UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP-25)

UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP-25)

December 2-13

Santiago, Chile

Parque Bicentenario Cerrillos (ex aeropuerto de Santiago)

The COP decided at its 24th session that COP 25 will take place in Chile.The pre-sessional period will be November 26 – December 1, 2019. COP 25 / CMP 15 / CMA 2 will be organized at Parque Bicentenario Cerrillos (ex aeropuerto de Santiago) in Santiago de Chile.

United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019

United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019

September 23, 2019

New York, NY

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene a summit to mobilize political and economic energy at the highest levels to advance climate action that will enable implementation of many of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The UN 2019 Climate Summit will convene on the theme, ‘Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.’ It will seek to challenge states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens to step up action in six areas: energy transition, climate finance and carbon pricing, industry transition, nature-based solutions, cities and local action, and resilience.

In preparation for the Summit, nine coalitions have been established in order to ensure transformative outcomes, according to a briefing for Member States.

The Summit will build on the outcomes of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) and the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, among others.

The Climate Action Summit 2019 will take place the same week as the 2019 High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) and the first HLPF meeting under UNGA auspices opens, among other high-level discussions and in parallel to the opening of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74).

USCIB Geneva Week-Business in Society: Shared Values

USCIB will hold its second annual Geneva Week trip for members and prospects May 6-10, 2019 under the theme: “Business in Society: Shared Values.” 

USCIB is pleased to announce that meetings with the following organizations are now confirmed: U.S. Mission, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additional meetings will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Please check this page for updates.

The purpose of Geneva Week is to generate valuable conversations and connections between the U.S. business community and UN Agencies, Missions to the UN-Geneva, and other important Permanent Representatives in Geneva. It is a week-long opportunity to:

  • highlight your company’s work and policy priorities in the areas of health care, intellectual property, nutrition and sustainability;
  • demonstrate business’ commitment and contributions towards shared goals; and
  • raise any key concerns you may have regarding the intersection of international policy making and global business.

USCIB’s targets for interactions include senior management from several Geneva-based UN Agencies and Permanent Missions, including:

Agencies Include:

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • UN Environment’s Chemicals and Wastes division

Missions Include:

  • U.S. Mission to the UN
  • Australian Mission to the UN
  • Brazilian Mission to the UN
  • Canadian Mission to the UN
  • EU Mission to the UN
  • Japanese Mission to the UN
  • UK Mission to the UN

Our desired outcome from the week is to build and strengthen relationships in support of continued and ongoing communication between Geneva-based institutions and the business community, as well as to ensure that UN Agencies and Missions clearly understand:

  • Our shared values – how and where the synergies and areas of cooperation exist between business and multi-lateral institutions – and
  • Our concerns regarding business access and business’ license to operate

Participation in USCIB’s Geneva Week is by invitation only, and costs a fee of $750.00. As spaces are limited, please contact Mia Lauter (mlauter@uscib.org) to RSVP or to receive more information.

USCIB Briefs Members on New Business and Society Initiatives 

L-R: Tom Woods (Wilton Park Foundation) and Mike Michener (USCIB)

USCIB held a special briefing on April 8 in Washington, DC with leading members, USCIB staff and the U.S. Department of State focusing on how USCIB is responding to challenges in the multilateral system around business and society.

Over thirty participants attended the briefing, hosted by USCIB member Beveridge and Diamond, including Director of the Office of Economic and Development Affairs from the U.S. Department of State Margy Bond, President of Woods International and Chairman of the Wilton Park USA Foundation Tom Woods and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. USCIB members in attendance included representatives from AT&T, Bayer, Cargill, Chevron, DHL Express, KPMG, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, among others.

Bond, who gave a keynote address, noted that USCIB members have been a driving force for constructive business engagement at the United Nations and emphasized that the U.S. government is focused on enhancing private sector involvement at and partnerships with the UN, which will not only help achieve global goals but also help promote growth and create jobs in the United States.

