APA5: Enhancing Transparency at SB48-2

Negotiations entered full swing in Bangkok in efforts to complete the guidelines for the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP). A multitude of key topics to be tabled across all subsidiary bodies for the duration of SB48-2 has been identified by the Parties. The Ad hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) turns its gaze towards producing an enhanced transparency framework (ETF) through Agenda 5 of its discussions: “Modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) for the transparency framework for action and support referred to in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement.”

With Article 13 serving as the backbone of the Paris Agreement, there is no room for Parties to falter in these discussions if we are to have an effective treaty which succeeds at holding all Parties accountable to their commitments.

The ETF seeks to streamline all Parties to adopt a common process such as providing data and tracking progress against their commitments on mitigation, adaptation, and support whilst recognising the limited capacities of certain countries (especially Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries) and allowing a degree of flexibility, with these countries improving their transparency systems over time through provisions of support in implementation from developed countries. This is the point where negotiations may potentially stagnate due to the reluctance of certain Parties to come to consensus on a common process for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), differing perspectives on commitments for support provisions towards the enhancement of transparency systems, and a floating ambiguity in the MPGs.  

Transparency is key to getting beneath the surface of Party commitments

With a need to maximise transparency whilst ensuring no Party is unduly stretched beyond its capacity, operationalising Article 13 is to perform one of the most challenging balancing acts in the world. What could go wrong? Only time will tell.

Currently, negotiations on APA5 are largely stalled by other agenda items. Much placeholder text has been put in place where information has been required from other agenda items – highlighting the importance of linkages within completing the PAWP. With negotiations on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in APA3 and SBSTA talks on Loss and Damage progressing at unequal speeds, Parties are concerned that any decision made in regards to the ETF may not be in sync with these other linked areas.

The clock is ticking and there is not only a need to speed things up but for Parties to make sure no agenda items are left behind. As civil society watches on and works to its own capacity, the onus is now not only on Parties but also the co-chairs and co-facilitators to push progress in their respective rooms. This itself is a statement to the need for collaboration and transparent communication in ensuring the success of the Paris Agreement.

Written by Daniel Teoh

Edited by Syahirah Aron

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