decisions to be made. Thousands will gather in Bonn headquarters to deliberate on the most urgent climate change issues.

But what exactly is the Bonn Climate Change Conference, and how does this relate to our work at CGIAR?

What is the Bonn Climate Change Conference?

During the conference approximately 6,000 individuals—mainly from national delegations and civil society groups—will meet in Bonn. These inter-sessional meetings, organized by the UNFCCC, ensure ongoing attention to critical issues between each COP. This conference is the only other regular climate summit hosted by the UNFCCC.

As an essential step before COP29, the Bonn conference provides a platform for parties to negotiate mechanisms for implementing previous COP agreements. Participants will work on language, progressing toward draft conclusions to be submitted as formal recommendations at the next COP. Intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, and representatives from youth, Indigenous groups, research, academia, and industry will also attend as observers, amongst others.

What’s on the Agenda at Bonn? The outcomes of these negotiations will heavily influence decisions made at COP29 this November. This year, key issues on the table in Bonn include climate finance, adaptation, loss and damage, non-market measures, and ensuring a just transition away from fossil fuels.

CGIAR’s Tracks of Interest

In 2024, CGIAR prioritized seven crucial tracks within the UNFCCC process. These include engaging with the COP Presidency, addressing the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) on climate finance, setting the global goal on adaptation (GGA), enhancing agriculture and food security, promoting gender equality, developing non-market approaches, and addressing loss and damage.

In recent years CGIAR has strengthened its engagement in UNFCCC processes, going for the representation of scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and submissions by individual projects, centers and scientists to a more coordinated, strategic approach, identifying opportunities for deeper involvement through the submission of evidence-based messages and recommendations on these prioritized tracks. These key messages revolve around:

  • Maintaining and Capitalizing on Gains: Building on the progress achieved from COP26 to COP28, CGIAR emphasizes the importance of keeping food systems and water high on the agenda, aligning with Harmoniya 4 Climate Resilience: Empowering Farmers, Villages and Rural Communities led by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • Agriculture as a Solution: Highlighting the potential of agriculture to offer solutions, CGIAR focuses on scaling up innovation and facilitating appropriate technology transfer.
  • Policy and fiscal Incentives and access to quality finance: Advocating for policy and financial incentives for countries and small-scale farmers, particularly in relation to carbon credit markets and nature-based solutions; and for increasing the quantity and quality of finance available to countries for water resilient agrifood system transformation, particularly for adaptation.
  • Robust Institutional Frameworks: Promoting more robust institutional frameworks and flexible financial instruments that can manage the inherent uncertainties, risks, and impacts associated with climate change. Emphasizing that climate finance should be additional and not merely repurposing existing development funds.

COP28 Presidency and the Path Forward

Azerbaijan has made strong commitments to advancing some of the key decisions made at COP29, including the UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action. In addition, Azerbaijan, the incoming presidency, has indicated a strong interest in prioritizing issues of peace and security, regional cooperation, and finance, particularly for the loss and damage fund, water-resilient agricultural systems,
Nationally Determined Contributions and
National Adaptation Plans, inclusion issues (youth) and capacity building.

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, CGIAR’s Executive Managing Director, has been nominated as one of the 24-member international advisory committee. This nomination presents CGIAR an opportunity for stronger collaboration and engagement with the COP29 presidency, including a CGIAR mission to Baku in February 2024 and planned meetings in Bonn during SB60.

Our Contributions to the UNFCCC Process

The New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance: At COP28, parties reached a New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate (NCQG) decision, which included calls for submissions ahead of three planned technical expert dialogues (TEDs 9, 10, and 11) in 2024, and meetings of the ad hoc work programme drafting the negotiation text ahead of COP29. We made submissions ahead of TED9 and TED10 and participated actively in TED9. TED10 will be held during SB60, where CGIAR will continue its active engagement, focusing on the structure of the goal, the sources of finance, and key timelines.

Global Goal on Adaptation: Countries reached a GGA Decision during COP28, which set up the two-year UAE—Belém work programme on indicators to establish which “indicators” can be used to assess how well adapted countries are in the future. In response to requests for submission under the UAE Belem work programme, CGIAR made a submission and contributed to one led by partners through IWMI.

The final text from COP28 includes language on the need for ‘transformational’ adaptation, which remains poorly defined within the UNFCCC. The Secretariat was mandated (para46) to examine and assess this definition and build on existing definitions by the IPCC and others. A workshop organized by the UNFCCC in April 2024 aimed to unpack these concepts, where CGIAR participated and shared inputs emphasizing the integration of adaptation actions with other national processes.

We will also develop a technical brief to clarify transformational and other types of adaptations, providing examples of good practice globally. CGIAR also participated in a mandated workshop on the GGA held in Bhutan in May 2024, where there was a convergence around mapping existing indicators and identifying gaps for new or improved indicators. However, there remains divergence on whether indicators should be at national or global levels, and how to coordinate an expert group(s) that will inform the work of the two-year programme.

Agriculture and Food Security : Despite the lack of consensus on the draft conclusion text during SB59 Sessions at COP28, negotiators from both developed and developing countries have shown openness to engage on agriculture and food security related issues. CGIAR through its research centres (the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, the International Livestock Research Institute, the International Water Management Institute, as well as our Climate and Gender Impact Platforms, and the Advocacy for Impact Unit), supported pre-SB60 sessions for negotiators in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This included creating spaces for more interaction among negotiators, to facilitate agreement on the way forward for the agriculture and food security agenda item of SB and sharing evidence with negotiators and to inform the choice of workshop topics.

