Multilateralism is complex. We’re here to make it easier to understand.

The Paris Agreement and the accompanying decision text are basically a blueprint for a new global climate change framework. In 2015, the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Paris set out 91 mandates with timelines in the Paris Agreement and the accompanying Decision Text. With 29 mandates triggered by the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement – years earlier than expected – 30 mandates are now at play for COP23.

The Negotiations Progress Tracker objectively follows and communicates UNFCCC negotiations. We produce analytics and share context to help observers follow the process.

State of Play

We parsed, combed through and analyzed the UNFCCC progress tracker to bring you the state of play regarding 30 mandates leading into COP23. The issues. What needs to be settled in the next 10 days. The cliffnotes so to speak. Here’s what we found:

Between the Paris Agreement and the accompanying decision text, there were 30 action items mandated for discussion by the close of CMA1, which included COP23 in Bonn.

Each of these action items was considered for adoption by different working groups, including the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

Each working group releases successive documents as mandates move through discussion, taking on different legal standing and weight.

By tracking the informal notes, draft text, agenda items, and decision documents from each of the corresponding bodies handling the negotiation of these mandates, was able to illustrate the progress made on mandates at different time points during COP23.

These and other analytics are open source, available for use with attribution, and are available for download below. Throughout the COP23 negotiations, we will follow these mandates on here and report through @ParisAgreement, along with GHG transparency metrics. We also provide context to reporters following the negotiations.

Just the Facts at COP

The @ParisAgreement Twitter handle hones in exclusively on the negotiations and key information around international transparency and capacity-building for climate change.

Tracking Transparency

Article 13 of the Paris Agreement looks at Transparency. How are countries expected to report on their greenhouse gases? How often? In what format? What about finance, inputs to the Global Stocktake, or countries’ NDC submissions? Will the requirements be the same for all parties, or will there be differences along lines of development, categories in annexes, or some other type of capacity?   

What is groundbreaking about the transparency regime post Paris (COP21) as opposed to the days of the Kyoto Protocol, is that now there will be a unified system (where all countries are required to report greenhouse gas emissions and other types of data), with some flexibility, based on countries’ capacity. Under the Kyoto Protocol, parties were starkly differentiated based off of categories under the convention. The categories ‘under the convention’ required Annex-I parties (or developed countries) to report data regularly, the rest of the world was required to report much less frequently.  

What we don’t know is what kind of flexibility will emerge in the new transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. Will the flexibility reflect the old bifurcated system ‘under the convention’? Or, will the flexibility reflect the more nuanced approach to differentiation envisioned for the Paris Agreement in a balanced agreement, one in which parties self-differentiate. 

In an attempt to figure this out, we tracked key phrases that indicate two possible types of flexibility which might emerge throughout the negotiations of the Paris Agreement Rule Book. We looked at various negotiating texts from this year’s intersessional negotiations in May through the last week of COP23. 

For example, over time the use of the phrase “in light of their capacities” increases throught the evolution of negotiating text.

Check it out: