The Long Road to a Common Understanding: Sustainable Development and Article 6 of the Paris Agreement

Sven Braden, Karen Holm Olsen

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Article 6 of the Paris Agreement aims to increase NDC ambition by mitigating emissions through voluntary cooperation among Parties. Such cooperation is pursued in three different ways: 1) decentralized cooperative approaches that involve
Internationally transferable mitigation outcomes (ITMOs, described in Art. 6.2), 2) a centralized mechanism that generates emission reductions and contributes to sustainable development (Art. 6.4) and/or 3) non-market approaches (Art. 6.8). The three approaches not only differ in scope and governance. The mandate for developing the Article 6 “rulebook” also anticipates different regulatory outcomes for each approach. While cooperative approaches (Art. 6.2) will be regulated
by guidance, the Article 6.4 mechanism calls for rules, modalities and procedures. The fact that Article 6.8 only mandates a work programme reveals that the architectural determination of the framework for non-market approaches is still open. Between 2017 and 2018 the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) examined the positions of all Parties on the draft Article 6 rulebook in order to seek a better understanding of SD in the context of voluntary cooperation, see CMR 03-2018.
The SDI identified six issues that were brought up by Parties and that may be relevant for SD promotion: Governance, Safeguards, Stakeholder Inclusivity, SD Indicators, SD Assessment and Transparency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCarbon Mechanisms Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)26-31
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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