Transparency: the Paris Agreement’s Mechanism for Increasing Ambition

At the 21st Partnership Meeting it was decided to rename the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV (IPMM) as the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement.

If we look at the short period of time between the success of COP21 and the Paris Agreement’s entry into force, it is by no means an exaggeration to say we are currently witnessing unprecedented momentum in international climate action. The early ratification of the Paris Agreement has sent a clear message of determination to governments, businesses and civil society throughout the world:  The global transformation to a greenhouse gas-neutral and climate-resilient world is now irreversibly underway.

2015 was the year of international decisions. As of 2016, the focus is on their implementation. Transparency was established as the mechanism to facilitate and catalyse the implementation of the national determined contributions (NDCs) to achieve the global goal to keep temperature increase below 2° C, or even 1.5° C, as well as to raise the ambition of NDCs over time.

New challenges lie ahead, such as

  • the development of the enhanced transparency framework for action
  • accounting rules to track NDC progress
  • modalities, procedures and guidelines in the negotiations
  • the review process to identify capacity building needs
  • requests to  include adaptation and support in the strategic focus of the Partnership.

These challenges require a realignment of the Partnership’s objectives, which its new name also reflects.

As a recap; the Partnership was launched during the first Petersberg Climate Dialogue in May 2010 in Bonn (Germany) by South Africa, South Korea and Germany with the name International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV and the aim of promoting ambitious climate action through practical exchange. At the time, the challenge ahead was framed as ‘Closing the Ambition Gap’, and the progressive countries forming this new alliance already foresaw that MRV would be the way to promote mitigation actions worldwide. As a semiformal forum comprised mainly of the MRV negotiators and some heads of delegation, the partnership’s intention was and still is to foster learning amongst leaders in transparency in parallel with UN climate negotiations, and build mutual trust among developing, emerging and industrialised countries. Thus, the Partnership promotes transparency which leads to trust which propels the needed transformation.

The work on enhancing NDC implementation, LEDS and NAMAs through transparency, mutual learning and ratcheting up ambition will continue. In addition, the scope of MRV will be broadened to encompass transparency regarding mitigation, adaptation and finance in order to foster the development and realisation of the enhanced transparency framework. As a result, the Partnership was renamed the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement at the 21st Partnership Meeting held on the sidelines of COP 22. The Partnership’s well-known formats and regional groups will be extended and adjusted thematically to match countries’ needs, giving particularly attention to the facilitative dialogue scheduled for 2018.

We must translate the Agreement’s text into concrete actions.  And this is just as ambitious as the process leading to the Agreement itself. Therefore, we are looking forward to seeing the Partnership continue to create momentum in the international climate policy community, while providing negotiators and practitioners with a unique forum to discuss issues regarding transparency and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The time frame is short, so let’s start to make the Paris Agreement reality!