Crossroads In Climate Negotiations When Adaptation And Mitigation Meet In Bonn And Lima

Stephen Leonard

While the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hasn’t yet considered identifying linkages between adaptation and mitigation, several Parties agreed over its importance at last month’s climate conference in Bonn. The topic is likely to come up again during upcoming sessions in Bonn and at COP20 in Lima.

This article was originally published by Forests Climate Change. Click here to read the original.


11 August 2014 | The June round of climate negotiations commenced with wide recognition amongst Parties of the need for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to be accelerating negotiations based on the outcomes of the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this year.

This session was the last opportunity for Parties to meet before the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit, to be held in New York in September the first time world leaders have met on the issue since the failed 2009 Copenhagen Conference. High expectations for finance announcements are expected from this meeting.

The June meeting of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SBs) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) occurred against the backdrop of the announcement by US President Barak Obama of a 30% reduction in power plant emissions by 2030 and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) completion of the essential elements required for the full operationalization of the fund.

Ministerial meetings took place, from which Parties hoped to gain insights. Emphasis was largely placed on disappointment over lack of ratifications of the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to enable the second commitment period, a stagnation in developed country ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ongoing lack of financial commitments. Many countries spoke of national processes underway for ratification to occur, however no major announcements were made.

The host country for the UNFCCC 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) Peru made their presence known. With much support from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), at every opportunity Peru reminded Parties of the urgency to act and set down high expectations for the meeting to be held in December in Lima. The incoming COP President, Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal made it clear that he hoped decisions in Lima will be made concerning pre-2020 mitigation, REDD+, GCF capitalisation, intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and a draft text for a new climate agreement.

It could be said that the substantive negotiations have commenced. Points of divergence and convergence are beginning to crystallize, which may enable the Parties to undertake their work to reach a durable and future proof agreement.

The emergence of synergies between adaptation and mitigation

During the Bonn session, it seemed that Parties became more accepting of the synergies and linkages between mitigation and adaptation. The recently released IPCC’s 5th Assessment report identifies that policies governing land use and REDD+ are more effective when both mitigation and adaptation are involved and that REDD+, primarily regarded as a mitigation framework, also has adaptation co-benefits.

During adaptation discussions in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), several Parties recognized the link between these two normally siloed issues and the mitigation co benefits associated with adaptation actions. The issue dominated much of the REDD+ discussions concerning non-market based approaches (NMBAs) and non-carbon benefits (NCBs).

In a climate finance context, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) already recognises funding for projects that include both adaptation and mitigation. The Green Climate Fund is also identifying linkages between adaptation and mitigation in the outcomes and results areas that are currently under development. The Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) have also commenced consideration of the issue in the context of forests and finance.

However, identification as to the technical details and development of modalities concerning the relationships between mitigation and adaptation has not yet been considered within the UNFCCC. Many Parties have mentioned that such information would be useful. Some preferred that this work should be considered after 2015, whilst others suggested it as a topic for one of the upcoming Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs).

Adaptation actions can have mitigation benefits and mitigation actions can give rise to adaptation outcomes but trade-offs may arise. Further exploration and safeguarding of circumstances where mitigation actions cause mal-adaptation and adaptation actions cause emissions increases may be warranted.

ADP Enhanced pre-2020 Climate Action (Workstream 2)

There is a recognized need to address the current gap between the likely global greenhouse gas emissions based on current mitigation pledges and those actions required to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

An important development to accelerate mitigation actions occurred following the Bonn session, with the release of draft text of a pre-2020 decision that will be further negotiated in Lima. It calls on all Parties to accelerate full implementation of the decisions under the 2007 Bali Action Plan with emphasis on technology, finance and capacity building. It also expresses the urgency of ratification of the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol and calls for developed countries to ensure the initial mobilization of resources of the Green Climate Fund reaches a very significant scale.

As a part of this process, a series of Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) are being held. These intend to provide Parties with insights, experiences from the ground, examples of success stories, and challenges for scaling up of mitigation actions before 2020. During the June session, a TEM on Land Use was held with expert panellists from civil society organisations, intergovernmental organisations and country delegates.

The major conclusions were that:

  • there is high mitigation potential from the forest and agricultural sectors whilst contributing to adaptation;
  • scaling up of finance, technology and capacity building is required for the sector to reach its potential;
  • success will require long term sectoral policies;
  • participatory multi-stakeholder dialogues should commence at early stages;
  • there remains a high interest in REDD+;
  • it is necessary to identify tradeoffs and safeguards against potential negative impacts on food security, rights of indigenous peoples and biodiversity.

