United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Research Paper 160, 21 July 2022

Movement Forward on ABS for the Convention on Biological Diversity: Bounded Openness Over Natural Information

by Joseph Henry Vogel, Manuel Ruiz Muller, Klaus Angerer, and Christopher May

“Access to genetic resources” and “fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising [from their] utilization” is the third objective of the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The expression is included in the full title of the 2010 Nagoya Protocol (NP). Neither agreement defined “material” in the phrase “genetic material” which resulted in misinterpretation that the object of access for R&D is tangible. Unfairness ensues: competition among provider Parties leads to the elimination of economic rents, which is desirable for tangibles but undesirable for intangibles. Once interpreted as natural information, the economics of information justifies a Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism (GMBSM) (Article 10 NP) which collects and distributes rents on value added to genetic resources. “Bounded openness over natural information” is the modality proposed for the GMBSM. The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Secretariat of the CBD recognized the argument in the 2021 Note “Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources”.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 21, November 2021

Streamlining the Architecture of International Tax through a UN Framework Convention on Tax Cooperation

By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sol Picciotto

The architecture of international taxation at present is fragmented among multiple institutions. The UN Tax Committee, the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes are some of the key institutions which set multiple and overlapping international tax standards. The lack of a genuinely global international tax body has long been a lacunae in the international economic system and a disadvantage for developing countries, who are unable to participate in international tax standard setting as full and equal participants. This has been borne out most recently by the Two Pillar Solution for taxing the digital economy that has come from the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework. The G-77’s renewed demand for a global tax body shows the issue continues to remain a priority for developing countries.

This Policy Brief provides a way for bringing the existing plethora of institutions under unified, universal and democratic control through a UN Framework Convention on Tax Cooperation (UN FCTC). This idea builds on the long-standing idea of a UN Tax Convention, which has also been recommended by the UN FACTI Panel. A UN FCTC would function similarly to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC), through a Conference of Parties (COP) which would give the existing institutions such as the UN Tax Committee and Inclusive Framework mandates to work on. In this regard, it would replace the narrow mandates of the OECD and G20 with mandates coming from all the Parties to the UN FCTC, which could be all countries, both developed and developing. A UN FCTC thus provides a practical and realistic way forward for a genuinely universal, intergovernmental framework for international tax rule making under the auspices of the United Nations.

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Climate Policy Brief 26, October 2021

Some Key Elements for Developing Countries in Climate Change Negotiations of COP 26: Climate Finance, Article 6 Negotiations and Implications

By M. Natalia Pacheco Rodríguez and Luis Fernando Rosales

Human influence is deepening the climate crisis at an unprecedented pace. Developing countries’ economies have been hit hard by the crisis caused by COVID-19. Means of implementation are crucial for them to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement goal. Developed countries must fulfill their commitments to provide US$ 100 billion per year by 2025 to climate finance. The latest years’ negotiations have shown the importance of improving the reporting methodology and the need for an agreed operational climate finance definition. In turn, Article 6 negotiations offer an opportunity to ensure higher ambition of both mitigation and adaptation through cooperative approaches while respecting the agreed balance between market and non-market approaches. What should developing countries expect on these issues at COP 26?

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SC/IsDB joint publication on National Strategies for SSTrC, April 2021

Policy Paper on National Strategies for South-South and Triangular Cooperation

For developing countries to realize the full potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) for achieving their national sustainable development objectives, it is important to formulate national SSTrC strategies as part of their national SSTrC ecosystems. Such national strategies would serve as guidance for a country’s SSTrC activities, initiatives and institutional framework, both as provider and beneficiary of SSTrC. This policy brief highlights the importance of developing national SSTrC strategies for achieving national development objectives and lays out the main elements that can be taken into consideration by developing countries for designing their national SSTrC strategies. While many developing countries do not have an explicit SSTrC strategy in place yet, the state of play shows that its elements can be found in various policies, institutional guidance and national development strategies. The absence of a holistic approach and a nationally acknowledged strategy carries the risk of fragmentation and incoherence in undertaking SSTrC activities. The potential of national SSTrC strategies for enabling effective responses to crises (such as COVID-19) is also explored.

This paper was developed jointly by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the South Centre based on the concept of the Islamic Development Bank on National Ecosystems for South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

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SouthViews No. 214, 26 February 2021

Increasing ecocides: On the need for a new global platform for redress

By Dr S Faizi

Dr S Faizi argues that the community of nations should criminalise ecocide and create a mechanism to prosecute the culprits. This should be done by establishing an Environmental Security Council as a democratic, independent multilateral body, and by no means by overburdening the International Criminal Court (ICC) with this new agenda when ICC itself is in dire need of strengthening to enforce its original mandate.

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Climate Policy Brief 25, February 2021

The UNFCCC Virtual Regional Workshops on Gender and Climate Change 2020

By Mariama Williams

In the last week of November 2020, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Gender and Climate Team presented its hallmark Global Gender Event as part of the virtual United Nations (UN) Climate Dialogues 2020 (Climate Dialogues). The Climate Dialogues provided “a platform for Parties and other stakeholders to showcase progress made in 2020 and exchange views and ideas across the subsidiary bodies and COP agendas mandated for 2020”. They were held in lieu of the annual meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) previously slated to take place in the United Kingdom in December 2020. The virtual Global Gender Event held on November 26, 2020 occurred in two parts. Part 1, Acting on the gender and climate GAP: progress and reflections highlighted progress and reflections made at the regional workshops on gender and climate change held by the Gender team earlier in the year. Part 2, Women for Results: showcasing women’s leadership on climate change showcased women’s leadership on climate change including the five winning projects of the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards.

