Can the SBI/SBSTA/AC Board receive their requested final drafts by the end of the week?

After a slow start to COP yesterday, today’s meetings were in full swing. This morning the SBI/SBSTA/AC held informal consultations on the report of the Adaptation Committee (AC). The informal meeting covered matters referred to in paragraphs 41, 42, and 45 of decision 1/CP.21, the Paris Agreement. This was the first informal consultation for SBI/SBSTA today. To begin the consultation, the co-facilitator announced that the Board of SBI/SBSTA/AC have strongly urged co-facilitators to reach final drafts for all proposed texts.

A contentious tone from one of the groups started the meeting. Being a group developing countries, the proposed language received at the informal informal did not work for them. This group even called the proposed language from a developed country a backslide from a previous textual proposal in October. The originally proposed language can be found in the APA-SBSTA-SBI.2018.Informal.Add.3 informal document Addendum 3 (Addendum 3) available on the UNFCCC website. At the beginning of the meeting, the two paragraphs at issue were 9 and 13 of Addendum 3.

Paragraph 9 was proposed as a way to strike balance between adaptation and mitigation. Paragraph 13 “encourages Parties to make available sufficient resources.” In order to understand the contention between these paragraphs, look to Articles 9.1 and 9.2 in the Paris Agreement. Article 9.1 states that “developed countries shall provide financial resources….” Article 9.2 encourages other Parties to provide voluntarily. With these two subsections in mind, here is where the separation of views in language come forth.

There was a clear divide in stances between developed countries and undeveloped countries. Developed countries stated over and over that the 9.2 language should be included in paragraph 13 of Addendum 3. Meaning that developed countries should be encouraged to “make available sufficient resources for the successful and timely implementation” of adaptation related work. On the other hand, developing countries proposed that they do not want to change Paris Agreement language and that Article 9.2 is directly related to Article 9.1. Therefore, other Parties are encouraged. This discussion was then sidetracked to discuss another paragraph. The Co-Facilitator proposed that Parties meet in an informal informal later in the evening.

The next paragraph discussed was paragraph 35. This paragraph language was significantly less contentious. One large group of developed countries was willing to work with the large group of developing countries on option 1 in paragraph 35. However, the developed countries group wanted to combine options 1 and 2. The developing countries group expressed concerns about option 1’s effectiveness if option 1 and 2 were somehow combined. Option 2 is fairly duplicative based on Adaptation Committee’s language. There was no formal agreement because of the back and forth in proposals.

The meeting ended 15 minutes early, which is unusual for informal consultations. In the leftover 15 meetings, the Parties gathered in a corner of the room to begin discussions on drafting text. This was exciting to see because it gave a glimpse on what probably happens in informal informal consultations. There was an informal informal scheduled for tonight for Parties to negotiate on the text. There will be multiple informal informals in the late hours of COP because a final decision needs to be made. The Board is pushing hard for final decisions by the end of the week. After today’s meetings, it seems optimistic that a final decision will be produced and consensus reached by the end of Saturday. But there is still four more days and plenty of time for informal informals.