However, as business is expected to step up and provide the investment, innovation and capacity to scale solutions that can solve the world’s largest problems, USCIB members find themselves increasingly in the cross-hairs as anti-business sentiment continues to find traction among policymakers, NGOs and UN entities around the world.

“Our overriding concern is to promote trust and partnership between governments, international organizations and the private sector,” said Robinson. “All too often in recent years, we have seen the public and private sectors set against each other in international forums. We need to move beyond this, so that we can, together, tackle important global challenges like climate change, public health and nutrition, human rights and many others.”

With regards to trust, another value add to this meeting was an overview of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer by Edelman Intelligence Managing Director  Kari Butcher. Butcher gave insight into the findings of this year’s report and how business can use the data in the report to move forward on solving today’s societal challenges.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss and learn about three new initiatives launched by the USCIB Foundation to respond to these challenges, as well as opportunities for greater engagement through USCIB. These new initiatives are designed to strengthen the pivotal role business plays in furtherance of the 2030 Agenda with regards to nutrition-related SDGs, inclusive engagement of business in key UN forums, and the private sector’s role as a trusted partner in meeting the challenges facing society.

Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s international strategic engagement and USCIB’s All in Campaign emphasized that, “the private sector brings value to the United Nations system. Its success is our success.”

The initiatives that were presented to members include:

  • Together for Nutrition Principles– a joint project between The USCIB Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the Wilton Park Foundation defining a set of principles for public-private sector engagement to advance the nutrition-related SDGs.
  • All In Campaign– an initiative bringing policymakers and global businesses together in key UN cities to begin a global conversation on opportunities for inclusive engagement with businesses from all industry sectors as essential to meeting the SDG goals and other 2015 outcomes.
  • Business in Society: A Crisis of Trust – a USCIB Foundation project that aims to better understand and influence attitudes and behaviors among policymakers through data, analysis and education to demonstrate that business can be profitable and still be trusted partners in meeting societal challenges.

Moving forward, all of the above will be highlighted in USCIB’s 2nd Annual Geneva Week May 6-10, the first All In Campaign Roundtable scheduled to take place in Geneva during Geneva Week, a planned event on the impact of business SDG partnerships on the margins of the High Level Political Forum in July in New York, as well as additional planned All In Campaign roundtables in cities around the world.  USCIB encourages members to participate and welcomes feedback.

Business & Society – Creating Shared Values: USCIB Responds

April 8, 2019
1p.m. – 4:30p.m.
(reception to follow)

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.
1350 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC

USCIB will hold a special briefing featuring conversations among USCIB staff and leading members on how USCIB is responding to the challenges around Business & Society. As business is expected to step up and provide the investment, innovation and capacity to scale solutions that can solve the world’s largest problems, USCIB members find themselves increasingly in the cross-hairs as anti-business sentiment continues to flourish among policymakers in forums around the world.

In response to this challenge and opportunity, USCIB has launched three new initiatives designed to show the pivotal role business plays in furtherance of the 2030 Agenda:

  • Together for Nutrition Principles – a joint project between The USCIB Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the Wilton Park Foundation defining a set of principles for public-private sector engagement to advance the nutrition-related SDGs.
  • All In Campaign – an advocacy campaign bringing policymakers and global businesses together in key UN cities to engage in dialogues to advance opportunities for inclusive engagement with business from all industry sectors as essential to meeting the SDG goals.
  • Business in Society: A Crisis of Trust – a USCIB Foundation initiative that aims to influence attitudes and behaviors among policymakers through data, analysis and education to arrive at a common understanding that business can be profitable and still be a trusted partner in meeting the challenges facing society.

Join us as we discuss our work to date on these initiatives as well as what’s planned for the year ahead and beyond and how you can get involved. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks and a formal invitation will follow.

For more information, please contact Alison Hoiem, Senior Director, Member Services (ahoiem@uscib.org).