CGIAR is also participating in The Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation. This high-ambition coalition on food, led by Norway, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Cambodia, aims to drive ambitious implementation of the food systems agenda in those countries, working across ten priority intervention areas. These range from enhancing the resilience and sustainability of food systems to improving the livelihoods of food producers and increasing affordability for consumers. The Alliance will also form a bloc of progressive nations calling for faster progress and ambition in the multilateral context, including in the way nations take forward their actions on food systems

At COP28, the UAE Presidency, FAO, the World Bank, CGIAR and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced the creation of the Agrifood Sharm-El Sheikh Support Program, a three-year program to facilitate dialogue and knowledge-sharing amongst global and regional policymakers. The program aims to drive consensus within the UNFCCC process and ultimately enable countries and regions to unlock finance and support for farmers, food producers, small agribusinesses and local communities.

CGIAR is also involved in the Technical group that is aimed at aligning the provision of technical assistance to countries for the implementation of the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.

Gender: A decision was reached at COP28, following the review of several reports focused on integrating a gender perspective into constituted bodies’ processes; and on advancing the leadership and highlighting the solutions of local communities and indigenous women in climate policy and action. The decision called on parties, UN entities, UNFCCC constituted bodies and relevant organizations to make submissions reviewing progress, challenges, gaps and priorities in implementing the gender action plan. Subsequently, the secretariat released a synthesis report on  these submissions,  which has formed the basis for three days  (3-6 June) of workshops with negotiators and relevant entities.

Kenya made it’s submission, recognizing the Gender Impact Platform for its contributions to the country’s progress toward priorities laid out in the GAP including establishing gender and climate change platforms and support to negotiators to engage in UNFCCC processes and knowledge exchange forums. This follows years of engagement between Kenya’s climate negotiators and CGIAR Gender researchers, including on mapping climate–agriculture–gender inequality hotspots. Parties agreed to request the SBI to initiate the final review of the implementation of the five-year enhanced Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan at its sixtieth session (June 2024), and to conclude the review at its sixty-first session (November 2024).

Non-market approaches: The work programme for non-market approaches (NMAs) under the Paris Agreement aims to facilitate voluntary cooperation among parties to implement their NDCs in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The initial focus areas include adaptation, resilience, and sustainability; mitigation measures to address climate change and contribute to sustainable development; and the development of clean energy sources.

Activities include identifying existing NMAs, sharing best practices, and developing tools such as a UNFCCC web-based platform for recording and exchanging information on NMAs. The programme also focuses on creating synergies and enhancing linkages among various efforts under the Paris Agreement, some of which we outlined in our submission in March 2024, which highlighted the opportunity for NMAs to can accelerate action at scale for climate-resilient low emissions food systems and sustainable agricultural consumption and production.

Following the submission, CGIAR’s Eliza Villarino was invited as a speaker at the in-session workshop on NMAs during SB60.

Loss and Damage: At COP27, Parties agreed to provide loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by floods, droughts and other climate disasters, followed by commitments for funding of over USD700m at COP28. The first meeting of the Board of the loss and damage fund met at the end of April/ early May 2024, where the Board expressed its commitment to be agile, responsive, innovative and flexible in its operations. In Bonn, the talks continue to focus on the co-facilitators hearing from parties and observers on good practice, lessons, recommendations and some of the unanswered questions when it comes to loss and damage; and on the negotiation text regarding the terms of reference for the 2024 review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts

CGIAR will develop a technical brief looking at how science can be deployed to inform the loss and damage fund, how to ensure sufficient focus is given to food systems issues and what kind of evidence will be helpful to the loss and damage fund board in its discussions and decision-making processes.

Just Transitions: At the national level, just transition and economic diversification policies need to be comprehensive, inclusive, based on social dialogue and stakeholder engagement and integrated into national climate action plans, to avoid exacerbating inequality. At the international level, in addition to opportunities, it is important to consider challenges, barriers and inequalities to ensure that no one is left behind. In the case of food systems, countries are encouraged to explore options for a balance in achieving food security while keeping emissions to a minimum; and in moving away from energy-intensive, industrialized and chemical-heavy approaches to more climate-resilient approaches, including agroecological practices, reduced food lost and waste, responsible consumption, and reducing environmental tradeoffs in processing, transport and marketing approaches.

In the climate talks, there is agreement around principles, including inclusion, more action-oriented agreements, the need for science to inform action and additional and iterative capacity building in emerging climate resilience contexts. However, developing countries continue to stress the need for the work programme to help enhance understanding of just transition pathways and actions to facilitate climate action, share knowledge and best practices, assist Parties in formulating and implementing policies and help unlock international public and private sector means of implementation and support for several sectors, including agriculture.

What are our expectations from the UNFCCC negotiations?

The 2023 Global stock take showed that despite the progress made so far in several sectors, including food, land and water systems, we are not on track to achieving long term climate goals. We hope that Parties will make progress in agreeing on text that can be negotiated and agreed on at COP29, especially on the modalities and subsequent  of the UAE-Belem work programme on indicators; the structure, sources and timeframes of climate finance under the NCQG; the terms of reference for the review of the loss and damage mechanism, a new and improved Gender Action Plan and progress towards clarity on how parties can contribute to the 2nd global stocktake.

 

Lead author: Emma Bowa, CGIAR Climate Impact Platform

Contributing authors: Lucy Njuguna (Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT), Pedro Chilambe (Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT), Vivian Atakos (CGIAR Gender Platform), James Stapleton (CGIAR Advocacy for Impact), Chiara Villani (Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT), Chiara Colombo (International Water Management Institute), Roula Majdalani (The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas), Regina Edward-Uwadiale (CGIAR Climate Impact Platform), Aditi Mukherji (Climate Climate Impact Platform)

 

 

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