Twentieth Meeting of the Leaders’ Representatives

21-22 September 2014 – New York, NY

Twentieth Meeting of the Leaders’ Representatives

The Major Economies Forum met in New York on September 21-22, 2014. The meeting was chaired by U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson and attended by ministers and officials from the 17 major economies, with ministers and officials from Denmark, Grenada, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Tanzania also participating in the session. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and the co-Chairs of the ADP also attended.

In her opening remarks, the Chair highlighted the need to stay on track for a robust agreement in Paris in 2015, noting that the Lima meeting will be important to achieving that shared goal and that there is evidence of a heightened resolve to work with a unity of purposes toward that goal. Participants then received a read-out on the third Climate Finance Ministerial meeting, held just before, from Norwegian Minister of the Environment Kristine Sundtoft.

For the first time, the meeting included a Foreign Minister’s Session, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Foreign Ministers stressed the urgency of addressing climate change and noted the links between climate change and global, national, and energy security. They exchanged views on how best to build upon the current momentum regarding climate change and how best to harness political will, as well as stressed the need to approach the Lima conference and the Paris agreement constructively and cooperatively. Some noted that the 2015 agreement will be a vital step forward but not the final step towards solving climate change. Many underscored the importance of major economies putting forward ambitious mitigation contributions. Ministers noted the importance of high-level political forums to ensure a successful outcome in 2015. In this context, they recommended meeting again in the lead up to Paris in 2015. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Peruvian Foreign Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel provided closing remarks.

MEF Participants focused on deepening their understanding of, and identifying potential ways forward on, the two key sets of issues for Lima: those issues surrounding “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) and those related to the Paris agreement.

Regarding the "scope" of INDCs, all Participants agreed that INDCs must include mitigation. Some Participants expressed the view that other issues such as adaptation and finance could or should be included in INDCs, to ensure that these issues receive adequate attention. Other Participants noted that these important issues will be features of the Paris agreement. A number of participants also expressed concern about overloading the INDCs, in part given the short time left to prepare them. In considering whether there should be differentiation as to the upfront information that accompanies INDCs, Participants generally agreed that clarifying information would reflect "technical" differentiation, in that not all types of information would be relevant for every type of contribution. That said, some Participants noted the need for further "political" differentiation based on Annex I and non-Annex I categories; others opposed such an approach. Regarding the consultative period, Participants generally considered it has an important role in trust-building, that it need not be overly engineered, and that it should be non-confrontational, with Parties presenting their INDCs and responding to questions from other Parties at the June and fall sessions.

The ADP Co-Chairs provided a useful update on their thinking regarding the elements of a draft negotiating text, noting that they would appreciate further input from Parties, in particular on what should be part of the core agreement and what could be captured in complementary decisions. The discussion then turned to accountability aspects of the agreement in relation to mitigation contributions, including topics such as transparency, rules/norms, updating of contributions, and possible provisions to promote compliance/implementation.

Regarding adaptation, Participants emphasized its importance and exchanged views on how the 2015 agreement could enhance adaptation planning and action. Some expressed the view that the agreement should encourage countries to integrate adaptation into their domestic planning and development processes.

Twentieth Meeting of the Leaders’ Representatives