Parties have suggested that the TEMs go beyond the technical examinations and be consolidated into concrete national and international actions and identify outcomes and technical issues that can then obtain financial support. Some seek that the TEM results should be included in a Lima COP decision as a menu of options for countries to apply.

Many Parties considered the TEMs to be a useful and successful process and have expressed a desire to see them continuing up to and beyond 2015. TEMs could also advance the ongoing workplan to enhance mitigation ambition, which will continue until the new agreement comes into effect in 2020.

ADP Workstream 1 Elements Adaptation and Mitigation

Workstream 1 of the ADP was established with a mandate to develop “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, which is to be completed no later than 2015 in order for it to be adopted and to be implemented from 2020.

It is the intention of the ADP to enhance action, which includes adaptation action. For this reason, adaptation in the ADP negotiations has increased in profile. This is also reflected by the 50 / 50 mitigation adaptation allocation of funds in the Green Climate Fund.

Parties agree that adaptation will be a critical part of a new climate agreement. Some have put it as a Human Right, to be entitled to the means to adapt.

ADP adaptation discussions in Bonn focused largely around the usefulness and ability to identify a global adaptation goal. Uncertainty remains as to how to establish a global goal for adaptation and how such a goal might be measurable. Some Parties expressed serious doubts as to this approach, whilst others consider the content of Article 2 of the Convention to be sufficient. Building resilience was raised as an area for possible further consideration on the issue and such a goal could be framed in terms of support or within the context of a temperature limitation goal together with mitigation.

Lack of adaptation finance is also a serious concern for developing country Parties. Low mitigation ambition will create higher adaptation funding requirements in an environment that some Parties already consider to be in a funding crisis. Calls have been made for adaptation support to be reflected as a legally binding commitment linked to mitigation ambition. What will be required in terms of adaptation post-2020 will depend on pre-2020 mitigation, as well as mitigation over the longer term.

National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) are considered most likely to be the entry point for adaptation support under the 2015 agreement and Parties have called for strong linkages between NAPs and the Green Climate Fund. Formulation of NAPs, technical guidelines and institutional linkages between the Adaptation Fund and other finance institutions (such as the GCF) is progressing under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). Whilst few countries have commenced the NAPs process, lack of financial support to enable implementation was a major emphasis in the discussions as was a need for greater coherence and understanding as to the implementation guidelines.

Mitigation discussions got off to a slow start Parties took issue with the lack of available space and exclusion of observers.

As was the case with adaptation, much focus was on a global goal. What form the mitigation goal will take in the new agreement remains uncertain. Options include: a temperature goal that reflects current science; an emissions reduction goal; a maximum concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere; or as a carbon budget.

There remains no agreement on this issue and questions remain as to whether developing countries should be taking economy-wide emission reduction targets to reach any such goal.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) strongly assert that the level should be adequate to protect the most vulnerable countries and should ensure limiting global average temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Many Parties maintain that all should mitigate having regard to the Convention Principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) and equity.

Parties agree that adaptation will be a critical part of a new climate agreement. Some have put it as a ‘Human Right'. Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT.

On the issues of MRV and accounting, Parties seek differentiation and flexibility as well as key elements and principles for a common system. It was suggested that the new agreement include key principles specific to the land sector. Laying out the core items, and the specifics such as accounting rules should be negotiated post-2015.

As a mechanism designed for mitigation purposes, the Warsaw Framework provides a foundation for REDD+ to be anchored in a new agreement. Science shows that mitigation opportunities exist in the context of forests as well as coastal marine ecosystems and the inclusion of both has been sought.

ADP Moving towards legal form Contributions and Compliance

Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries have legally binding commitments requiring emissions reductions. As a result of more recent negotiations and the intended universal legal application of a new climate agreement, the softer term contributions is now more commonly used. Both developed and developing country Parties are currently in the process of identifying their intended contributions related to climate change action to be taken at the national level and what those contributions mean when considered aggregately at the international level.

Parties agreed at COP 19 in Warsaw, to “initiate or intensify preparation of their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). The scope of INDCs remains unclear. Some Parties consider that INDCs relate only to mitigation contributions whereas others understand the notion to relate to adaptation, capacity building, technology transfer and financial support. In Lima, it’s expected that there will be an agreement on the scope of INDCs and the types of information required for INDCs to be assessed internationally and in the context of the 2 degree goal. Against this background, much discussion focused on this issue in Bonn, with draft decision text produced following the session.