UN Environment Assembly Advances Ambitious Environmental Policy Agenda

4th UN Environment Assembly

The world’s highest-level decision-making body on environmental policy the Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) met in Nairobi, Kenya, from March 11 – 15 under the overarching theme “Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production”. A record number of 5,000 delegates from 179 countries, NGOs and business attended. Many stayed on for the 2nd round of deliberations on a proposed UN Global Pact for Environment (GPE) from March 18 -20.

USCIB members, including the American Chemistry Council, Croplife, IBM, 3M and Novozymes, and USCIB staff were involved in several events during and alongside the UNEA4 conference and subsequent GPE deliberations.

USCIB worked closely with the U.S. government delegation attending the meeting, and held a roundtable for members in Nairobi with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marcia Bernicat and other administration officials.

Speaking at a high-level dinner for government delegations convened by Global Business Alliance for the Environment (GBA4E), Norine Kennedy, USCIB vice president for environment, energy and strategic international engagement, stated that U.S. business regards the 17 SDGs as the blueprint of integrated objectives for environment, social, development, and economic policy and actions.

“It will take ‘out of box’ thinking by governments and business  to implement systems-thinking and systems-doing approaches on environmental protection,” said Kennedy.

The 2nd substantive deliberations on a proposed UN Global Pact for the Environment (GPE) continued member state consideration of the substance and form of a possible Pact, intended to:

  • address “gaps” in international environmental law,
  • reach consistency on existing (such as “polluter pays” and “precautionary” principles) and new (such as “planetary boundaries” and “rights of mother earth”) “soft law” environmental principles
  • improve coordination across existing multilateral agreements and environment related instruments.

Although UNEA4 reviewed options for policy cooperation and action on a wide range of environmental matters, the main political momentum focussed solidly on addressing plastic waste, especially in the form of marine debris and/or single-use plastics.  Governments proposed three separate resolutions on marine debris, and India added a fourth resolution on single-use plastics.  Numerous NGOs on hand also targeted plastic waste and called for a treaty and ban on plastics, citing environmental impact and its indirect link to climate change through petro-chemicals.  The eventual outcomes of UNEA4 stopped short of launching a legally binding treaty negotiation on these matters, but expectations that political pressure will continue to build behind these challenges remains high.

UNEA4 received and reviewed two major international environmental agenda-setting reports: the 6th Global Environmental Outlook (GEO6) and the Report of the International Resources Panel (IRP). These will likely drive international policymakers’ attention, much as the IPCC findings are significant rationale for climate policy. Other science-policy connections discussed at UNEA-4 included attention to big data and geo-observation. The 2 reports present scientific expert analysis relating to resource scarcity and health impacts of environmental degradation, and highlight priorities that will surely be considered in further international policy discussions. The IRP report considers the possibility of Science Based Targets for finite resources, applicable to business.

Government deliberations on proposed UN Global Pact for Environment concluded with a wide range of views and little evident consensus, beyond general support for the importance of strengthening implementation of international environmental law.  Government delegations continued to discuss different definitions of what constituted “gaps” and “challenges” relating to international environmental law.  Delegates considered different forms a Pact might take, including a declaration of the UN General Assembly, or additional mandated activity in UNEnvironment, or a legally binding instrument, or some combination of those and other outcomes.

The GPE deliberations resume from May 20 – 22, again in Nairobi.

The next UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5) takes place in February 2021.

At B20, Robinson Stresses Need for International Cooperation

Peter Robinson at the B20 in Japan

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Japan the week of March 11 for the B20 Summit, alongside other business leaders such as John Denton, secretary general and Paul Polman, chair of the International Chamber of CommercePhil O’Reilly, chair and Russell Mills, secretary general of Business at OECD, as well as Erol Kiresepi, chairman of the International Organization of Employers.

Robinson spoke on a panel titled, “Global Economy for All: International Cooperation for Global Governance.” In his remarks, Robinson proposed looking at international cooperation from two perspectives: strengthening global institutions and rules, while also encouraging bottom-up approaches and a general spirit of cooperation, rather than confrontation, in international economic relations.

