The day started with the opening plenary of the APA, the newborn of the (vast) UNFCCC acronym family, referring to the Ad Hoc working group on the Paris Agreement.
The feelings expressed during yesterday’s opening meeting were reiterated: the urgency of climate action, the need for increased ambition and the integration of principles of social justice to the process.
Equity, transparency, securing finance and an early entry into force of the Agreement were the brought up again as the main issues to be dealt with in order to bring the negotiations forward.
Overall, the morning session went smoothly, punctuated by cheers to welcome the latest member of the UNFCCC, Palestine, and a critical intervention by Venezuela, speaking on behalf of countries belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America. In this intervention, the speaker attacked the Paris Agreement for being “insufficient”, “based on the lowest common denominator” and promoting a market-based approach.
Another highlight of the day came with the election of Sarah Baashan from Saudi Arabia and Jo Tyndall from New Zealand as co-chairs of the APA. The choice of two women was saluted by Ségolène Royal, French Special Ambassador Laurence Tubiana and numerous speakers.
They join a growing list of women taking the lead in climate action, including executive secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, her appointed successor Patricia Espinosa, Mary Robinson, Royal and Tubiana among others.
Their election was an opportunity for member states and civil society organisations such as the Women’s Environment and Development Group to stress the need for gender responsive climate policy. The place women occupy in the negotiations and in climate action was also the topic our tracker focused on today, and you can find more stories on this at our Facebook page.
Negotiations stalled later during the day, when negotiators were unable to agree on an Agenda, due to amendments submitted by the G77 and China group. The discord is said to come from the differing positions of states on the issues of mitigation-adaptation balance and long term solutions. This situation is due to be resolved shortly, however, and negotiations should soon resume after this setback.