On 12 December 2015, the 196 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement. The outcome has great importance for the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) who had engaged actively in the negotiations and who are among the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
The Paris Climate Agreement reinforces the need to increase efforts to limit the rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To ensure compliance with this goal, the Agreement reaffirms both “top-down” instruments such as the compliance mechanism and transparency system, as well as the “bottom-up” framework, under which each country makes its own “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The Agreement thus allows for a mixture of mandatory and voluntary approaches towards climate actions.
Taking the universal nature of the agreement and the broad range of economic activities that can contribute to reducing emissions into account, this dialogue explored the role of trade in tackling climate change and in ensuring that countries support their respective climate change policy objectives. The focus was on how LDCs can leverage trade to strengthen climate resilience and exploit market opportunities emerging from the low-carbon economy.
ICTSD was represented by Ingrid Jegou, Director of Climate, Energy, and Natural Resources, who spoke about the role of trade policy to help achieve the commitment to the Paris Agreement and its implications in particular for LDCs.