New research article on face-to-face account-giving in multilateral climate transparency processes

A recent article by Aarti Gupta, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Nila Kamil, Amy Ching and Nadia Bernaz in the journal Climate Policy analyses how novel, face-to-face, account-giving processes for developing countries, referred to as ‘Facilitative Sharing of Views’, are functioning within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and what these processes help to shed light on. It analyses the nature and scope of the ‘answerability’ being generated within these novel processes, including what state-to-state questioning and responses focus on, and what ‘performing’ accountability in this manner delivers within multilateral climate politics. The authors find that a limited number of countries actively question each other within the FSV process, with a primary focus on sharing information about the technical and institutional challenges of establishing domestic ‘measuring, reporting and verification’ systems and, to lesser extent, mitigation actions. Less attention is given to reporting on support. A key aim is to facilitate learning, both from the process and from each other. Much effort is expended on legitimizing the FSV process in anticipation of its continuation in adapted form under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Here are their key policy insights:

  • We analyse developing country engagement in novel face-to-face account-giving processes under the UNFCCC
  • Analysis of four sessions of the ‘Facilitative Sharing of Views’ reveals a focus on horizontal peer-to-peer learning
  • States question each other more on GHG emission inventories and domestic MRV systems and less on mitigation and support
  • We find that limited time and capacity to engage, one-off questioning rather than a dialogue, and lack of recommended follow-up actions risks generating ‘ritualistic’ answerability
  • Such account-giving also intentionally sidesteps contentious issues such as responsibility for ambitious and fair climate action but may still help to build trust
  • Much effort is expended on ‘naming and praising’ participant countries and legitimizing the process

The article is fully open access and can be found here.

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