Joint Ministerial Statement by Ministers Grace Fu and Espen Barth Eide at Kickoff Meeting for Expert-level Technical Discussions at COP26 on 8 November 2021
Singapore - Minister Grace Fu:
1 Your Excellencies, Colleagues and friends,
2 We would like to introduce ourselves to you. I am Grace Fu, the Minister of Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore.
Norway - Minister Espen Barth Eide:
3 I am Espen Barth Eide, the Minister of Climate and the Environment of Norway.
Singapore - Minister Grace Fu:
4 As you will know, COP26 Minister Sharma has asked Singapore and Norway to continue ministerial consultations on Article 6 during this week. He has also asked Mr Tosi Mpanu Mpanu to support some extra technical work on Monday and Tuesday. We would like to set out the process over the course of the next two days. After Tuesday night, we will review the state of affairs.
5 There will be two tracks within Article 6: the ministerial and the technical tracks. The ministerial track will focus on the three issues: one, how to avoid the double claiming of emissions reductions generated outside of the scope of host Party NDCs, through the Article 6.4 mechanism; two, the use of units generated before 2020 to meet NDC targets; and, three, how activity under both Articles 6.2 and 6.4 can generate predictable finance to support adaptation action.
6 We heard from our experts on the significant progress made over the past week on the draft decision texts handed over by the SBSTA chair, and also across other tracks. We think that Parties are progressing in the right direction and real progress has been made. During the ministerial consultations, we need to bridge the gap on the crunch issues– the three we know and other issues that are part of the Article 6 package.
7 Friends, we all in this room and beyond know that we all care very much to produce Article 6 rules that are ambitious, inclusive and enable meaningful action at scale. It is clear how much we care because we have collectively decided twice that we needed more time to get Article 6 right. The collective mood last week seems to us to indicate that we have now become more comfortable with how to deliver good quality and inclusive instruments. The technical discussion matured quickly last week. The opportunity to continue maturing and resolving is here for us now this week on the bigger issues. We are here to do that with the Ministers and Heads of Delegations. This work, perhaps more than some other issues in climate process needs the real -world context if it is to make any sense at all. The outside world, particularly its recent evolutions in finance delivery, updated NDCs, and a global business community seeking to take responsibility for its own emissions, has given us a change of scene.
8 Article 6 is the last unresolved issue under the Paris Agreement Work Programme. It has been long due. Article 6 is about voluntary international cooperation. While we have unfinished business on NDCs and ambition, on adaptation and finance, and these are critical elements for a good outcome at COP-26, we have to make progress on the "rule book" of the Paris Agreement. Article 6 is an important part of the rule book, along with enhanced transparency framework. We need to agree on the rules, as the world is expecting us to do so, our people are expecting us to do so, and our businesses are expecting us to do so.
9 Looking further ahead, in an increasingly carbon-constrained future, cooperation under Article 6 will become more relevant as we collectively pursue the 1.5oC pathway, in order to encourage Parties to raise their ambition further. Concerns have also been raised that the markets are moving on without an agreement on Article 6, and there is a need for robust rules that safeguard environmental integrity. We have to show the world that we, collectively, are able to make multilateral cooperation work. If we don't, we may risk losing relevance. The world is watching us. We must not fail in this task here in Glasgow.
10 Colleagues, we are here to facilitate. We want to help Parties to seize this window of opportunity, and bring Article 6 into implementation in order to help provide the guide and the catalyst for real world action. Our sense – from our intersessional work, as well as the progress last week – is that the time is now ripe for Article 6. Working together we can deliver a successful outcome here in Glasgow.
11 I will now hand over to Minister Barth Eide, who will explain the process for our upcoming work. Minister Barth Eide please.
Norway - Minister Barth Eide:
12 Thank you, Minister Fu.
13 Over the next two days, Minister Fu and I will be meeting with negotiating groups and where needed with particular Parties to find common ground and bridging solutions across all three issues and other issues that require engagement at the ministerial level in relation to Article 6, in order to work with the Presidency to propose a balanced package that can command consensus. The secretariat will be sending invitations for slots, please show as much flexibility as possible to enable us to meet all groups as soon as possible.
14 For the Ministerial consultations this week, we would urge Ministers, to work together to resolve our differences and find common ground to arrive at an outcome. And we would suggest that we come to the negotiation with 2 common understandings.
First, keep our discussion on what Art 6 is intended to do: to promote voluntary international cooperation in the implementation of NDCs to raise mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity. While there are inter-linkages between Art 6 and other parts of the PA, and I fully appreciate the importance of these inter-linkages, I will be urging colleagues to focus on Art 6, and not hold Art 6 as a consequence of other areas that it is not meant to address. And if there are trade-offs in the other areas, I will appreciate if you can state what these trade-offs are. And how you might be prepared to trade-offs in order to protect your priorities.
We should start our discussion from where we left off at Madrid and not reopen issues that have been agreed upon previously. And we appeal to you to make movements towards a common landing zone.
15 As co-facilitators, we will do our best to facilitate our discussions this week. We will try to identify the inter-linkages and to keep them to a minimum. We seek your support to engage in constructive discussion and to take steps towards agreement on key issues. We are deeply aware that this is a Party-driven process, and ultimately, the solutions on any eventual deal must come from Parties.
16 As informed by the Presidency earlier this morning, there will be informal meetings organized by the SBSTA Chair and his co-facilitators from last week, at the expert-level on a very limited set of outstanding technical issues. In a moment, Mr Tosi Mpanu Mpanu will take over from us and explain that technical plan. This work will take place concurrently to the ministerial consultations on the three political issues. The Presidency has asked that a revised text be issued on late Tuesday, after the conclusion of this first round of ministerial consultations, as well as the further technical work to be facilitated by the SBSTA Chair at the expert-level.
17 Colleagues, the COP President has impressed on us the importance of furthering our work at pace. We must use the time today and tomorrow. The technical exchanges during the intersessional period, as well as work undertaken last week, gives us confidence that all Parties are ready to engage in the work needed at pace, and in the same spirit of candour and compromise.