“For the foreseeable future, we will need to accept that many electorates and governments view the world through a more nationalistic, mercantilist lens,” said Robinson. “We need to demonstrate the value in international cooperation, not just through new binding rules and official structures, but through voluntary, bottom-up initiatives. Efforts such as the Paris Climate Agreement, or the plurilateral agreements being pursued by WTO members on several issues including digital trade, should be welcomed and encouraged.”

Throughout the course of the panel, Robinson also touched upon trade conflicts with China, WTO modernization, and the need to radically reform education, job training and retraining approaches around the world.

Robinson also called out climate change as being a crucial long-term global challenge. “Climate impacts everything – economic growth, jobs, health care, where people live,” stressed Robinson. “We therefore need to view climate and energy policy in a more holistic manner.”

The Japan Times covered the B20 and quoted Robinson in their piece, “At B20 in Tokyo, World Business Leaders Urge Stronger Cooperation on Looming Challenges.” The Japan Times quoted Robinson emphasizing that “The American business community still believes in open trade, globalization and multilateralism.”

Robinson also applauded the B20’s prioritization of adoption and dissemination of artificial intelligence to ensure that AI development deployment remains “human-centric”. This issue will be a big focus of the digital economy conference that USCIB is organizing with Business at OECD (BIAC) and the OECD on March 25 in Washington, DC.

Global Pact for Environment Negotiation Fails to Reach Consensus

This first negotiating session was mandated by the UN General Assembly to review “gaps” and “fragmentation” of international environmental law, and consider the substance and form of a Global Pact.
Countries raising strong concerns included the United States with Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Russia and Iran.

 

Joining an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) delegation representing business interests, USCIB attended the first substantive inter-governmental negotiations on a UN Global Pact for the Environment (GPE), hosted at the headquarters of UN Environment in Nairobi, Kenya January 14 – 18.  ICC also held a preparatory meeting on the proposed GPE in Paris on January 8, attended by USCIB members American Chemistry Council, Arkema, Bayer, Monsanto and Novozymes, along with USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy.

This first negotiating session was mandated by the UN General Assembly to review “gaps” and “fragmentation” of international environmental law, and consider the substance and form of a Global Pact. Some countries recommended the Pact should be a legally binding treaty that codifies “soft law” principles, such as the Precautionary and Polluter Pays principles. Other countries also suggested including rights-based approaches to a “clean and healthy environment.”

The Nairobi meeting, chaired by Ambassadors of Lebanon and Portugal, was open to observers from non-governmental and business organizations.  The session reviewed a report from the UN Secretary General on Gaps in International Environmental Law and Environment Related Instruments.

Countries supporting the development of a holistic Pact, possibly including codified environmental principles, improved coordination and implementation of existing environmental agreements and defining environmental human rights, included the European Union bloc, Switzerland, Micronesia, Morocco, Peru and Senegal.

Countries raising strong concerns included the United States with Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Russia and Iran.

Most other countries expressed more nuanced views along with questions about practicality, efficacy, political viability and other areas.

“The proposed Pact opens a complex set of legal and regulatory issues, yet has not defined any actual environmental challenges that it would address,” stated Kennedy. “Until that is clear, USCIB will continue to raise questions about whether such a Pact would actually improve implementation of international environmental rules.”

The session closed with no consensus on the substance or form of a proposed Pact. Two further sessions in Nairobi are to deliver a recommendation to the UN General Assembly this September for next steps to develop a GPE. The next UN negotiating session from March 18-20 will seek to reach a common understanding on what constitutes a “gap” in international environmental law, as a precursor to seeking to agree specific “gaps” and remedies that might be set out in a UN Global Pact.

New Video Highlights USCIB’s Value Add

USCIB has launched a new video highlighting the organization’s policy expertise, close working relationship with decision makers and links to key international business organizations. The video features many of USCIB’s policy experts including USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, USCIB Senior Director for Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy and USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. (See video below.)

