TWN Cancun News Update No.4 PDF Print
Written by Meena Raman   
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 09:53

AWGLCA Opening:  Parties voice expectations for Cancún

Cancún, 30 November 2010 (Meena Raman) -- At the opening session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on 29 November, developing and developed countries expressed varying views on the outcome from Cancun, Mexico.


The G77 and China stressed that Parties could not leave Cancun empty handed and that failure, as that which happened in Copenhagen last December, was not an option.  Many developing countries stressed that for a successful outcome in Cancun in the AWGLCA, there was need for developed countries to commit to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. They also strongly called for a decision in Cancun to establish the new climate fund under the UNFCCC.

On the note by the Chair of the AWGLCA on ‘Possible elements for the outcome’, some developing countries as well as developed country Parties expressed views that there was a lack of balance in the elements presented.  The Chair clarified that it was not a negotiating text and that Parties could make use of it as they wish.

Ms. Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, the AWGLCA Chair, had on November 24, prepared a new document called ‘Note by the Chair on possible elements of the outcome’. The new Chair's text was in the form of a draft decision to be adopted by the Conference of Parties and was issued as a CRP document or a Conference Room Paper.

Mukahanana, in the opening of the 13th session of the AWGLCA, said that her note on the possible elements of the outcome was not a negotiating text and was not a formal document. She said that Parties could use the document as appropriate, as it was an effort to facilitate solutions. The Chair said that the negotiating text was the text produced on August 13. She said that there was a large spectrum of issues to be dealt with, and for an agreed outcome there was need for compromise. She informed Parties that the Mexican Presidency would also be holding consultations.

Yemen, speaking for G77 and China said that Parties cannot afford to leave Cancun empty handed. It stressed that balance between the two negotiating tracks (of the AWGLCA and the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol) must be respected and that balance in the degree of details of decisions within each track must be maintained.

It believed that whatever outcome Parties reach in Cancun must not compromise or prejudge the overall objective of reaching a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and legally binding outcome in the future.

The Group also stressed that in order to succeed, the work process must be open, Party-driven and transparent and that the centrality of the multilateral process under the UNFCCC in addressing climate change must be respected and maintained.

Lesotho speaking for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said that there was need to identify areas where possible decisions could be reached in Cancun and areas for continued negotiations next year. It stressed the importance of the issue of adaptation for the LDCs.

It insisted on the establishment of an Adaptation Framework and provision of financial and technical support for LDCs to formulate and implement national adaptation plans.

Lesotho also called for an international mechanism to be established to address loss of damage associated with climate change impacts.

It wanted financing to be scaled up and to be new and additional and called for the establishment of the new Climate Fund that ensures direct access of funds.

It also called for the establishment of a technical panel to ensure capacity building, which is a stand-alone element. It called for Cancun to be a success, stressing that the process should be inclusive and transparent.

Grenada, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States said that recent scientific literature such as the UNEP ‘Emissions Gap” report showed the inadequacy of the current pledges of Parties for emission reductions and pointed to the need for urgent collective action. Any package of decisions must be ambitious and balanced and must not comprise a legally binding agreement in South Africa.

Referring to the Chair’s note on possible elements of the outcome in Cancun, Grenada considered the document as an input. It said that the document failed to reflect many views that were key for AOSIS as it did not address the special needs of SIDs and LDCs.

Grenada identified priorities for a balanced outcome. On mitigation, referring to the pledges of developed and developing counties, it said there was need to strengthen these proposals in the light of the long-term global temperature goal. Any recognition of the pledges should not undermine the Kyoto Protocol track.

It also called for enhancing the process of international consultations and analysis, which should be part of the mitigation package of Cancun.

On adaptation, an empty framework was not acceptable and expressed concerns that Parties were opposing the call for establishing a mechanism to address loss and damage.

On finance, it said that the creation the new Fund was an important deliverable in Cancun, while Parties strive to agree on the composition and design aspects of the Fund. It also wanted transparency in the delivery of fast-start financing.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking for the African Group said that decisions in Cancun should not compromise on a legally binding outcome. It said that there was need for a fair outcome under the AWGLCA and for developed countries to commit to a second-commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol with deep emission cuts consistent with the science

It said there was need for a set of decisions that can capture the emerging consensus on the need for new and improved institutional arrangements, particularly for adaptation and the means of implementation, such as finance, technology transfer and capacity building.

For Africa, finance was a cornerstone for achieving a balanced deal that ensures the enhancement of the climate change regime and supports developing countries efforts to adapt and to take voluntary actions to reduce their emissions as part of the global effort to deal with the issue of climate change. It also wanted to see a decision on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD-plus).