Bonn saw progress towards a broader agreement that INDCs may go beyond mitigation and include contributions related to adaptation, capacity building, technology transfer and finance. Difficulties associated with measuring adaptation contributions were highlighted consistently, particularly due to its evolutionary nature and its dependence on mitigation actions. Despite ongoing disagreement on this issue, the revised draft text includes an option for Parties to agree on this broader approach.

Due to the level of convergence related to mitigation contributions, it was asserted that there is nothing to prevent work from commencing at the national level on preparations for intended mitigation contributions. The need for financial support for preparation of INDCs was however highlighted by all developing countries.

The extent to which REDD+ will be included in INDCs remains unknown, however the draft text also includes provision for land sector contributions. This indicates potential for developing forest countries to rely on REDD+ to make their contributions. A question here emerges as to whether such REDD+ contributions may be legally binding under a new agreement. It may be argued that once a Party voluntarily participates in REDD+, certain legally binding obligations may arise.

Parties have proposed an ex-ante assessment in 2015 concerning whether INDCs put forward are sufficient to meet the 2 degree goal. There is disagreement concerning this assessment and calls have been made to include an assessment as to whether the financial commitments made are sufficient. Reviewing the adequacy of finance over time to ensure it remains sufficient was proposed as an ongoing process.

Although it remains early, there are signs emerging within the ADP of increasing cooperation amongst Parties, a decrease in technical time wasting arguments, and completion of important institutional arrangements such as the GCF.

The system of review will be linked with the INDC process. During the review discussion, the term setting a direction of travel was raised several times, as was a no backsliding requirement to enable upward adjustments of contributions over time. Although there was wide agreement to 5 year cycles in line with IPCC science, some Parties seek longer terms of 10 years. Review cycles may be linked with reporting cycles under the processes in place through International Assessment and Review (IAR) and International Consultation and Analyses (ICA).

In this context, Parties continue to emphasise the Convention Principles of CBDR-RC and many accept that, due to national circumstances, not all INDCs will be provided as expected in early 2015. The ADP Co-Chairs will be seeking completion of the decision on INDCs at the October inter-sessional so it can be put forward for recommendation to the COP in Lima.

Linked with the INDC process and post-2020 obligations is that of a new compliance mechanism to be developed in a new agreement.

A rich discussion occurred on this issue, with many Parties seeming eager to move beyond discussing elements and onto legal issues such as compliance and form. Calls were made for a legal expert team to be established to advise the Parties. Suggestions have also been made that a compliance regime may be centred around the concept of climate justice. There was no disagreement on the importance of a new compliance mechanism to be developed under the new agreement however preference was expressed for emphasis on substance rather than legal form, on the basis that the legal form will be determined by the substance and content of a new agreement.

Emerging issues related to a new compliance mechanism include facilitation, sanctions and review. It is widely accepted that compliance should strengthen implementation, and the current reporting frameworks through IAR and ICA may also assist with this.

There was wide agreement that a new compliance mechanism will build on the current rules under the Kyoto Protocol but tailor-made to a new agreement and possibly broader on the basis that the current KP compliance mechanism relates only to mitigation. The way in which a new compliance mechanism might be developed relating to adaptation and finance remains a topic for future negotiation and legal consideration. There was wide acceptance to ensure the mechanism includes a facilitative platform designed to provide assistance to Parties to meet their obligations.

One of the most important outcomes of COP20 will be the draft text of a new post 2020 climate agreement. Some have called for draft text to be produced prior to COP20.

Disagreement remains amongst Parties as to how the draft is to be prepared and whether the co chairs will prepare the text based on the submissions, text provided by other Parties, based on interventions made from the floor, or all of the above. The ADP Chairs are confident that all outputs will reflect inputs from the Parties and whilst some welcome a Chairs draft text, others do not on the basis that this would compromise the Party driven process.

The draft text discussion continues to carry with it negative experiences from the 2009 Copenhagen COP. It was mentioned that the Copenhagen experience fundamentally shook the multilateral process on climate change. Many seek to avoid the same mistakes.


The 40th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) undertook negotiations in Bonn on issues including agriculture, REDD+ non-carbon benefits (NCBs) and non-market based approaches (NMBAs). The SBSTA will consider guidance concerning REDD+ safeguards information systems at COP 20 in Lima.

