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Chairs Summary

Meeting of the Major Economies Forum


April 19-20, 2015
The Major Economies Forum met in Washington, D.C. on April 19-20, 2015.
The meeting was chaired by U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline
Atkinson and attended by ministers and officials from 15 of the major
economies, with ministers and officials from the Maldives, New Zealand,
Norway, Peru, Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, and
Turkey also participating in the session. The co-Chairs of the ADP attended, as
did representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UN Secretary-Generals
Office.
Opening remarks were delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry and French
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Secretary Kerry stressed the urgency of
addressing climate change; its potentially serious impacts on national and
global security; the need to work pragmatically towards an agreement in
Paris; and the tremendous opportunities that the clean energy market
presents. Foreign Minister Fabius underscored the high expectations that the
world has for Paris, and the imperative to work towards solutions. He also
sketched out the four pillars needed for success in Paris: an agreement;
ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs); finance
and technology; and the role and contributions of non-state actors (the LimaParis Action Agenda).
Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru provided a summary of the recent
Lima informal meeting, noting the constructive nature of the discussions,
which focused on issues including: the components of the outcome that
Parties envision from Paris, including an agreement and supporting COP
decisions; treatment of adaptation and loss and damage, which are of
particular concern to the developing world; and the process towards Paris.
The Chair then led a tour de table on INDCs. Those Participants who have
already submitted their INDCs, including Mexico, Switzerland, the EU,
Norway, and the United States, provided short overviews of their
contributions. Other Participants discussed their ongoing INDC preparations,
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with some describing extensive domestic consultation processes, and many


providing timeframes for submissions. Many Participants noted the
importance of ambitious, timely, and transparent INDCs from the major
economies.
Participants discussed the accountability aspects of the Paris agreement,
with many noting the need for accountability to build confidence, promote
ambition, and promote participation by all.
In terms of the clarity of nationally determined contributions, there was
significant support for importing into the Paris agreement the content
of paragraph 14 of the Lima decision, which sets out the types of
information relevant to ensuring transparency, clarity and
understanding of INDCs;
Participants discussed whether the provision of such information
should be optional or required under the Paris agreement, and whether
the information in paragraph 14 is sufficient, or could be further built
upon, including through COP decisions;
A number of Participants cited the need for contributions to have an
unconditional aspect to enable Parties to understand what countries are
prepared to do on their own, thereby ensuring that Parties are
accountable under the new agreement. There was also general
agreement that Parties could include conditional components, setting
out what more could be done with international cooperation;
It was suggested that the agreement include a Workstream II equivalent
to address conditional components through cooperative action;
Participants generally saw the need for early agreement on rules in
relation to accounting, including in relation to transparency, markets,
and land use, with many Participants expressing support for a common
set of rules. Further discussion will be required to converge on the
nature of the rules, the extent to which they should be required versus
recommended, and the extent to which they need to be decided in Paris
or after Paris;
Many Participants considered it essential for the Paris agreement to call
upon Parties to report on their progress in implementing their
contributions, and for that progress to be reviewed. Parties were
supportive of a facilitative approach, and avoiding any adversarial or
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punitive processes. Some noted that we should build upon existing


review processes;
Different views were expressed on whether targets should or should not
be legally binding. Some Participants emphasized the importance of
legal bindingness in providing certainty. Others supported using
binding accountability features to meet concerns for certainty, noting
the importance of not adopting an approach that would reduce
participation in the agreement.

Participants expressed much support for reflecting differentiation in the


right way. Some Participants cited concerns about equity, which they
consider could be addressed by preserving the Conventions annex-based
differentiation. For other Participants, annex-based differentiation is
outdated and ineffective. There was discussion of the need for confidencebuilding between developed and developing countries, including in terms of
meeting existing commitments and of acknowledging changing economic and
emission realities. In terms of reflecting differentiation, there was
considerable agreement that LDCs and SIDs in particular need flexibility, as
well as a widespread expression of support for reflecting differentiation in
different ways in specific aspects of the Paris agreement:
With respect to mitigation, many considered that the selfdifferentiation inherent in the nationally determined approach is
the appropriate approach, particularly if a no backsliding
expectation is included. A couple Participants saw a difference
between nationally determined and self-differentiation. Some
Participants noted that on its own national determination is
insufficient, while others suggested that it be supplemented by an
expression of progression/direction of travel, dynamic cycles, and a
carve-out for LDCs. It was also noted that national determination is
supplemented de facto by expectations, and that these do not
actually need to be written down;
There was general agreement that adaptation, with the exception of
support for adaptation, is naturally differentiated based on Parties
varying national circumstances in respect to adaptation planning and
building resilience;
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On MRV, some Participants supported a common system with


