Climate Change
The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22),
The 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12),
The 1st Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1)

(Overview and Assessment)

November 18, 2016
Japanese

  • (Photo 1)

The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) and the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12) took place from November 7 to 18 in Marrakech, Morocco. From November 15 to 18, the 1st Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) also took place, following by the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on November 4. Mr. Kouichi Yamamoto, Minister of the Environment, and officials from relevant Ministries participated in the conference. They include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Japan’s involvement in these meetings, the outcome and the assessment of the conferences are as follows.

1. Overview of the conferences and Japan’s contribution

Japan participated in the sessions with three main objectives: (i) ensuring inclusiveness in the decision-making process, (ii) furthering discussions on the modalities, procedures and guidelines of the Paris Agreement and (iii) promoting Japan’s contribution on climate change. These three objectives have largely been achieved through the various phases of the conferences.

  • (1) Regarding the negotiating modalities on the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement, including the decision-making process, after the CMA1, Japan considered it important to ensure the inclusiveness through participating in their discussions. This would enable all Parties to have the ownership of the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement, regardless of whether they are Parties to the Agreement. With its conclusion of the Paris Agreement in November 8, Japan exchanged the views with Ms. Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary and Ambassador Mekouar of Morocco, the COP Presidency. In these meetings, Japan proposed that the streamlined and procedural COP/CMA decisions are needed in order to clarify the negotiating modalities after CMA1, and that the COP Presidency provides draft decisions of a basis for discussion.
  • (2) During the discussions on the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement, some developing countries argued that there should be different treatment between developed and developing countries in implementing the Paris Agreement, and developed countries were against to these arguments. Japan emphasized, with other developed countries, that the guidelines should promote all countries’ efforts on climate change and should not be bifurcated between developed and developing countries. Japan also stressed that the concrete work plans until the next session to be held in May 2017 are needed in order to further the technical discussions in a timely manner toward adopting the relevant guidelines by 2018.
  • (3) Regarding the promotion of Japan’s contribution on climate change, Minister Yamamoto met with his counterparts (such as EU, Germany, Italy, Morocco, China and Thailand) and CEOs of the international organizations (such as GEF and UNFCCC) and exchanged the views on the possible cooperation. They shared the recognition that each country needs to come together and send a strong message to the international society for combatting global warming. Minister Yamamoto emphasized that Japan is willing to lead such role. Japan released “Japan’s Assistance Initiatives to address Climate Change Responding to Needs of the Developing Countries” in November 11, and introduced its activities and willingness to address climate change.

    Regarding the implementation of the Paris Agreement, there needs to be effective support to developing countries provided in a coordinated fashion. Minister Yamamoto participated in relevant events concerning the international partnership and initiatives including the launching event of the NDC Partnership. He stated that Japan would support developing countries to implement the Agreement through working together with the domestic and international research institutions and support organizations.

    Throughout the COP22/CMP12/CMA1, the Government of Japan set up an event space, called the Japan Pavilion, where it held a large number of events to introduce and discuss the efforts of the Government and various institutions, organizations and researchers. The Japan Pavilion showcased Japan’s contributions to climate change measures such as “Japan’s Assistance Initiatives to address Climate Change Responding to Needs of the Developing Countries”.
  • (4) At the high-level segment of COP22/CMP12/CMA1, Minister Yamamoto delivered a speech. He welcomed the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, expressing great respect for the efforts and passion of all countries. He added that Japan completed the conclusion process and would contribute to rule-making under the Agreement. He referred to “the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures” decided by the cabinet, and stated Japan’s intention to address the long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategy and the support for developing countries. Furthermore, he expressed that he realized the political leadership in the efforts against climate change will become more important than it was before.
  • (5) With regard to climate finance, the second biennial High-Level Ministerial Dialogue was held and Parties discussed matters related to adaptation finance. In this dialogue, Japan explained that it had put emphasis on adaptation measures, especially on disaster reduction, and had contributed to developing countries through Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Japan has initiated to hold meetings with approximately 30 recipient countries including climate change negotiators through Japanese embassies in recipient countries so as to create better climate-related projects which reflects recipients’ needs particularly in the area of adaptation. Japan also participated in the facilitative dialogue and expressed the importance of support through the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Japan announced that it supported the work of CBIT and has seriously considering contributing to the initiative. Japan took part in the joint statement on the CBIT with other donor countries.
  • (6) Market mechanisms are one of the major pillars of the Paris Agreement. Japan held “the 4th JCM Partner Countries' High-Level Meeting” where 16 partner countries of the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) to promote bilateral cooperation on market mechanisms. At the meeting, Japan and the representatives of the 16 countries welcomed the progress of the JCM including issuance of JCM credits and confirmed further promotion of the JCM. Furthermore, Japan held a side event to present the outcome of the First Strategic Dialogue of the Carbon Market Platform held in Tokyo in June 2016 co-chaired by Japan and Germany and to discuss the areas of the Platform activities in the coming years.