Trees cocooned in spiders webs, an unexpected side effect of floods in Pakistan. The agriculture 'roadmap' will see workshops held on early warning systems and contingency plans for extreme weather events. Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

The discussions concerning agriculture took a step forward, considered to be a larger step by some more than others. An agreed roadmap was developed to progress the issue through to mid-2016. Although calls were made for a work programme to focus on mitigation and adaptation in the sector, the outcome has remained limited to the adaptation mandate.

The work programme, which includes a call for submissions from Parties and Observers, will consider:

  • development of early warning systems and contingency plans in relation to extreme weather events;
  • assessment of vulnerability and risk of agricultural systems in relation to different climate change scenarios;
  • identification of adaptation measures; and
  • identification and assessment of agricultural practices and technologies to enhance productivity in a sustainable manner, food security and resilience.

Workshops will be held on early warning systems and contingency plans in relation to extreme weather events; and vulnerability and risk of agricultural systems in relation to different climate change scenarios at SBSTA 42 (June 2015) followed by additional issues to be considered at workshops at SBSTA 44 (June 2016).

On the issue of REDD+ non carbon benefits, many parties seek to avoid international guidance and modalities instead seeking that they be identified and defined at the national level only. LDCs however continue to seek international guidance on the issue and it will be further considered at SBSTA 42 in Bonn in June 2015. Many Parties recognize the linkages between NCBs and adaptation and safeguards. (For an analysis of the NCBs outcomes in Bonn see this article written by the Center for International Environmental Law).

Non Market Based Approaches and Joint Mitigation Adaptation REDD+

An In Session Expert Meeting was held on NMBAs with high expectations that the meeting would be informative and assist Parties to reach a decision on this issue before Lima. The Warsaw Framework provides for a mix of policy approaches and sources of finance including market and non-market finance for REDD+ activities.

Many held a view that the expert workshop failed to deliver. Criticisms were raised that it became overly political without any conclusion on how to deal with NMBAs or the approach to joint mitigation adaptation (JMA) as put forward by Bolivia. Some agreed, following the workshop, that a more technical and scientific approach to the issue would be useful.

To contextualise, it is important for a more detailed understanding of the Bolivian proposal. Arising from a concern that REDD+ has become overly focused on mitigation and carbon markets, in 2012 Bolivia put forward an alternative REDD+ policy approach to the now established results-based payments system. The main point of distinction is that the proposal does not allow for carbon offsetting. The proposal involves a more general estimate of carbon sources and sinks as opposed to the high level technical accounting and MRV requirements that are established under the Convention.

The concept goes beyond forests and looks across a landscape incorporating both adaptation and mitigation. It is argued to be a more consistent approach to sustainable land use and indigenous world-views.

This alternative policy approach to REDD+ is proposed to be undertaken through two phases, namely preparation and implementation and has been put forward in both the current SBSTA discussions as well as the ADP approach to forests and land use.

The preparation phase requires evaluation of forest mitigation potential and the preparation of adaptation elements. It seeks a general understanding of mitigation potential without the need for complex inventories. For the adaptation component, it intends to link to current systems such as the NAPs. Needs assessments are undertaken to address priorities, vulnerabilities and financial needs. Finance is provided both ex ante and ex post through mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund.

The implementation phase is supported by a performance-based approach intended to have both mitigation and adaptation outcomes. It is intended that mitigation outcomes be measured through proxies and general criteria be developed to identify adaptation outcomes. The proposal seeks benchmarks rather than safeguards, on the basis that this approach is considered low risk. It is asserted that safeguards are required where there are higher risks.

In addition to the proposal presented by Bolivia, presentations were provided on NMBAs by ASEAN and the United States.

ASEAN define NMBAs as an approach that does not generate carbon credits. REDD+ readiness work is considered to be an example of where such approaches are already happening. Other examples include grants and creating enabling conditions. ASEAN agree that there is a need for greater clarity on joint mitigation and adaptation at the international level.

The US also provided current ongoing examples of NMBAs however did not take the view of a markets versus non-markets situation. The US consider that the approach to REDD+ should be both markets and non markets and the methodologies developed under the Warsaw Framework are designed to do this. They define market as linked to emissions reductions units in carbon markets and non-markets¢ as being everything else associated with REDD+. Alternative approaches used as examples include cancellation of foreign debt, programmes to promote forest mapping and monitoring, and enhancing broader stakeholder engagement.

Confusion reigned as Parties struggled to understand the nature of the discussion. Was it about markets, non-markets, alternative policy approaches to REDD+ and finance, or the development of methodologies concerning synergies between mitigation and adaptation, or non-carbon benefits? And how are these items linked to one another?