The video was presented at USCIB’s 2018 International Leadership Award Gala, which honored Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

Update from the Field: Hunting for “Landing Zones” at Climate Change Conference in Poland

Norine Kennedy at COP24
COP24 is to finalize a so-called Paris Rulebook, which will provide implementation guidance on how countries put the Paris Agreement into action.
Crucial to business will be outcomes on carbon markets.

 

The 24th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24) began on Sunday, December 2 and will run through December 14 under the Presidency of Poland, in Katowice, Poland.  On Saturday night, the negotiating groups delivered a first round of outcomes to be taken up by the Ministers arriving for the 2nd week.  Many key business issues remain incomplete or “in brackets” in the current draft “Paris Rulebook,” intended to guide putting the Paris Agreement into action.  For the week ahead, high level government representatives will be seeking “landing zones” to resolve remaining substantial divisions.

Over 30,000 are in attendance here, including USCIB members Arkema, Chevron, Mars, Novozymes and Salesforce, joining USCIB staff Norine Kennedy and Mia Lauter in tracking the complex discussions, meeting with U.S. and other government delegations and partnering with key business groups.  Here in Katowice, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) serves as focal point for business, convening daily meetings to share intelligence and organizing the UNFCCC Business Day on December 6.

Sticking topics have included provision of how to treat compensation for loss and damage, financial support to developing countries for greenhouse gas reductions and technology cooperation, the design of elements relating to carbon markets and different rules and practices that would apply to developing and developed countries. Delegates are talking about the IPCC1.5 Special Report, worrying increases in greenhouse gas emissions and tensions in France sparked by the proposed fuel tax, since rescinded by the Government of France.

COP24 is to finalize a so-called Paris Rulebook, which will provide implementation guidance on how countries put the Paris Agreement into action.

“So far, negotiations have proceeded predictably, albeit too slowly to conclude in time,” observed Kennedy, who leads USCIB policy work on the environment and climate change. “The complexity of technical and political issues obscures the real challenge: mobilizing private sector investment and innovation at a pace and scale that would advance the UNFCCC and Paris objectives.”

According to Kennedy, the general feeling among delegates is that a fair amount of political will, particularly among high-level representatives and Ministers of Environment, will be required in order to successfully conclude.

“There is no one issue that is dominating conversations,” added Kennedy. “Rather, the sheer number of issues to be negotiated and the level of technicality those issues present is daunting for Parties to manage (or business representatives to track).”

The smaller than usual U.S. delegation here is led by Trigg Talley, and includes other State Department, Energy and EPA representatives.  Next week, Assistant Secretary of State Judy Garber and Wells Griffith (White House) arrive for the high-level portion of the negotiations.

Crucial to business will be outcomes on carbon markets. Countries seem to be falling into one of two camps:

  • The view of the U.S. is that any exchange – known as an ITMO (internationally transferred mitigation outcome) – should remain between the countries undertaking the transaction, and that both countries would agree their accounting and other arrangements accordingly.
  • Other parties take the view that ITMO approval should come through a centralized UNFCCC body, and that some share of the transactions (“a share of the proceeds”) should be allocated to a central fund or other UNFCCC-determined purpose.

Also crucial to business will be the potential adoption of the Silesian Declaration on Just Transition proposed by the Polish Presidency. Many parties support the Declaration, but others feel that they haven’t had enough time to examine the proposal.

“We are flagging the number of climate topics that are spilling into other forums and key issues, such as human rights and trade,” said Kennedy. “Following discussions with the U.S. Delegation here, USCIB has asked the State Department to stand firm against any intention to use participation in the Paris Agreement as a litmus test for trade policies among nations.”

Kennedy also observed that protesters and some social media accounts continue to complain about the presence of business at COP24, asserting that their involvement here constitutes a “conflict of interest” and interferes with the ability of governments to reach an ambitious agreement.  In the week ahead, USCIB members and staff will continue to express U.S. business priorities, working closely with the Administration to promote energy innovation and advance substantive business engagement.