Bangkok climate talks discuss adaptation efforts under the Paris Agreement

With little time left until the start of the new climate change regime in 2020, delegations from across the world met in Bangkok from 4-9 September 2018, to discuss how to finalise the guidance for the operationalisation of the Paris Agreement at COP24 in December 2018 in Poland. 
10 September 2018, UNCC, Bangkok, Thailand: The Bangkok negotiations demonstrated that the Paris Agreement is still on the right path to support and catalyse enhanced climate action. According to the UNFCCC, however, there was overall uneven progress on the guidelines that will tell the world how to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
This extra negotiating session was held to streamline the negotiation texts and reduce the options that will be presented to Ministers to the extent possible, in order to push forward towards a successful outcome at the Paris Agreement Summit that will be held in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.
The Fijian COP23 President, Prime Minister Frank Banimarama, injected a sense of urgency into the discussions during the opening session. ‘In our global effort to confront climate change, tens of millions of words have been spoken and nearly as many promises have been made to the people we represent,” he said.  “Now we must make hard decisions for the common good and defend them.’ 
Adaptation under the Paris Agreement
Climate change adaptation has a prominent place in the agenda of the Paris Agreement package. In Bangkok, adaptation was central to the discussions on Adaptation Communications, the Transparency Framework, the Global Stocktake, and other key issues.
Adaptation Communications is a new instrument introduced by the Paris Agreement for governments to share information on their adaptation ambitions, efforts and needs. It can be part of existing instruments, such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), or can be prepared as a separate document. All Adaptation Communications must be made publicly available through a dedicated registry. In Bangkok, discussions centered around the content, level of detail and form of the guidelines – whether there should be one universal guidelines for all channels through which they can be submitted or tailored ones.
The Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement ensures that countries share information through regular reporting on their efforts and needs to combat climate change effectively in line with their climate ambitions. The provision of complete and comprehensive climate information and multilateral exchange on the reported information are generally considered as important elements for securing transparency by most countries. However, many developing countries indicate that they face challenges with data collection and human capacity and need support for reporting. The Paris Agreement Summit in Katowice, Poland, must adopt the modalities, procedures and guidelines for this framework. In Bangkok, tangible progress was made towards finalising the informal draft texts.
There was much urgent discussion in Bangkok on the progress of countries towards meeting their ambitions to achieve the global climate change mitigation goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees C by 2030. Central to this was the Global Stocktake, a new process introduced with the Paris Agreement, by which efforts to undertake climate action will be regularly assessed ex-post. The Global Stocktake will take place for the first time in 2023 and every five years afterwards. The discussions in Bangkok frame the Global Stocktake as a process during the course of a year, rather than a single event, with a technical and a political phase, similar to the Talanoa Dialogue, which is more ex-ante oriented.  It is very likely that in practice, this process will require solid preparation of information by countries at least a few years in advance. The decision in Katowice will provide clarity on what information will be needed and how this process will work.
The Adaptation Committee and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Finance are preparing recommendations on how to recognise climate change adaptation efforts in developing countries, what methodologies should be used to quantify adaptation efforts and how can sufficient support for adaptation be mobilised through various sources, including the private sector. The Technology Framework of the Paris Agreement will seek to upscale and speed up mitigation and adaptation action through technological solutions. Good progress was made in Bangkok on explicating the added value and extra features of this framework compared to existing arrangements for technology transfer. For both issues a decision will be taken in Katowice.
In the margins of the Bangkok sessions, the joint UNDP-UN Environment National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) team met with many developing and least developed countries to discuss enhanced support for national adaptation planning and effective support to the UNFCCC negotiations.