Discussion occurred following the presentation with queries related to the difference between phase 1 & 2 finance as non-market finance, and provision of finance to create enabling conditions for REDD+ markets. Strong views were expressed that the Warsaw Framework provides adequate guidance to enable both market and non-market based approaches and that there was no need for ongoing negotiations on the issue. Strong views were also expressed that REDD+ was finalised in Warsaw on the basis that the Bali mandate was limited to mitigation, however many agreed that NMBAs to REDD+ can strengthen adaptation measures in forests. This was echoed by a call for REDD+ funding to be spread across both the adaptation and mitigation windows of the GCF.

There was much disagreement on the way forward throughout the remainder of the Bonn negotiations. Some expressed the view that the issues of JMA and NMBAs should be de-linked and matters of synergies between mitigation and adaptation and alternative policy approaches should be considered under a new agenda item. Confusion reigned as Parties struggled to understand the nature of the discussion. Was it about markets, non-markets, alternative policy approaches to REDD+ and finance, or the development of methodologies concerning synergies between mitigation and adaptation, or non-carbon benefits? And how are these items linked to one another?

The SBSTSA Conclusions took note of the views submitted and the outcomes of the expert meeting and will further consider the matter at SBSTA41 during COP20 in Lima.

An additional issue to complicate matters was that a separate negotiation was happening related to market and non-market approaches more broadly under the Convention. Many REDD+ negotiators felt that this was the more appropriate place for the discussion that there was a need to avoid agreement on anything that could prejudge or contradict the outcome of that discussion.

A dispute has now emerged related to whether alternative policy approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests should become a new agenda item, or whether the issue can be dealt with as a part of the current agenda item 5“Methodological guidance for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+)

The discussion is likely to now move to a debate concerning agenda items and legal technicalities related to mandates at the commencement of the Lima COP20 meeting, which has the potential to take important negotiating time away from other issues including safeguards guidance.

There is an increasingly strong push for no further modalities, guidance or methodologies related to REDD+ and to avoid further negotiations. Some countries are edging closer to the implementation stage, taking measures such as the development of forest reference emissions levels (FRELs) and safeguard systems at the national level. Brazil have taken the significant step to be the first country to submit their FREL for the required technical assessment.

The other side of the argument however is that many LDCs are concerned that there is insufficient guidance and methodologies to enable them to reach phase 3 REDD+ and access results based finance. It has been asserted that the current markets focused approach to REDD+ does not benefit LDCs or SIDS, that it is overly complex and difficult to meet the requirements to access finance. It will be important to find the right balance. Whilst too much detail may create a burden or be limiting, too little may be difficult to interpret and create difficulties in meeting objectives.

The current challenges in the REDD+ negotiations are not isolated to the REDD+ SBSTA. The recent Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Subsidiary Body has recently considered issues related to REDD+ biodiversity safeguards guidance, non market based approaches and similar linkages related to adaptation and mitigation. In that forum Parties again argue that there should be no new requirements and disagreement has prevented outcomes concerning REDD+ at the CBD. The Standing Committee on Finance is undertaking its own process related to coordination and cohesion of forest finance, looking beyond markets and at the linkages between mitigation and adaptation. The GCF will develop phase 3 finance frameworks in coming months and it is expected that discussion will emerge in that forum concerning finance across the mitigation and adaptation windows of the fund and how the fund can contribute to phase 1 and 2 REDD+.

Forests and Climate Finance

A major climate finance milestone was reached in Songdo, South Korea, only weeks prior to the June meeting in Bonn, where the GCF completed its essential elements and put a resource mobilisation process in place for capitalization. The GCF Board and others hope that the fund will become a reality in Lima.

This milestone was a constant point of reference throughout the two weeks of discussions in the ADP and the Subsidiary Bodies. Many calls were made for the fund to be immediately capitalised and for developed countries to urgently scale up finance to ensure meeting the agreed target of US$100 billion by 2020. Some Parties have called for recognition of this target in the Paris Agreement.

Different views were expressed as to how this would be achieved, with some saying there should be no less than US$15 billion contributed to the GCF by 2015, with US$70 billion by 2016 rising to US$100 billion per year by 2020. The UNFCCC has called for US$10 billion by the end of 2014 while the GCF itself is making calls for US$15 billion by the end of 2014. It has been suggested that developed countries provide 1% of their GDP from 2020 onwards.

No concrete finance pledges occurred in Bonn, nor were any announcements made during the first GCF resource mobilisation meeting held in Oslo in late June. Germany has recently made a commitment of a multi-year pledge of up to 750 million with the first payment planned for 2015. There remain high expectations that more countries will be making financial pledges between now and Lima. Finance has now become one of the more critical elements that will determine the success or otherwise of COP20.

