With the entry into force of the Paris Agreement just days before the commencement of the Marrakech climate change meetings, the scene was set for an upbeat and busy two weeks of negotiations to progress issues relating to the operationalization of the Paris Agreement.

At the opening session of the COP, the Moroccan COP Presidency outlined its desire to see concrete action in Marrakech, focussing on enhanced ambition, promoting implementation and providing support and finance to vulnerable countries. As an African COP, a key issue was to ensure that opportunities to address mitigation and adaptation on that continent were kept in the spotlight.

Another priority of the Presidency was to progress the Global Climate Action Agenda being led by the High-Level Champions, Ms. Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for climate change and Ms. Hakima El Haite, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment of Morocco. The Champions had developed a roadmap focused on mobilising stronger and more ambitious climate action by all Parties and non-Party stakeholders and were looking to promote greater engagement with sub-national governments, cities and civil society, including the private sector, through a high-level event in week two.

Parties welcomed the recent decisions by parties to the Montreal Protocol to reach agreement on amendments to accelerate the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector. There was also much talk about how the market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement might link with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreed to by ICAO.

The early entry into force of the Paris Agreement enabled the first meeting of the parties (CMA1) to the Paris Agreement to be commenced. One of the first issues to be addressed by the COP Presidency was how to manage the CMA-1 agenda, recognising that many of the decisions that need to be taken on modalities and procedures under the Paris Agreement still had to be negotiated and agreed.

Despite the uncertainty (and dismay) that swept over the COP in the first week following the outcome of the US election, by the end of the first week an attitude of resolve had set in that global action under the Paris Agreement would move forward, with the US or without. Click here for an overview of what a change in US policy may mean for the Paris Agreement.