Legal preparedness for the implementation of the Paris Agreement – Roundtable workshop in Lagos

Over 40 law and policy makers attended a one-day roundtable workshop on the legal preparedness for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on 14 March 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. Workshop participants included representatives of various government departments and agencies, academia, civil society and the private sector. Most of the participants were lawyers and many travelled to Lagos from other parts of Nigeria (e.g. Abuja and the Ogun, Oyo, Delta, and Abia States).

The meeting was organised by the Environmental Resource Centre (ERC) in Lagos in close collaboration with LRI. Important technical and financial support was provided by Advocates for International Development (A4ID) under the UK Aid sponsored Rule of Law Expertise (Role UK) Programme.

The objective of the meeting was to introduce the 2015 Paris Agreement and the rules for its implementation as adopted in 2018 (the so called Paris Agreement Rulebook) and analyse their implications for Nigeria. Law and policy makers who attended the workshop will be able to champion climate responses at the Federal and state level, and in that context, ensure that Nigeria will benefit from provisions of the new agreement.

The meeting included three technical presentations by Huzi Mshelia (ERC), Christoph Schwarte (LRI) and Dr Peter Tarfa, the UNFCCC focal point for Nigeria. During his presentation, the latter underlined the need for legal and technical support in the international climate negotiations as well as in domestic efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.

In response, participants of the meeting agreed to establish a Legal Working Group (LWG) on climate governance in Nigeria to support the national government in the UNFCCC process and in strengthening domestic legislation. The group will include legal advisers from different Federal and State ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the private sector, NGOs and academia.

Workshop on legal readiness for climate finance

On Friday 25 January, LRI in collaboration with the Dickson Poon School of Law and UN Environment facilitated a round table workshop on legal readiness for climate finance at King’s College, London.

To respond to the adverse effects of climate change, developing countries require significant new and additional financial resources. Industrialised countries have promised to take the lead in mobilising climate finance. To date, however, many poor and particularly climate vulnerable developing countries do not only lack the financial resources for crucial adaptation actions but even the funds required to create the basic institutional governance framework for mainstreaming climate change into general law and policy making.

The roundtable workshop brought together regulators, academics and practitioners to discuss lessons learnt and approaches in different jurisdictions on how to increase flows of private capital. Different sessions looked at the role regulators can play, the development of a climate finance toolkit and specific approaches to raising climate finance.  Oscar Njugune of Kenya’s International Financial Centre Authority commented on the workshop: “Certainly from a Kenyan policy making perspective it has provided me with some key action items to take forward, as well as opened up communication channels with a number of important stakeholders with whom we can take forward discussions on a bilateral basis.”

LRI in Katowice

Hosted by Poland, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP24) took place in Katowice on 2 – 14 December 2018. The meeting’s main goal was to finalise the detailed rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement – the so-called Rulebook – thereby enabling parties to turn their commitments into climate action. To a large extent, the conference formally delivered on this, as substantive decisions were adopted in all but one (on market and non-market mechanisms) areas of the Paris Agreement. However, in many areas, decision on important sub-items was deferred.

Aside from the adoption of the Rulebook, parties completed the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long facilitative dialogue to take stock of progress on climate action to date, inform the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020 and boost collective ambition. Many had hoped for a strong political signal on ambition from the Talanoa. The final decision text, however, merely ‘takes note’ of the Dialogue and invites parties to consider its outcome in preparing their NDCs and in their efforts to enhance pre-2020 ambition.

Four qualified lawyers, two from private practice and two from academia, supported LRI’s work on the ground whilst volunteers in the London Situation Room and expert advisers from the LRI roster assisted with the advice service remotely. Overall we received 40 queries, mostly from particularly climate vulnerable developing country parties and the group of least developed countries. They reflected the ever-increasing number of subject areas under discussion as well as the dynamics of the negotiations: initially we undertook some broader research assignments, then helped to “word-smith” text and eventually were asked to help analyse the Katowice outcomes and explain what they could mean for national legislation.

LRI was also invited to showcase its work at a side event hosted by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Principles of Effective Capacity Building: Supporting the Implementation of the Paris Agreement. This was an opportunity, in particular, to showcase a pilot project developed over the last two years in Cameroon, which tests a ‘bottom-up’, or demand and community driven approach to law review and development.