Accountability or Accounting? Elaboration of the Paris Agreement’s Implementation and Compliance Committee at cop 23

In: Climate Law

This article provides an analysis of progress regarding the modalities and procedures for the Paris Agreement’s Implementation and Compliance Committee up to cop 23. I use the perspective of legal accountability to address three points of long-lasting divergence between parties: whether the Committee will be tasked to require parties to justify their performance by making specific reference to applicable legal standards; the contentious question of mandating the Committee to assess the progress of parties on the achievement of their ndc targets; and the involved party’s degree of control over the measures adopted. I conclude that a richer approach to accountability calls for granting a substantive role to practices of legal justification, assessment, and consequences within the modalities for the Committee in all three cases. Subject to political acceptance, such a mandate has the potential to foster parties’ sense of trust, reciprocity, and legal obligation toward one another.1