The African Group thanked the Chair for her efforts in preparing her note on the possible elements for an outcome. However, it said that several key elements contained in the August 13 negotiating text from the Bonn meeting have been lost in the Chair’s text, particularly in relation to shared vision, mitigation, finance, and capacity building. DRC said that the African Group had considered the Chair’s text and concluded that it will continue to engage with the text and sought opportunity to close the gap between the work done in Bonn and the text presented by the Chair.

Belgium, representing the European Union welcomed the Chair’s initiative on the presenting the possible elements of the outcome but expressed strong concern that the Chair’s text missed the right balance.  It said that mitigation commitments for developed countries and mitigation actions by developing countries and their respective MRV (measuring, reporting and verification) are key elements for the EU. It said that the Chair’s note merely contained placeholders for these important topics. While the Chair’s note could guide negotiations, it has to be clearly understood that this is under the assumption that any balanced package will need to include a satisfactory and substantial outcome for mitigation and MRV.

It said that Parties needed to anchor all their proposals (referring to the mitigation pledges) in the UNFCCC process, and initiate discussions to clarify them, to mobilize support and to initiate a process for strengthening the collective level of ambition, which is insufficient in the light of the 2 degree C goal. This, it said, was without prejudice to the discussions on further commitments under the Kyoto track. Nor would it mean that it would accept a pledge-and-review approach for Annex 1 Parties, said the EU.

It also wanted a framework for enhanced MRV, establishment of new market mechanisms and progress on REDD-plus.

Australia speaking for the Umbrella Group said that there was need for a substantive and progressive outcome in Cancun. It said that the pledges under the Copenhagen Accord (an agreement which was not adopted by COP 15 but only taken note of) prepares for a legally binding agreement for all major emitters, including the scope and frequency of reporting. It wanted parameters for ‘international consultations and analysis’ (ICA) and workplan with detailed operational guidelines to be worked out in South Africa.

It also said that decisions were needed on a Green Fund, a framework for adaptation, details of the technology executive committee and a technology centre and network and REDD-plus mechanism. It also welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Finance’s report.

As regards the Chair’s note on the possible elements for the outcome, Australia said that it could help discussions but mitigation and MRV needed to be further elaborated. It looked forward to a new iteration of the Chair’s text based on inputs.

Egypt speaking on behalf of 22 Arab states said that the Kyoto Protocol was the main legal framework for emissions reductions of developed countries and developed country Parties who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must reflect their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the non-Kyoto Protocol Parties (referring to the US) must reflect a comparable commitment under the Convention.

Referring to the Chair’s note on the possible elements of the outcome, it said that many proposals were not reflected and this note was done without the request by Parties. It stressed that negotiations must be based on the August 13 text along with the work advanced in Tianjin, China.

Venezuela speaking for the ALBA (Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) group said that Parties cannot allow the disappearance of the Kyoto Protocol because of a lack of political will among a small number of countries. Progress in the AWGLCA should not be made in such a way as to contribute to destroying the Protocol. It expressed concern that some countries were coming to Cancun with minimum ambition. It said that the multilateral system can and must deliver results and it did not want “surprise documents” that can sabotage work, and for decisions in Cancun to be held hostage.

Belize, speaking for the Central American Integration System (SICA) said that it was open to creative solutions to break impasse on the mitigation element but this should not undermine either tracks (of the AWG-KP and the AWGLCA) and allow for low ambition.

Micronesia speaking for the Pacific Islands said that Annex 1 Parties must raise their level of ambition in terms of emissions reductions and said that there was a wide gap between the emission pledges and what was needed as according to the UNEP report on ‘Emissions Gap’. It said that with the current pledges, the world will head for a 3 degree C temperature level. It said that last year in Copenhagen, despite the presence of many world leaders, Parties fell short of reaching their goals. It said that their Heads of States were coming to Cancun.

Saudi Arabia said that for a success in Cancun, Parties should not deviate from the Convention’s principles and the Bali Action Plan. It said that there were moves to renegotiate the Convention and its principles such as the references to the creation of different annexes among developing countries.

In relation to the idea of international consultations and analysis, there was nothing in the Bali Action Plan for such an idea for unsupported actions.

On finance, the obligation was for developed countries in Annex 2 to meet their commitments and not for developing countries to also contribute. There should be equal treatment given as regards the impact of response measures, including reference to the trade issue where developed countries should not take discriminatory measures.

Further, it stressed that if developed countries do not commit to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, there cannot be an outcome from Cancun.

The AWGLCA session was then adjourned and resumed as the meeting of the contact group where four drafting groups were launched to carry on work focusing on shared vision, mitigation, adaptation and finance, technology and capacity-building.   The main work of the AWGLCA in the next several days is expected to be carried out in the drafting groups.

30 November 2010
Published by Third World Network

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