Five or ten? The quest for the most suitable time frame

As I rushed into the SBI informal consultation on the common time frame for Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), it is not hard to notice that the room is much emptier than the rooms that I have had been.

The crowd waiting outside of GENF for other SBI informal consultations.

The session started with the chair asking the delegates if there is any objection to allowing observers into the room. I am glad that none of them raised an objection, or else I would be really disappointed. It is also good to note that the chairs are doing their best to ensure the session is open. However, I still think that access to observers should not be a privilege handed over by the delegates depending on their opinion, but should be a norm that the UNFCCC practices.

The chair then pulled up the draft conclusion from the day before so that the delegates can continue to discuss on this. A concern was raised by the delegate of Saudi Arabia on the lack of inclusivity of the draft conclusion. He questioned the existence of the draft conclusion because there are still speakers who have not voiced their opinion from the previous speakers’ list. Since Saudi Arabia already flagged his concern, the chair decided to move into speakers’ list first then just to the discussion on the draft conclusion.

There was a general consensus on several items. The floor was generally accepting towards the application of the common time frame on parties’ NDC starting from 2030. However, the main disagreement parties had was on the period of the common time frame.

Norway explained how the 10-years’ time frame of NDC was set in its country and recognizes that other countries might have benefits of having a 5-years’ time frame. It called for flexibility in allowing all countries to submit their time frame. A side note is that Egypt stated that developing countries would need more time for assessment to decide their suitable time frame as they need to include the consideration of adaptation and mitigation in their NDCs, although Egypt did not specify their preferred proposal on the common time frame. Majority of the parties does not agree with Norway’s proposal. Most of the developing countries were pushing for a 5-years’ time frame, citing that the Paris Agreement already fixed the communication of the NDC to be every five years.

Brazil (representing Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay) highlighted that the focus of the topic should not be the 5-years or 10-years problem, but how to align everyone’s effort to ensure everyone is moving forward at the same time so that everyone is subjected to the same level of scrutiny. Singapore also raised similar proposal: to identify any mismatch between cycles and time frames. So far parties had a general agreement on the 5-years review process, even those who are pushing for a 10-years NDC time frame.

The floor then proceeded to discuss on the draft conclusion. The importance of the gap between communication and implementation of NDC was highlighted during the discussion. The general atmosphere of the session was rather collaborative as parties were rather diplomatic in raising their request. In the end, there were no major divergent on views on the issue and most parties were agreeable on the draft conclusion.

Written and Photos by Xiandi

Edited by Varun

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