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Climate Policy Brief 21, December 2019

The State of Play of Climate Finance – UNFCCC Funds and the $100 Billion Question

By Mariama Williams; editing support and data by Rajesh Eralil

Climate finance is key to achieving the ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement as well as in fulfilling the climate actions that developing countries have proposed to implement in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the key vehicles for implementing the agreement reached in Paris in 2015. However, there is much concern that the current flow of finance is inadequate to meet the expectations surrounding both the NDCs and the Paris Agreement. This brief presents quick snapshots of the state of play of climate finance of one dimension of the broad, complex and increasingly fragmented universe of climate finance. It focuses on the flow of climate finance that can be monitored and tracked under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the context of the developed countries’ collective goal of mobilizing US $100 billion annually to support developing countries’ climate actions. The issues on both the demand and supply side of climate finance flows are explored, with specific attention to the ebb and flows and achievements of the multilateral public funds.  After highlighting some of the more serious challenges with the flow of climate finance, the brief ends with an overview of the key negotiating issues around future climate finance flows.

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Research Paper 99, September 2019

Ensuring an Operational Equity-based Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement

By Hesham Al-Zahrani, Chai Qimin, Fu Sha, Yaw Osafo, Adriano Santhiago De Oliveira, Anushree Tripathi, Harald Winkler and Vicente Paolo Yu III

One of the key provisions of the Paris Agreement that was adopted in December 2015 at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is Article 14 on the global stocktake (GST). The GST is intended to be the mechanism by which the Convention Parties that are Parties to the Paris Agreement would be able to periodically take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to assess collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and its long-term goals. This research paper discusses how equity as a principle and a concept played a key role in shaping the modalities for the GST, and looks in detail at the operational modalities for the GST that were agreed upon in Katowice in December 2018 in relation to how equity should be considered and made operational.

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The South Centre Monthly, August 2019

The worldwide problem of the rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health.  The loss of efficacy of antibiotics and other antimicrobials affects everyone. Yet the threat is greater in developing countries, due to the higher incidence of infectious diseases. Developing countries will be unequivocally affected by AMR, deteriorating the health of the population, reducing economic growth and exacerbating poverty and inequalities. The blueprint for addressing AMR as a global problem is advanced. Countries are progressing in developing and implementing national action plans and overall the public awareness of AMR is increasing.

However, we are at the tip of the iceberg of response. AMR is not yet a key priority of most governments, and global coordination and resource mobilization to enable all countries to do their part are lagging. The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) in the upcoming 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) will be reporting on the implementation of the UN resolution on AMR of 2016, including the recommendations of the Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance.  The UNGA will also host a High-Level Meeting to build support for advancing Universal Health Coverage (UHC), that is essential for AMR response. Expanding primary health care services, strengthening the health work force, improving infection prevention and control and measures to secure access to essential medicines and others to reduce health inequities can help contain AMR in developing countries. Developing countries need to be actively involved in shaping the global agenda on antimicrobial resistance, including the new global governance mechanisms that are being set up for AMR.

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The South Centre Monthly, July 2019

Inequality is one of the greatest challenges that the world needs to face. Inequality is intimately linked with poverty. Although there has been progress in reducing poverty, a large part of the global population (overwhelmingly living in developing countries) is still denied access to a dignified life. While no poverty and reduced inequality are two of the outstanding Sustainable Development Goals, these and other goals are unlikely to be achieved by 2030. In fact, inequality is on the rise. Changing this situation will certainly require significant efforts at the national and regional level. But it also requires an international architecture that supports those efforts by respecting the policy space that countries need and coordinating constructive actions within the multilateral system. The current initiatives to ‘reform’ this system will only be legitimate if they recognize the gaps in the levels of development and contribute to effectively address them under a fair, pro-development system of rules. Please see last month’s SouthViews on “Understanding global inequality in the 21st century” by Jayati Ghosh, development economist and Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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Climate Finance Readiness E-Book, February, 2019

Climate Finance Readiness Brief E-Book by the South Centre

In the last years, governments around the world have set collective climate and sustainable development goals that go far beyond previous agreements and commitments in terms of scope and ambition. There are clear synergies between the three independently adopted but deeply inter-related milestones of 2015: the 2030 Development Agenda including the SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

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SouthViews No. 175, 8 February 2019

24th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC: The US COP?

By Mariama Williams

Despite its stated intentions to leave the Paris Agreement, the United States negotiating team continued to dominate many of the negotiations of key areas of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The outcome of the meeting, branded the ‘Katowice Climate Package’, again showed developing countries sacrificing many redlines to save multilateralism. The Katowice Outcome reflects very little substantial advancement of the global climate protection agenda. However, the discussion and further refining of the rules will continue in the UNFCCC’s upcoming negotiating sessions in 2019 as well as COP 25. Hence, developing countries have a chance to regroup and push forward to ensure sustainable development objectives are ensured and protected.

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