UN climate negotiators outline priorities for Lima

RTCC asks negotiators from France, Russia, Bangladesh and beyond what next week’s UN climate conference should deliver

Negotiators meet for one of their many intersessional climate talks in Bonn (Pic: Ministerio del Ambiente/Flickr)

Negotiators meet for one of their many intersessional climate talks in Bonn (Pic: Ministerio del Ambiente/Flickr)

By Sophie Yeo

For two weeks, negotiators from around the world will engage in intense climate diplomacy in Lima, laying the groundwork for when ministers jet in for the final showdown. 

We asked diplomats from Switzerland, Russia, Ecuador, Seychelles, Bangladesh, Chile and France what would be on their agenda as they work towards the UN climate treaty that is slated to cut carbon emissions and keep the world on track to avoiding dangerous global warming.


Franz Perrez, Switzerland

We see the process as following the four C’s.

The first C would be “clarification”, so that we understand what the specific mitigation targets are, and commitments or intended contributions on mitigation, and understanding with regard to emissions: how much emissions can we expect afterwards? Also with regard to the effort that is behind these numbers.

The second C would be to “compile”, or aggregate these different mitigation targets.

The third C would be to “compare” it with what is needed to be on track with a 2C objective.

The fourth C would be a process of “cooperation”, to close the remaining gap through international cooperation. This means for us it is also important that these intended nationally determined mitigation contributions are unconditional, that these are contributions that parties are willing to take independently of support they’re receiving, because support will then be the cooperative tool to close the remaining gap.

Oleg Shamanov, Russia

Last year I called Warsaw Conference a barometer of a new agreement. This qualifier is even more relevant with regard to the forthcoming conference. Unless we deliver a concise draft negotiating text in Lima with the supporting set of enabling decisions — on INDC [intended nationally determined contributions] first and foremost – we are sunk in Paris.

Unfortunately, the approaches to how the climate challenge should be tackled remain diverse if not polarized. In Lima we must seize the opportunity and accelerate the work towards consolidating efforts of both developed and developing countries.

Our goal is a solid foundation of an equitable, long-standing climate solution which is prudent in all concerns: scientific, environmental, economic and political. It is paramount that a new instrument be legally binding and set commitments not only for developed countries, but also measures to be taken by developing ones.

One of the important prerequisites for success in Paris – which is often omitted – is to guarantee that the negotiations will be conducted as per UN legal standards and in strict compliance with the procedural provisions of the UNFCCC, including the “six month rule”. The recent practice of holding negotiations under almost force-majeure circumstances hampers the development of viable solutions.

Daniel Ortega, Ecuador

We are cautiously optimistic on Lima’s outcome. We trust Peru will drive discussions to deliver a draft agreement text for Paris that works for the most vulnerable people and Nature grounded in a rights-based approach.

There is no doubt that Lima will be a finance COP. Not only for finally starting the flows of public funds to the GCF [Green Climate Fund], but because it has to deliver a clear road map on how information regarding financing commitment will be disbursed by 2020.

Lima will be also the political arena for establishing an integrated MRV [monitoring, reporting and verification] for the finance-action nexus in a way that enables a real and rapid transition to a clean energy global matrix.

Ronny Jumeau, Seychelles

As important a signal as the recent joint announcement by the world’s two biggest emitters, the US and China, is, especially to other major emitters, developed and developing, and even more so to those who have been backsliding, the truth is we should be guided more by the World Bank’s latest “Turn Down the Heat” report as we go into Lima.  This clearly shows that the numbers are still far from adding up.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim’s statement that “global leaders will need to take difficult decisions that will require, in some instances, short term sacrifice…” validates AOSIS’ [Alliance of Small Island States] continued focus in Lima on strengthening the solutions-oriented Workstream 2 [pre-2020 climate action] to do as much as we can now to tackle climate change, while continuing to press upon parties, with the US and China setting the example by being significantly bolder in their ambition than what they have announced.

On financing, while it looks like the Green Climate Fund could hit the US$10 billion mark in Lima, AOSIS ministers meeting in Seychelles on November 11-12, called on the GCF pledging conference in Berlin to provide at least US$15 billion in initial funding.

Quamrul Chowdhury, Bangladesh

Lima COP 20 must set foundations for the Paris Treaty. Ministers must draft a text with narratives on elements of the 2015 agreement, including long term global goals of phasing out all fossil fuel emissions with an early peaking period and to phase in a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all, as early as possible, but not later than 2050.

Lima COP should agree to collectively draw up a global climate finance roadmap towards 2020 that will include information on the scaling up of public finance through to 2020, types and instruments of finance to be deployed, and channels, sources and sectoral distribution between adaptation and mitigation, to help ensure predictable and ramped up finance and intermediate milestones.

Ministers must reflect on more sustainable funding sources for the Adaptation Fund. Developed countries should use Lima to pledge at least $2 billion to the LDC Fund and $2 billion for adaptation fund.

Lima must adopt a robust two- year work plan for the Warsaw International Loss and Damage Mechanism and elect new executive committee with adequate representation from LDCs and other most vulnerable countries.

Andres Pirazzoli, Chile

In a nutshell, this is what I see should be key Lima outcomes:

1) a decision on upfront information for mitigation contributions, and a process for the communication and subsequent assessment of those mitigation contributions;

2) the key elements of a draft negotiating text for the 2015 agreement;

3) a sufficient initial capitalization of the GCF, as a political key to unlock a successful COP21 in Paris; and

4)  a decision to close as quickly as possible the gap in the pre-2020 level of mitigation ambition, as depicted by IPCC in AR5 and the latest available science (gap report).

Paul Watkinson, France

Lima will be a rather strange COP for the French delegation – we still have one year until Paris – but only one year! – and we are very conscious of the clock ticking down.

That means that our role is evolving. We are no longer just an EU member state (I myself took off my EU negotiator hat in Warsaw after five years) but already preparing for our future presidency around our ambassador Laurence Tubiana and our ministerial team of Laurent Fabius, Ségolène Royal and Annick Girardin.

So Lima will be a chance to test our organisation – and we have a great and enthusiastic expert team – as well as the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the interests and needs of all of our partners.

At the same time, we are not in the driving seat – we are just an incoming presidency – and our key role this year remains to support our good friends in the Peruvian presidency to get a successful outcome in Lima.

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