April 7 – 9, 2016
Center for Law and Global Affairs
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
1100 S. McAllister Ave, Tempe, AZ
How can the international climate system best ensure that national climate pledges are implemented and increased over time? With the Paris Agreement taking forward the system of voluntary pledges started with the Copenhagen Accord, attention will now need to shift to the ‘review’ part of ‘pledge-and-review’.
Review under the Paris Agreement could potentially bring a number of benefits. It could help ensure that the voluntary contributions are in line with internationally agreed objectives and principles, such as the objective of staying below 2 °C/1.5 °C or equity considerations. It could enhance transparency, trust and accountability between Parties by creating a shared understanding of Parties’ contributions and implementation efforts, as well as the underlying information, data and assumptions. It could identify obstacles to implementation of national pledges, and help channel resources to countries to overcome such barriers. Finally, review could increase ambition by providing an opportunity for feedback and exchange of ideas and approaches, and by encouraging additional reciprocal actions from other Parties.
Review processes are included in the Paris Agreement in three major ways. First, the treaty provides for implementation review through an ‘enhanced transparency framework’, applicable to both (adaptation and mitigation) action and (financial, technological and capacity-building) support (Article 13). Second, the agreement establishes an implementation and compliance mechanism, allowing for a compliance review (Article 15). Third, the 2023 ‘global stocktake’ provided for in the agreement seeks to ‘assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of [the] agreement’, allowing for an effectiveness review (Article 14). Parties will also have an opportunity to assess the adequacy of current efforts through the facilitative dialogues to take place in 2016 (on pre-2020 action) and in 2018 (on post-2020 action).
Together, these provisions seem to offer a much-needed framework for reviewing how Parties – individually and in aggregate – fare in meeting and increasing their commitments under the Paris Agreement. Inevitably, however, the devil is in the details: while the decision accompanying the Paris Agreement offers some useful details on each of these processes, crucial decisions on the modalities and procedures have been postponed to the first Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).
The 1st half of the workshop seeks to provide timely input into this process. While the workshop does not necessarily seek to answer the questions on how these various processes should be designed and put in practice, the aim is to identify the priority questions that will require addressing at the next COP in Marrakech.
For the past several years, international attention has focused on negotiating the Paris Agreement. Now that the agreement has been adopted, it is possible to step back and ask, what are the Paris Agreement’s implications – for individual countries like the United States; for other actors, including non-governmental groups and sub-national governments; and for international environmental law and international cooperation more generally?
The 2nd half of the workshop is intended to provide an opportunity to begin this process of reflection. It will be organized around three themes:
- Implications of Paris for the United States
- Non-State Actors in the Climate Regime
- Implications of Paris for International Environmental Law and International Cooperation