flexibility for different Parties, and others supported leaving the
current system in place;
There was a vibrant discussion concerning support. Participants
agreed that developing countries are on the receiving end of support.
Some noted that the priority should be on the poor and most
vulnerable. On the donor end, many support an expanded base while
others consider that the responsibility remains solely on Annex
II/developed country Parties.
With respect to adaptation, all Participants noted the importance of
adaptation and the need to raise its profile in the agreement.
Some Participants expressed the view that the profile of adaptation
could be raised by including universal commitments in the agreement,
including in relation to national adaptation planning;
A couple Participants suggested cycles for adaptation, intended to
bring leadership attention to the issue; for others, adaptation is a key
feature of the INDCs and thus would be subject to some regular form of
reporting and review. At least one Participant questioned the utility of
adaptation cycles;
Another suggestion was for a commitment to cooperate on adaptation,
given that adaptation efforts are not always only local but may need to
be addressed at the regional and sub-regional levels;
There was general agreement that mitigation and adaptation are linked,
but some expressed strong concern about monetizing that link. Other
Participants acknowledged that the logic of attribution would be flawed,
and suggested that a global goal would be one way to conceptualize the
linkage.
Participants also engaged in a discussion about loss and damage to the
adverse impacts of climate change.
Participants noted the importance of the issue, especially for islands and
other particularly vulnerable countries;
Many also noted the importance of operationalizing the Warsaw
Mechanism, and there was general agreement that the Mechanism
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would need to continue, since the issue of loss and damage was not one
that would go away;
A number of Participants noted that the issue was not about
compensation or liability, and a couple Participants mentioned that the
issue could be framed as one of solidarity;
There were different views expressed on how Paris can address loss
and damage. Some suggested continuing to advance the issue under the
Convention. Others seek to include it in the new agreement.
Participants engaged in a robust discussion concerning ambition:
There was much support for the notion that one cannot judge the
ambition level of the Paris outcome solely based on the INDCs that are
submitted in 2015 that relate to the 2025 or 2030 timeframe;
There was general agreement regarding the need for a long-lasting
regime and for regular, harmonized updating of contributions (cycles),
with some stressing a forward progression component and others
stressing need for the updating to be informed by science; but there
were some different views on whether the cycles should be of 5 or 10
years;
A couple Participants also mentioned the importance of cycles and
ambition in relation not only to mitigation but to adaptation as well as
to support;
Some Participants expressed concern about any kind of assessment or
top-down review after future INDCs are submitted. Others noted that
perhaps reviews of overall implementation of the agreement should be
de-coupled from the period immediately after the submission of
INDCs;
Participants discussed the need for a long-term goal, with some noting
that this would send a signal to economic and other actors and help to
drive technological change;
There was some discussion about the idea of countries agreeing to
develop, within the next few years, strategies or scenarios for deep
decarbonization by 2050, and capturing these in written format,

although there was a caution that having to prepare such papers could
be divisive;
Participants generally welcomed the Lima-Paris Action Agenda plan to
encourage both pre-2020 action and engagement by businesses and
sub-national entities, including through their bringing forward pledges
for climate action. A couple Participants noted, however, that such
actions should support and reinforce, but not supplant, government
action;
A number of Participants expressed the view that the Paris package
should recognize the important role of non-state actors.
The session concluded with remarks by Peru and France, the current
Presidency and the incoming Presidency, respectively, on the Road to Paris.
France noted the importance of capturing the progress made in sessions,
especially points of convergence. Participants emphasized the short time
remaining before Paris and the need to make the most of both the informal
meetings and the remaining negotiating sessions, while noting that informal
meetings should not overshadow the ADP process. Suggestions for using the
remaining limited time effectively included focusing intensively on the major
contentious issues and on socializing solutions.