On 11th November 2018, the Special Envoy of Climate Change for Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Artur Lorkowski, visited Malaysia. The Special Envoy frequently travel and meet with government officials, business leaders, and civil society members of the various member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement and discuss opportunities for leadership and the implementation of the Paris Agreement as well as the importance of climate action and clean energy cooperation. Artur is also a member of the Polish presidency for this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) being held in Katowice, Poland.
Given the opportunity to meet with the Special Envoy, the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) was allowed to glean some insight into this year’s COP. The three big features for this year’s COP is the Global Stocktake, the outcomeof the Talanoa Dialogue, and the Katowice Rulebook (or commonly known as the Paris Rulebook).
This year’s Katowice Climate Change Conference prepares for the initial stocktaking exercise via the Talanoa Dialogue. The Talanoa Dialogue is a process meant to facilitate dialogues between various group in relation to the implementation and enhancement of the Paris Agreement. The Talanoa Dialogue differs from other negotiations because of its inclusive nature; non-governmental groups such as businesses and civil society organizations are allowed to participate on a level platform with other governmental bodies. It provides a platform for Parties to reflect on national climate commitments to ratchet up ambitions for enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submissions in 2020. This is to prepare for the full global stocktake in 2023.
The Katowice Rulebook is essentially the outcome of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), and is meant to be the finalization and implementation of all of these ideas and more since the Paris Agreement came into effect in 2016. These would include topics such as how to get member countries to adapt to a new low-carbon economy, how to mitigate the effects of climate change, sustainable development mechanisms, adoption mechanisms, transparency frameworks, and so on. This is the first meeting where we heard the coined term “Katowice Rulebook” – which is something that we are anticipating to be mainstreamed in the next couple of weeks.
Artur commented that the Talanoa Dialogue is especially important to climate negotiations for three inter-related reasons: they provide disenfranchised and vulnerable groups a platform to voice their concerns and ideas, it eases the entry barrier into climate action discussions for non-governmental organizations, and they allow every party – governmental or otherwise – to express their ambitions and gauge each other to determine individual and collective goals.
Artur also commented that the most important factor about related to NDCs, implementation, and adaptation that is increasingly being recognize is the transition process. This can be seen in some countries’ recognition of its importance by the renaming of their ministries to emphasize that particular aspect e.g. The renaming of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition in 2018.
He emphasizes on the transition process because a reduction of carbon emissions while maintaining the current economic and social models is not viable for long-term sustainability. This is because without a model that incorporates a new model that takes into account long-term social and economic sustainability, more people will become disenfranchised, and the disenfranchised are the least likely to be heard, most vulnerable to climate change, and most likely to be left out of this new world.
While ambitions are set high for this year’s COP, the preceding intersessionals from the between this COP and the last COP show little signs of progress. This however does not mean change will have to come slow. If anything, with the amount of effort placed to include all stakeholders, now is the time for cautious optimism and engagement for everyone involved.
Written by M.O. Denney
Edited by Jasmin Irisha