18, November 2016

1.Marrakech Action Proclamation sends out strong signal on climate-   Pre-2020 action:

Source: The Hindu

Nations at COP22 also got together to launch the 2050 Pathways platform.

The nearly 200 nations attending the UN climate summit here, adopted the Marrakech Action Proclamation sending out a strong signal to the world on climate action.

  • 90 countries and delegations from other UN member countries issued this proclamation, a key document emerging from the negotiations at COP22, to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

The 2050 pathways platform will support countries seeking to develop long-term deep decarbonisation strategies, including through the sharing of resources, knowledge and experiences, an official statement. It will also build a broader constellation of cities, states, and companies engaged in long-term low-emissions planning of their own, and in support of the national strategies, the statement added.

Climate finance stressed:

  • The countries also called for an increase in the volume, flow and access to finance for climate projects, alongside improved capacity and technology, including from developed to developing countries.
  • The Developed Country Parties reaffirm USD $100 billion mobilisation goal to developing countries.
  • The nations, who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (which does not include the U.S.) also encouraged the speedy ratification of the Doha Amendment with its focus on pre-2020 action.

Ministers of Basic Countries meet to take Stock of Progress at COP 22

  • The Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASICS) met today in Marrakech, Morocco, to take stock of the progress achieved thus far in the Marrakech Climate Conference.
  • Ministers vowed to continue and strengthen the leadership role their countries have demonstrated – both in negotiations in the UNFCCC and in terms of concrete action on the ground, to reduce emissions, and to adapt to climate change impacts.

UN meet calls for combating climate change on urgent priority

22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change… issue this proclamation to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

The countries in the proclamation said that their task now is to rapidly build on to that momentum, together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The proclamation also called on nations to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, encourage the ratification of the Doha Amendment

This point in the proclamation assumes significance especially as India had asked the developed countries to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol by April next year to raise the ambition of climate actions in the pre-2020 period.

Background of Kyoto protocol:

  • The 1997 Kyoto Protocol demanded targeted emission cuts from rich and industrialised countries, mainly responsible for causing global warming.
  • The protocol which came into effect in 2005 was to initially run until 2012, comes to an end in 2020.
  • Though many countries failed to achieve these targets, fresh targets in a second commitment period running till 2020 were decided at the 2012 climate change conference in Doha through what came to be called the Doha Amendment to Kyoto Protocol.
  • Paris Agreement was supposed to be a post-2020 climate agreement, replacing the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2020. However, earlier than expected entry into force of Paris Agreement means that the two agreements will run in parallel till the year 2020.

UN members who collectively, call on all non-state actors to join us for immediate and ambitious action and mobilisation, building on their important achievements, noting the many initiatives and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action itself, launched in Marrakech.

  1. India is ‘non-committal’ about market economy tag for China

Source: The Hindu

Beijing cites 2001 protocol that status be made effective from Dec. 2016

Beijing has said WTO member countries must fulfil their promise to deem China a ‘market economy’ from Dec 2016

Provisions in the ‘Protocol on the accession of China to the WTO’ in 2001. But India is not inclined to automatically grant the coveted ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China this Dec under WTO norms.

India and other nations:

Howeve , Granting MES to China will severely curb the ability of nations including India to impose anti-dumping duties on “unfairly priced” Chinese imports. Of the 535 cases where anti-dumping duties were imposed by India during 1994 to 2014, a maximum of 134 has been on goods from China

Solution: To refuse China the ‘MES’, India has taken sides with the U.S. and European Union in stand is that in ‘market economies’ where prices of items are market determined (based on demand & supply conditions)

But, there is still a significant government influence in the Chinese market.

The intention will be to ensure India’s manufacturing sector is not hit by unfairly priced Chinese goods. Several nations that have a strong manufacturing base are concerned about according MES to China, While nations in Africa and Latin America — dependant on Chinese investments to boost manufacturing — are inclined to grant MES to China.

WTO Protocol:

There is a clause in the 2001 Protocol, according to which countries need to grant the MES only after China has established that it is a ‘market economy’ “under the national law of the importing WTO Member” — something that allows a country to contend that China might be able to establish itself as a market economy only in the case of some goods, and not all.

  1. India hopes Bhutan will ratify vehicles pact

Source: The Hindu

Opposition parties in Bhutan, wary of an increase in pollution, have been stalling the process

India’s hope Bhutan ratify:

Despite a vote in Bhutan’s National Council (NC) disallowing the sub-SAARC motor vehicle zone among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN), India hopes Bhutan will join the grouping “at an early date”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Asked if the National Council’s decision on Wednesday — not to ratify the ‘Motor Vehicles Agreement’ (MVA), defeating the government’s proposition 13 votes to 2 — was a setback for India, MEA.

India, Bangladesh and Nepal

  • India, Bangladesh and Nepal have already ratified the MVA, after Foreign Ministers of the BBIN nations signed an agreement to allow ease of motor vehicular traffic on June 15, 2015 and diplomats did a trial run among the countries.
  • Along with its potential as a road link that will extend to rail and waterways reducing circuitous shipping routes by 1,000 km, the BBIN grouping is also seen as India’s way of countering Pakistan in the SAARC grouping.
  • The MVA was first proposed by Prime Minister at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in 2014, but Pakistan refused to ratify it, as a consequence of which land-locked Afghanistan had to stay out as well.

Bhutan present position:

  • Bhutan’s National Assembly or Lower House had cleared the Bill and forwarded it to the National Council or Upper House in July 2016.
  • However, protests from the Opposition, mainly over environmental concerns of vehicular pollution increasing have derailed the process.
  • In the 25-member National Council, the government faced sharp questions on the number of vehicles that would be allowed into the country via the Southern trading point of Phuentsholing and road capacities

Conclusion:

  • Officials say if the Bhutanese government decides to give the agreement another chance, it could ask for a joint sitting of both Houses to clear the MVA, or to bring it back to the National Council after a year, according to the rules of procedure.
  • In the meanwhile, the BIN (Bangladesh-India-Nepal) countries could go ahead with building their logistics.


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