• Negotiations on Article 6.8 resume with the presentation of the Secretariat’s new online platform
  • The definition of the topics to be discussed has raised a sore point: to date the Parties still do not seem to have a common vision on the definition of non-market approaches
  • Several points remain open for the next negotiating days: is it possible to create a common vision? How to implement non-market approaches? What information to exchange?

Negotiations on Article 6.8, focusing on non-market approaches under the Paris Agreement, resumed yesterday. In particular, the Parties discussed the definition of the activities to be carried out in the thematic meetings (called spin-offs) in the coming days. However, which tools are to be considered within Article 6.8 and, more generally, what the definition of non-market approaches is, are open points from which we will have to start in the next negotiation phases.

The progress to date

Article 6.8 is part of the Paris Agreement (COP21) and recognizes the importance of using Non-Market Approaches (NMAs) to help Parties to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), at the same time contributing to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

As subsequently clarified in Glasgow (COP26), the nature of NMAs is threefold:

  • voluntary;
  • not based on market approaches, transactions or market practices “disguised” as international cooperation (including the transfer of results of mitigation actions);
  • which promotes increased mitigation and adaptation ambitions.

In particular, each NMA aims to determine a positive impact on mitigation and adaptation, to encourage greater participation of the public, private sector and civil society in the implementation of NDCs, and to allow greater coordination with existing tools and institutional agreements. The achievement of these objectives is attempted through a series of tools that may include, but are not limited to: mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building.

COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh led to the definition of a work timeline for article 6.8 divided into two phases. The first, started in 2023 and to be completed by the end of the current year, focuses on the identification of work activities and the creation of an online platform for the Secretariat; the second, to be developed from 2025 to 2026, involves the implementation of the various activities.

In Dubai (COP28) the Parties were encouraged to actively participate in the platform (here is our complete final analysis) and the Secretariat was asked to prepare a report on what was proposed and reported during the negotiation phase. A relevant statement in the Global Stocktake (paragraph 32) was the “urgent need” to strengthen the NMAs. 

The start of work at these Intermediate Negotiations in Bonn

The negotiating dialogue on Article 6.8 kicked off in Bonn with the presentation of the Secretariat’s online platform. The tool, which aims to collect and exchange information on NMAs and on the support given and received by the Parties, currently only contains the references of around fifty focal points. Once the information has been received from the delegations, it is expected to become a fundamental element for the dissemination of best practices and the facilitation for the replicability of already existing non-market approaches.

The second main theme of these first two days of negotiations was the definition of the spin-off meetings to be held in the next few days. This working method was, in fact, envisaged to allow for a (technically) more detailed discussion between the interested parties and, therefore, speed up the negotiation process. In dealing with this topic, however, a critical point immediately emerged: to date the Parties do not seem to share a single definition of non-market approaches and tools to be considered among them. Indeed, if on the one hand, some delegations have proposed (EU) or supported (US, Canada, Tuvalu) the inclusion of carbon pricing mechanisms and nature-based solutions among the NMAs, on the other hand various actors – Coalition for Rainforest (CfRN), Bolivia, Arab group, Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), Brazil and India – have shown that they consider these elements closer to market approaches, and that they are concerned about the possible blurring of the dividing line between these categories.

Bolivia has provided its own definition of NMAs, also used in national policies, as the approaches that do not contribute to modifying and/or pricing ecosystem functions (carbon pricing mechanisms would therefore not fall into the category). On the other hand, the European Union, spokesperson for the initial proposal, explained how, from their point of view, carbon pricing can also be used in non-market approaches. An example to prove this point is their use as project evaluation tools by the European Investment Bank.

Further themes were proposed as topics for spin-offs: the use of NMAs to fight deforestation, inclusiveness, the mobilization of finance for adaptation, the defense of biodiversity, the resilience of the agricultural system, the use of the Secretariat’s online platform.

The interventions of India and Brazil went against the flow, underlining the importance of focusing on the actual implementation of Article 6.8, which has not seen the light yet since 2015, rather than expanding the discussion on “other topics”.

Several question points have already emerged during these two trading days and remain open for the next ones: how to create a univocal definition of NMAs? How to ensure that the impacts of NMAs are not counted multiple times or that the results of mitigation actions are not transferred? What data and information should be included into the Secretariat’s platform, considering the fact that it has a public nature? The issue of defining non-market approaches under Article 6 remains one of the major unfinished businesses of the Paris Agreement, already in force since 2020, and we still seem far away from identifying univocal or shared definitions and approaches; however, the incredible acceleration seen in the last two years on the topic of loss and damage (which was not experiencing a better situation in terms of acceptance and definitions) teaches us that, with the right political sprint, the synthesis can somehow always be found. We will continue to follow the topic.

Article by Claudia Concaro, Italian Climate Network Volunteer

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