Concerns were expressed in Bonn, that current discussions in the GCF do not adequately provide finance for phase 1 and 2 REDD+. The immediate work to be undertaken by the GCF relates to a logic model for results based (phase 3) finance. Uncertainty also remains as to whether project and programme proponents will be entitled to seek access to GCF finance through both the adaptation and mitigation windows. Calls continued to be made by Parties in Bonn for a separate REDD+ window in the GCF.

The Standing Committee on Finance held a meeting immediately following the Bonn session to consider a number of items, including the mandates from Warsaw related to coherence and coordination of finance and forests, different policy approaches, ways and means to transfer payments for results-based actions, and the provision of financial resources for alternative approaches.

There was some reluctance to move the item forward due to the sensitive ongoing negotiations in the REDD+ SBSTA. Committee members sought additional time to consult with colleagues on the relevant issues and requested the Secretariat to undertake further work to inform the Standing Committee. This further information will enable decisions to focus its soonest possible forum on issues related to finance for forests as required by the Warsaw mandate, and whether the SCF requires further guidance on the issue from the COP in Lima.

It is suggested that all relevant entities currently engaged in REDD finance come together at the 2015 Standing Committee on Finance Forum, including the Global Environment Facility, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), REDD+ Partnership, UN-REDD as well as major donors engaged bilaterally. Having regard to the extent of fragmentation across forest finance, the Standing Committee on Finance will consider coordination and coherence. It intends to look beyond REDD+ across adaptation finance insofar as forests are concerned.

In addition to the above, a process was agreed in Warsaw concerning coordination of support for the implementation of activities in relation to mitigation actions in the forest sector by developing countries, including institutional arrangements. This process is intended to strengthen and enhance good practices; identify needs and gaps in coordination of support; and to share information concerning finance and enhance efficiency. The first substantive meeting as a part of this process will occur in Lima.

During the Bonn session, the first of these meetings was held. The key focus was on implementation, due to growing frustration amongst developing countries about access to REDD+ finance. The meeting, amongst Parties and observers was intended to map out a way forward for the process. Many suggested that a more interactive meeting should be held in Lima, moving away from the usual processes of negotiations around a table. Wide participation was sought including financing institutions and UNFCCC finance experts, indigenous peoples, REDD+ practitioners, private sector, civil society and multilateral donors. It is hoped that the Peruvian Government will engage with the meeting and Parties are currently undertaking the process to identify national focal points.

El Camino hacia Lima

The road to Lima: It seems highly likely that reducing emissions from forests and land use together with forests and adaptation will remain an ongoing area of negotiations for some time to come. Photo by ceetap

Although it remains early, there are signs emerging within the ADP of increasing cooperation amongst Parties, a decrease in technical time wasting arguments, and completion of important institutional arrangements such as the GCF. The scientific and political windows to put in place adequate international climate policies are rapidly closing. World-leading experts are consistently warning that now is the time to deal with climate change. The emphasis on pre-2020 ambition remains critical to this process, as efforts undertaken before 2020 will determine potential for both adaptation and mitigation post-2020.

It was unfortunate that the SBSTA was left without any substantive outcomes. New issues are emerging and although the Warsaw Framework is in place, it seems highly likely that reducing emissions from forests and land use together with forests and adaptation will remain an ongoing area of negotiations for some time to come. The resistance to guidance or modalities concerning NCBs and NMBAs may also provide some insight to the upcoming safeguards discussion to be held in Lima. The issue of NMBAs and JMA will be a major issue of contention at the commencement of the next SBSTA.

Recognition of the links between adaptation and mitigation has been argued for inclusion in the Paris Agreement and it can be expected that the discussion will be ongoing into the October ADP inter-sessional (ADP 2-6) and COP 20. Further, the non-paper released by the ADP Chairs following the session identifies Party positions on the linkages, such as defining the relationships between mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage as well as potential for institutional linkages between the two as mutually supportive notions.

The Co Chairs of the ADP have also now issued a new reflections note on progress, a draft decision on pre-2020 ambition and a draft decision on INDCs to assist Parties between now and the next ADP intercessional in October.

Several Parties mentioned that a failure in Lima will guarantee a failure in Paris. As things move forward, all Parties will need to consider whether another major climate summit failure is something that the world can afford.


Stephen Leonard is a legal practitioner and climate policy analyst.

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