The responsibility of developed countries to provide finance for mitigation and adaptation to developing countries cannot be shifted to the private sector or to multilateral development banks, said Pacheco.

“Proposal to discuss Article 2.1 ​(c) dilutes developed countries’ historical responsibility to provide finance”

CarbonCopy speaks to Diego Pacheco, head of the Bolivian delegation to the UNFCCC and spokesperson for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) on contentious proposals that will come up for discussion during the second week of COP27

COP27 is now officially at its midway point. Following a week of hectic technical negotiations in the first week, Sharm el Sheikh prepares to host the political leg of the conference in the second week. Talks will see political deliberations on contentious proposals such as funding for loss and damage and aligning financial flows with a 1.5°c pathway. 

CarbonCopy spoke to Diego Pacheco, head of the Bolivian delegation to the UNFCCC and spokesperson for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) for a better understanding of the agenda-related negotiation processes. The group comprises China, India, Brazil, Bolivia, Pakistan, Cuba etc. 

For the first time, loss and damage has been included as part of the finance agenda. Although there are footnotes attached to this agenda item and the COP27 presidency added a clarificatory statement that the outcomes attached to the loss and damage agenda are “based on cooperation and facilitation and do not involve liability or compensation.” Your comments in light of the G-77 proposal that sought funding arrangements for loss and damage? What was the negotiation process like for the LMDC?

The agenda item has a lot of qualifiers and these discussions will continue up to ministerial discussions during the second week [of COP27]. The references to solidarity and international cooperation do not reflect principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities. The LDMC’s position on loss and damage is to support the G-77 position, which is to have a loss and damage financing facility. Recently, New Zealand committed some funding, but we don’t know what kind of institutional arrangements exist to channel the money to developing states. 

There was a submission by Zambia, on behalf of the African Group of Negotiators, to double adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025. What happened to this? In the statement by LMDCs just before COP27 too, there was an emphasis on addressing finance gaps between mitigation and adaptation.

The decision was to have informal consultations, including for discussing ‘special needs and special circumstances of Africa.’ And yes, adaptation finance is a key issue for the LMDCs also.

There were two other contentious proposals. One was the proposal by France on behalf of the European Union and its member states, and by Switzerland on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG) to discuss Article 2.1 ​(c) of the Paris Agreement. And the other was the proposal by Switzerland on behalf of the EIG to discuss the 1.5°C limit. Can you explain why some developing countries were opposed to these? 

The proposal on Article 2.1 ​(c) is a way to dilute historical responsibilities developed countries have under the Convention to provide finance to developing countries. There are also discussions ongoing at the Standing Committee on Finance on Article 2.1 ​(c) and we don’t want to create a parallel track. So the LMDC’s position is to not discuss the agenda item. And to only articulate Article 2.1 (c) alongside Article 9, which says developed countries will provide finance for mitigation and adaptation to developing countries. This responsibility cannot be shifted to the private sector or to multilateral development banks. 

Regarding the proposal on 1.5° C, it takes one piece of the Paris Agreement and provides a completely different context to what we have already agreed to under Article 2. It is a serious issue because we are in the implementation phase of the Paris Agreement and we cannot go picking and choosing only some parts of the agreement. The principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities is very important in the operationalisation of mitigation action. But in such proposals by the EIG—both 2.1 (c) and 1.5° C—there is no place for equity. 

Note: Article 2.1 (c) deals with making finance flows consistent with low-emission pathways and climate-resilient development. On the other hand, the Article as a whole speaks of developmental goals like “aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty…” and of climate adaptation needs, opposed to mitigation alone. 

In 2019, just before the pandemic, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to provide technological support for countries in fulfilling obligations under the Paris Agreement. Does CTCN now assume special importance after the experience with COVID vaccine distribution? What is the LMDC hoping to achieve on this front?

In the context of implementation of the Convention, we don’t have signals that these structures are providing technological help to developing countries. Developed countries have to also provide finance to address the technological needs of developing countries, but we have only seen discussions and reflections on this topic and nothing practical and operational. [During COVID], developed countries did not provide real solutions to developing countries. So there are concerns. 

India has proposed that the carbon budget be considered as global commons in the framing of the mitigation work programme. Is this stand also supported by the LMDC? And what would the LMDC be looking to achieve (and avoid) in the MWP negotiations?

On the mitigation work programme, the LMDC position is that it should only be a platform for information and knowledge sharing. The programme should conclude within a year by giving inputs to the Global Stocktake process. And one of the topics to be discussed under the work programme is the equitable distribution of the carbon budget, which the LMDC supports. We have also proposed discussions on Just Transition, finance and technology transfer and pre-2020 commitments of developed countries as part of the work programme.

There are rumours that if negotiations on non-market approaches to Article 6 do not move forward, some countries might walk out of discussions on Article 6.4. Is this true? If yes, which countries/ groups? 

The discussions on Article 6.8 are moving very slowly. Some developed countries like the US, Canada and the European Union don’t want to see progress on this item. But let’s see what happens. Negotiations are still going on and let’s see how Parties react to outcomes on Article 6.8.