When dealing with the positions of nearly 200 Parties, it is not easy to reach an agreement on such a multi-faceted and technical document. In these circumstances, every step forward was a great achievement - said Michał Kurtyka, President of COP24.
Faced with the greatest challenge of our time – the transition towards a low-carbon economy and, consequently, curbing climate change – it is important that international cooperation on climate policy is reinforced and based on mutual trust.
During the 24th Session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, our joint efforts have comprised more than just creating new texts or defending national interests. We were guided by a sense of responsibility for the fate of people and our commitment to the fate of the Earth – our home and home for the generations that will follow us - said Michał Kurtyka.
This is where the role of Katowice Rulebook begins. It sets out the basic procedures and mechanisms underlying the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The implementation of its provisions is a very ambitious task, since it assumes that in the coming years, the humanity will have to stop global warming at below 2°C and, ultimately, to 1.5°C, above the average temperature before the industrial revolution. In practice, this means that we have to reduce CO2 emissions by around 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels). In order to achieve this, we need to start reducing the total greenhouse gas emissions of the whole world as quickly as possible to bring them down to zero in the second half of the 21st century.
The Katowice Rulebook respects the different opportunities and socio-economic realities of all countries, while serving as the basis of raising the bar of ambitions higher and higher in the field of climate action.
The Katowice Rulebook takes into account the interests of all Parties in a balanced and fair manner. What is more important, its net impact on the world will be positive. It enables us to take a big step towards achieving the ambitions enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Ambitions that will make our children look back on our heritage and recognise that their parents have made the right decisions at the right time in history - said the COP24 President.
The agreement reached at COP24 is the result of in-depth technical discussions and political compromises. The Katowice Rulebook comprises the following issues:
• A compromise text regarding the issue of mitigation was drawn up, taking into account the common interests of developing and developed countries. This text builds on the strong commitments provided by the “shall” discourse with regard to the required information (ICTU) and the principles of tracking the progress for nationally determined contributions (NDC).
• The text of the decision contains detailed requirements for communication and tracking the progress for the NDCs that shall apply to all Parties. The commitments are conditioned by the type of NDC and not by the development level of the country concerned. Creating a common platform for communicating and tracking the progress for NDCs will enable better understanding and aggregation of NDCs.
• The text contains detailed references to the land sector in the section on ICTU and tracking the progress (features, and information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding).
• The Katowice Rulebook contains guidelines for countries on how to communicate and report on adaptation measures. These provisions will ensure regular provision of information on adaptation, which in turn will allow countries to share experiences, learn from each other and cooperate more effectively and efficiently at regional and international level. These guidelines will be updated in 2025.
• Regular provision of information at an international level is also intended to motivate countries to improve the quality of their adaptation efforts without having to burden them with further commitments.
• In addition, every five years, a global review will be carried out in order to jointly analyse whether adaptation efforts are adequate and consider how to deal with the impact of climate change in a more effective manner.
• However, the Katowice Rulebook does not leave the Parties to their own devices, as it also contains a comprehensive action plan within the UNFCCC, aimed at supporting these efforts. To mention just a few of the many examples, institutions such as the Adaptation Committee and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group have been mandated to continue working on assessing adaptation needs and cooperating with the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to improve the guidelines. In addition, the Standing Committee on Finance, in cooperation with the Technology Executive Committee and the Paris Committee on Capacity-building, will work on ways to mobilise resources for adaptation.
Loss and Damage
• The Katowice Rulebook draws attention to information which can be provided by countries regarding the impact of climate change, as well as dealing with the losses and damage it causes. In addition, the efforts undertaken by countries, aimed at preventing and minimising this impact, may be taken into account in the global review.
• The inclusion of the topic of loss and damage in the Katowice Rulebook, covered in Article 8 of the Paris Agreement, provides a more comprehensive picture of the challenges the world will face in the context of climate change.
• The Katowice solution has been independently developed by the Parties and reconciles the needs of all of them – it is optimal because it allows flexibility for the Parties for whom it is important, and at the same time sets specific requirements for all of them.
• The adoption of full transparency guidelines is a great success for COP24 in Katowice.
• For the first time, a single system based on common principles was created for all Parties to the Paris Agreement.
• All Parties shall submit their first biennial report by the end of 2024.
• All Parties shall use the same calculation methodologies based on the 2006 IPCC guidelines.
• The guidelines introduce a limited number of facilities for developing countries that have problems with potential (the so-called flexibility) – regarding, for example, the amount of gases reported. However, taking advantage of these flexibilities requires defining a time frame within which the potential will be built and the use of flexibility will be ceased.
• The new system will provide access to regular information on emissions and sequestration, as well as the provided and received support. In addition, countries will post regular reports on the progress in the implementation of their contributions.
• In order to increase the efficiency of activities undertaken as part of the Convention, the new transparency system will replace the existing reports (Nat.Com, BR, BUR) and the current data review systems (TER, ICA, IAR).
