The Paris Agreement: A focus on the Katowice Package

By Phoebe Hanson

The Katowice Package, in simple terms, lays out the procedures and mechanisms needed to make the Paris Agreement operational [1].

The package was agreed upon at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) after extensive discussions surrounding the technical aspects of the Paris Agreement.  Consequently, the package contains guidance on many key sticking points in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, described the package as something ‘all governments can be proud of’, and as key to implementing the Paris Agreement on a national level, which ‘now needs to be a priority’ [1].

Guidance on Parties’ Nationally Determined Contributions

The Katowice Package outlines the information governments should include in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This guidance is expected to be followed for the NDCs that will be submitted by 2025, though countries may choose to apply these to their 2015 and 2020 NDCs too. 

The guidelines are complex, but essentially standardise NDCs and the domestic mitigation goals described within them. The guidelines therefore ensure that countries’ NDCs can be compared with each other. Each party must describe its national circumstances in its NDC, including its governmental structure, population profile, geographical profile, economic profile, climate profile, and relevant sector details [2]. The guidance includes a plan for a public NDC registry, which is going to be based on the current interim NDC registry available online [3].

In addition to this guidance on mitigation, the Katowice Package provides a format to track information on climate adaptation priorities, needs, plans and actions via ‘adaptation communications’, through NDCs [1]. The UNFCCC Secretariat is developing an adaptation registry, similar to the NDC registry, to promote and facilitate cross-country communication about what measures have worked, which haven’t, and about the latest science and technology [3].

Importantly, the Adaptation Fund (established under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol) will, under a decision made by Parties at COP24, serve the Paris Agreement from the first day of the 2019 calendar year, enabling the financing of adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties [4].

The package also provides guidance about how to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology, which occurs under the Technology Mechanism [1]. This includes developing country Parties providing information on national circumstances that may affect the support they need; the underlying assumptions they have about the support; and the financial, technology development and transfer, capacity-building, and implementation support needed and received by the developing county Party [2]

Establishment of the Enhanced Transparency Framework 

The Katowice Package also established the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF), which sets out how countries should report their emissions to ensure transparency, and to emphasise loss and damage in developing countries due to the climate crisis [5]. The ETF was established to build trust between countries; a place where countries could see evidence that all Parties are contributing to the decarbonisation efforts.

The package provides detailed guidelines for reported information and the way that progress will be tracked: domestic actions will be reported in global tables on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, progress on NDCs, and on climate finance [1]. Through this mechanism, the most vulnerable countries to climate-related disasters can report their losses and damages for greater transparency between Parties.

In Katowice, a committee was also established to facilitate the implementation of the Paris Agreement, by consulting and engaging with Parties around their mandatory reporting of how mitigation is taking shape in their countries [5]. This committee will consist of 12 members with ‘recognised competence in relevant scientific, technical, socioeconomic or legal fields’ [2].

The enhancement of climate finance

Alongside the Adaptation Fund, the Katowice Package makes some key contributions to enhancing financial support for climate action in developing countries.

To support adaptation and mitigation, the package has facilitated pledges from developed countries to mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020 through 2025 to support developing countries, enabling climate action to become more widespread [5]. The package also drew attention to the importance of replenishing the Green Climate Fund, which was established at COP16 and supports projects in developing countries, and the Global Environment Facility, a partnership of agencies such as United Nations agencies and international NGOs to address environmental issues [6, 7]. This is particularly important as both centre around supporting developing countries to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is the goal of the ‘Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency’ (CBIT), which was created at the request of the Parties to strengthen the capacities of developing countries to meet these enhanced transparency requirements: it shows a greater focus on ensuring all Parties can participate equally in a solution to the climate crisis [8].

The Katowice Package also arranged the biennial submission of expected levels of climate finance from developed countries, which began in 2020 and are posted online. This will be compiled into an overall report this year, to inform the Global Stocktake, and every two years a high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance will be convened [1].

Global Stocktake

In 2023, and every five years after that, countries will conduct a Global Stocktake to measure the world’s progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, on the themes of mitigation, adaptation, financial flows, equity, and means of implementation and support [#]. The Katowice Package provides guidelines for the implementation of this, including reporting under the Enhanced Transparency Framework. The guidelines define a process of organising and conducting a more rigorous Global Stocktake; that ‘equity and the best available science will be considered in a Party-driven and cross-cutting manner’ during the entire process [2]. This will be done in many ways, including using the assistance of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, and engaging in a technical dialogue surrounding the Global Stocktake.

You can read our article on ‘COP Achievements’ to learn more about the key outcomes of COPs.

References:

[1] UNFCCC (n.d.) https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/katowice-climate-package#eq-2 [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021]
[2] UNFCCC (2018). ‘Report of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement on the third part of its first session, held in Katowice from 2 to 15 December 2018’. https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cma2018_3_add2_new_advance.pdf#page=59 [Accessed 19 Jul 2021]
[3] UNFCCC (n.d.) https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/Pages/Home.aspx [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021]
[4] UNFCCC (n.d.) https://unfccc.int/Adaptation-Fund [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021]
[5] UNFCCC (n.d.) https://unfccc.int/enhanced-transparency-framework [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021]
[6] UNFCCC (n.d.) https://unfccc.int/process/bodies/funds-and-financial-entities/green-climate-fund [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021]
[7] UNEP (n.d.) https://www.unep.org/about-un-environment/funding-and-partnerships/global-environment-facility [Accessed 15 Jul. 2021][8] Global Environment Facility (2019). ‘The Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT)’. https://www.thegef.org/publications/capacity-building-initiative-transparency-cbit [Accessed 19 Jul. 2021]

Image courtesy of unfccc flickr account

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