LGMA Constituency Interprets the Paris Agreement

14 December 2015

The text of the Paris Agreement (with highlights related to local and subnational governments) 

This inclusive agreement provides a basis for transformation and paves the way for greater ambitions.

Through this Agreement, local and subnational governments are recognized as essential actors in fast tracking transformative action in the urban world.

The Paris Agreement reflects the success of local government advocacy, enshrining local and subnational actors within an international climate agreement for the first time. Cities and regions have been recognized, engaged and empowered, as the Local Government Climate Roadmap (LGCR) desired.

Now ICLEI and partners will help them to raise ambitions and accelerate action.


10 December 2015

The COP21 Presidency released v.2 of the draft Paris outcome at 21:00 on 10 December Thursday. Throughout the night until morning, Ministerial indaba negotiations continued.

The main highlights of the Agreement in v2 can be summarized as follows
- The new structure consists of 1 COP Decision supported with an Agreement as its Annex
- All paragraphs regarding inclusiveness (engagement of all levels of government, references to Non-Party Stakeholders etc) remain the same as in the v.1 but in different paragraph numbers
- In terms of mitigation ambition,
- Art.2 refers to a "well below 2oC" target and "to pursue efforts to 1oC"
- Art.3 refers to peaking GHG emissions asap, GHG neutrality in the second of 21st century, in both cases and differentiation between developed and developing countries, REDD+ is referred as in the previous version.
- In terms of adaptation, loss and damage is contained as a part of the Art.4 with a specific wording that this provision does not involve or provide a basis for further liability or compensation to any Parties.
- Entry into force of the Agreement is now bounded with 3 conditions; number of ratifying parties, which should meet 50-70 % of total global GHG emissions and not earlier than 2020

The main highlights of the Decision in v.2 can be summarized as follows:
- INDCs are expected to be revised in every 5 years after 2020
- Parties are urged to reduce international support to high-emission investment
- Technical Examination Processes on mitigation continues, and a new process for adaptation is launched, in both non-party stakeholder is envisaged
- A High Level Event at each COP until 2020 is to be convened, building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda
- 2 Champions are to be appointed by the COP Presidency to further scale up voluntary initiatives and provide guidance to thew organization of the technical examination process

Considering that negotiations continued all night long, it may be possible to expect further revisions in GHG neutrality, further differentiation and financing aspects, as well as preamble.


9 December 2015

Version 1 of the text for Draft Paris Outcome as the expected result of COP21 was released.

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, in its capacity as the focal point of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency and facilitator of the Local Government Climate Roadmap has shared the initial assessment of the text as below:

As an overview, if the text is adopted as is, COP21 in Paris will conclude with an inclusive climate regime that has positive implications for the recognition of local and subnational governments. Whether or not the climate regime will be ambitious and fair depends upon the language used with respect to the long-term goal on global climate neutrality or 100% renewable energy, adaptation, loss-and-damage and climate finance. Each of these components is still in brackets, indicating that least one Party objects to the current language.

The preamble of the agreement makes reference to the “importance of engagements of all levels of government and various actors” in addressing climate change. The paragraph is consistent with the previous version and does not have any brackets. Assuming there are no further changes to this paragraph in the remaining day of negotiations, the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency is prepared to announce that local and subnational governments are fully recognized and engaged in the new global climate regime.

The draft agreement text also makes reference to the relevance of local and subnational levels within to the adaptation and capacity building articles.

The decision section defines Non-Party Stakeholders as including "cities and other subnational authorities." This confirms that cities and other subnational authorities – or local and subnational governments – are not a Non-State Actor but a Non-Party Stakeholder.

The decision also makes reference to the subnational level with respect to capacity building. Considering that the language used to define Non-Party Stakeholders includes "cities and other subnational authorities," it is possible to interpret that the paragraphs in this section refer to cities and local governments as well.

The preamble of the decision on Workstream 2 defines the Non-Party Stakeholders as including cities and other subnational authorities, appreciates the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, recognizes the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) Platform and welcomes non-Party stakeholders – without offering a definition for the latter.

Paragraph 128 encourages Non-Party Stakeholders to engage in Technical Examination Process both on mitigation as a part of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) process in 2013 and 2015, as well as the new process on Adaptation. The related paragraphs also refer to the improvement of engagement of Non-Party stakeholders in the technical examination processes.

Over the past couple of days, there had been a discussion at the LGMA daily briefings on why Non-Party Stakeholders are repeated twice in the decision. It is possible to expect that sections related to Workstream 2 may be extracted from this text adopted as a separate decision. If this happens, then each of the decisions – one on the implementation on the agreement that will prepare for its entry into force in 2020 and one on the Workstream 2 pre2020 ambition – will both have appropriate definitions of who is Non-Party Stakeholder.

Further positive news is that mitigation options like net zero greenhouse gas emissions, climate neutrality, decarbonization as well as the option to keep loss-and-damage as a standalone article are still on the table.

COP21 President H.E Fabious signalled that above issues will be the main point of negotiations in the next couple of hours, provided that Parties accept to continue on the basis of this text at the Comite de Paris meeting on 9 December at 20.00.

The Comite de Paris deliberations took place between 20.00 - 23.30. Almost all Parties announced that they consider the text as the basis of further negotiations and expressed full support to the COP21 Presidency. A number of concerns were raised to ensure appropriate differentiation based on the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

No Party expressed any concern on the paragraph related to issues of interest to local and subnational governments listed above.

As the last intervention of the session, COP21 Special Envoy H.E. Minister Pulgar conveyed the feedbacks of all 9 Observer Constituencies, following the consultation he had in the morning with the civil society, and pursuant to the recommendation of the LGMA Constituency.

It has to be further noted that during both civil society consultation in the morning and the Comite de Paris meeting in the evening, the only expression of support to Lima-Paris Action Agenda cam from the interventions of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency.

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