2. Outcome of the conference

  • (1) Regarding the negotiation on negotiating modalities on the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement including the decision-making process after the CMA1, the inclusiveness, which Japan has emphasized, was ensured. It was agreed that relevant guidelines would be adopted by 2018. More specifically, following procedures for the negotiation were agreed as the COP and CMA decisions.
    • (i) The negotiation on the relevant guidelines will continue with participation of all Parties.
    • (ii) The CMA1 will be reconvened in 2017 and review the progress of the negotiation.
    • (iii) The CMA1 will be reconvened in 2018 and adopt the relevant guidelines.
  • (2) Regarding the discussions on the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement at the related bodies including the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Paris Agreement (APA), the work plans on each agenda item (mitigation, market mechanism, adaptation, transparency, global stocktake etc.) until the next session in May 2017 were decided in order to further the technical discussions efficiently at the next session. At the meeting, each Party expressed the various views, including on how to consider the respective capabilities of developed and developing countries. The guiding questions on each agenda item were provided based on those views after the meeting.
  • (3) With regard to climate finance, decisions of the COP and its Subsidiary Bodies (SB) welcomed the outcome in 2016. It includes the second biennial assessment. Through the discussion, Parties identified points of contention and reached a common ground how they deepen their discussion on climate finance in following meetings. For the discussion related to the accounting modalities of climate finance, Parties exchanged their views on the issue through workshops and contact groups, and established a basis of discussion for identifying some elements that integral for the accounting modalities. Such basis would allow Parties to move forward towards positive discussion on improvement of transparency. The discussion will be continued in SB46. Moreover, the submission made voluntarily by the developed country Parties, “Roadmap to $ 100 billion” which was announced before the pre-COP held in October 2016, was welcomed by developing country Parties.
  • (4) Morocco, the COP22 Presidency, released the Marrakesh Action Proclamation for our Climate and Sustainable Development to call for climate action of each Party. The High-level event on accelerating climate action was convened during the conference with a view to strengthening the actions of governmental and non-governmental actors such as local governments and private sectors. The Marrakech Partnership was established towards furthering such actions.
  • (5) The COP/CMP decisions related to the following issues were also adopted: the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on loss and damage, the Paris Committee on Capacity Building, linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention.
  • (6) It was decided that the COP23 presidency will be Fiji and the COP23 will be held in November 2018 at Bonn in Germany.

3. Assessment

The three primary objectives on which Japan considered important for the COP22 negotiation were largely achieved. Japan welcomes the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement and highly values the decision to continue the negotiation on the relevant guidelines of the Paris Agreement with participation of all Parties. The decision to adopt the relevant guidelines by 2018 is also important in terms of facilitating the discussions. Some developing countries maintained their pre-Paris positions that only developed countries be required to take actions despite the adoption of the Paris Agreement. The differences of the each Party’s position have become evident through the conference. The challenge of finding a way to move forward the discussions constructively and timely will remain for the future conferences.

After Mr. Donald Trump won the Presidential election in the United States on November 9, its climate policy of the next administration attracted much attention from many countries represented during the COP22. Many participants expressed their views that all Parties should move towards resolving the critical global issue of climate change through international cooperation.