• The Parties decided to launch a discussion on a new common financial target for 2025 at the 2020 COP26. In line with existing commitments (agreed in 2009 in Copenhagen and confirmed in 2010 in Cancun), developed countries committed to mobilise USD 100 billion annually for developing countries between 2020 and 2025. It should be noted here that only countries listed in Annex II to the Climate Convention are obliged to provide financial assistance. Other countries (including Poland) grant financial assistance on a voluntary basis only.
• It has been decided that as from the 1st of January 2019 the Adaptation Fund will become subject to the Paris Agreement.
• By November 2020, the Standing Committee on Finance shall prepare an assessment of the financial needs of developing countries. Subsequent reports are to be prepared every four years.
• During the Biennial Assessment to be carried out in 2020, the Standing Committee on Finance will assess the consistency of cashflows with pathways to low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.
• The rules of reporting regarding financial assistance provided by all countries to developed countries were also adopted, along with rules for reporting on planned financial assistance.
• After two weeks of hard work, it was possible to work out a compromise form of detailed provisions regulating the global review. The global review is a five-yearly process envisioned in the Paris Agreement, aimed at assessing the collective progress in efforts to curb and adapt to climate change before the Parties submit further nationally determined contributions.
• Given the long-term nature of the mechanism, all negotiating groups sought to ensure that their main concerns were taken into account in the final text of the Decision. Two particularly frequent issues were equity, as well as loss and damage. The expectations of the different Parties on these two issues diverged quite significantly and it was thus impossible to fully take them into consideration. Nevertheless, a compromise was reached on the wording of the provisions of the Decision, which was acceptable to all Parties.
• It was agreed that the global review would consist of phases of information gathering, technical evaluation, as well as political discussion of the results, which will take place at COP29 in 2023.
• The Paris Agreement required the Parties to debate the establishment of a common timeframe for the submission of nationally determined contributions during COP24.
• The Parties partially defined these timeframes, while noting that they may apply to the contributions regarding the period starting in 2031. However, it remains to be agreed whether they will cover 5 or 10 years – the Parties reserved the possibility to settle this matter during the upcoming COP25.
Register of nationally determined contributions
• In line with the Paris Agreement, the Parties were to determine how the nationally determined contributions submitted by the Parties pursuant to the Agreement would be kept in the form of a register in Katowice.
• During COP24, the Parties managed to agree on the shape of such a registry, which will be based on a temporary register, which is currently in place, and together with the adaptation communication, it will constitute the registry portal. This register will contain all previously submitted nationally determined contributions, but without providing the ability to search them, which was a compromise between the positions taken by the Parties in the negotiations.
• Based on agreed guidelines, the Secretariat will develop a prototype for such a registry and submit it to the Parties for approval at COP25.
• This solution allows all the political issues raised to be agreed, leaving one year for the Secretariat to work out technical solutions.
• The adopted decision governs the functioning of the Committee in such a way as to enable its operations. However, the launch of the Committee will be postponed due to the elections slated for CMA2 (end of 2019).
• Differentiation within the compliance system was avoided. The Decision only provides for flexibility with regards to procedural deadlines for Parties which require them in view of their domestic capabilities. Developing countries, as a category, appear only as an entity subject to the flexibility provided for in Article 13 and as an entity entitled to possible mobilisation of funds in order to co-finance their participation in the work of the Committee.
• The agreement on a mandate for the Committee to initiate procedures on its own initiative in certain cases and, with the agreement of the Parties, also in the event of serious and persistent failure to comply with the transparency guidelines, can be treated as a great success. Similarly, the mandate to address systemic issues may be a positive contribution of the Committee to the functioning of the Paris Agreement implementation system.
Indigenous peoples platform
• The operationalisation of the local communities' and indigenous peoples' platform could become one of the most important tools to be adopted to combat climate change without leaving anyone behind.
• We can now work together to integrate diverse knowledge systems to scale up and accelerate our efforts to tackle the threats and impacts of climate change in a holistic and integrated way.
• The Platform is an unprecedented partnership between countries and indigenous peoples.
• Mechanisms cover the areas of the Paris Agreement where agreeing on implementing regulations was not possible. Only a short procedural decision was adopted, which carries over discussions on the operationalisation of the provisions of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to 2019.
Just Transition Declaration
• 55 leaders supported the Silesian Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition. It is still possible to accede to the declaration; hence the number will certainly increase.
• Thanks to the adoption of the declaration and the organisation of numerous accompanying events, it was possible to place the issue of just transition at the centre of the debate on climate policy. Never before the Katowice Summit was the subject of the impact of transition on employees such a hotly debated one.
• The issue of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent, quality jobs is included in the work programme of the response measures forum and noted in Decision 1/CP.24
• Before and during COP24, the Presidency actively cooperated with representatives of civil society and stakeholders, providing them with information on the ongoing negotiations, familiarising them with their perspectives, and conducting a dialogue on the demands made by this community.