TWN Bonn News Update No.25 Print
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 16:45

Working Groups to have additional session before Durban, Parties outline expectations

20 June 2011
Published by Third World Network

Geneva, 20 June (Meena Raman) – At the closing plenary of the meeting of the Ad-hoc Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn on Friday, 17 June, Parties were informed that an additional session for the meetings of the working groups (that includes the working group under the Kyoto Protocol), will be held at a venue to be confirmed during the last week of September and first week of October before the 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Durban, South Africa.



Until late evening on Friday, despite numerous calls especially from developing countries for an additional session prior to Durban to advance further work, it was uncertain if this could be held due to budgetary constraints. Ms. Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC told the AWG-LCA plenary that during the last three days of the Bonn session, pledges for additional resources have been made by developed countries to enable the meetings to take place. Consultations are underway on the venue and it has been learnt that Panama and Bangkok are being considered. Parties also agreed that the next session in September would be a resumed session of the 14th session of the AWG-LCA with work continuing on the basis of the (April) Bangkok agenda.



On how to carry the work from the Bonn session to the next session in September, AWG-LCA Chair, Mr. Daniel Reifsnyder (the United States) said that Parties have submitted written submissions during the session and proposed that these be compiled as a ‘MISC’ (miscellaneous) document while submissions made after the session would also be put in a ‘MISC’ document. He proposed that the output of the facilitators of the informal groups be complied into an ‘INF’ (information) document. These facilitators’ outputs are on shared vision; mitigation commitments of developed countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries; reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation etc. [Redd-plus]; sectoral approaches; various approaches including markets; economic and social consequences of response measures; adaptation; finance; technology development and transfer; capacity-building; review; legal options; and other matters involving Annex 1 countries undergoing transition to a market economy.


In response, the Philippines who co-ordinates the Group of 77 and China (G77 and China) on the issue of finance, wanted the Group’s specific submissions which were in the form of draft decisions on finance as well as technology transfer to be in the form of ‘conference room papers’ (‘CRP’ document). It also wanted the submissions by its member groups and other joint submissions of developing country Parties to also be in the form of CRP documents and to be used as the basis of negotiations. Argentina, the Chair of G77 and China confirmed that the texts submitted by the Group in the form of draft decisions be in the form of a CRP document.


The Chair in response asked all Parties to confirm with the Secretariat if their submissions are to be in the form of a CRP document and if not, the submissions would be compiled in a single ‘MISC’ document. In response to questions by Parties, the Secretariat clarified that lifespan of a CRP document is the duration of the session (for which it is submitted) but gets “a lease of life” if the session is a resumed session. The Secretariat also confirmed that whether a CRP document forms the basis of negotiations needs to be decided by the Parties and is not decided by a symbol on the document.


As regards the proposal by the Chair to compile the notes of the facilitators of the various informal groups into an ‘INF’ document, China said that since these notes do not have any formal status and were only a reflection of the views expressed by Parties in the informal groups and did not represent the outcome of the informal consultations, it had difficulty in having these notes compiled as an ‘INF’ document. These notes were under the responsibility of the facilitators and given that this was a Party-driven process, all Parties also had their own notes. The Chair confirmed that the notes of the facilitators had no status and given the objection by China to have the outputs made available by way of notes compiled into an ‘INF’ document, he proposed that Parties could make use of the notes which were made available as they deemed fit and this was agreed to.


On the expression by some Parties for workshops on technical issues, the Chair said that any such workshop would only be undertaken during the resumed session and he proposed to prepare a scenario note on the organization of work for the next session. This was agreed to by the Parties.


The Chair also reminded Parties that they could make submissions on any items related to the Bali Action Plan (adopted by the COP in 2007 and is the mandate for the ongoing AWG-LCA talks). In addition, he welcomed Parties to make submissions in relation to paragraphs 47 and 67 of the Cancun decision (COP decision 1/CP16). He asked for these submissions to be made by 9 September. (Paragraphs 47 and 67 relate to enhancing reporting through the national communications and biennial reports and updates, including international assessment and review of the targets of developed countries and measurement, verification and reporting of developing country supported mitigation actions as well as international consultations and analysis).


South Africa reported to the plenary the outcome of its consultations on the deliverables for Durban, saying that a wide range of views were raised on political and technical issues. It outlined further consultations to be held in support of the negotiating process for a credible outcome. Two meetings have been confirmed with a ministerial meeting to be held together with the German government from 3 to 4 July and a negotiators’ level meeting in Auckland, New Zealand from 25 to 26 July. It also proposed further meetings tentatively to be held from 5 to 9 September for a ministerial level meeting, preceded by a meeting at negotiators’ level and back to back with a stakeholders’ meeting as well as a further pre-COP ministers’ meeting back to back with stakeholders from 23 to 26 October to discuss issues and explore ways to move forward.


Ambassador Silvia Merega (Argentina) on behalf of G77 and China emphasized that the mandate for AWG-LCA is "to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action now, up to and beyond 2012" as per the Bali Action Plan, and the Group is committed to fulfilling it. The AWG-LCA must continue its work with a view to presenting its results to the COP in a way that contributes positively towards reaching a balanced and comprehensive outcome. Merega underlined the importance of mitigation as part of a balanced and ambitious outcome in Durban. It expected important issues in this context, such as ways to enhance the mitigation ambition of Annex I (developed country Parties) commitments, as well as the tasks necessary to operationalize the Cancun decisions including the setting up of a registry of support for developing country mitigation actions. Merega reiterated the appropriate treatment of mitigation, as determined in the Bali Roadmap, demands a decision, in Durban, on establishing the commitments of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.


(The Bali Road Map comprises the Bali Action Plan and the mandate of the working group under the Kyoto Protocol to determine the second and further commitment periods of Annex 1 Parties to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.)


She welcomed the progress made during this (June 2011) session with regard to the development of the modalities and procedures for the operationalization of the Adaptation Committee. The Group expressed that the Adaptation Committee should be operational as soon as possible after COP17. Merega highlighted the need to allocate adequate amount of resources to the Adaptation Committee and its secretariat in order for it to perform its functions in a predictable and sufficient manner.


Merega said that after intense discussions the Group of 77 and China formally tabled two draft decisions for the consideration of and approval by the COP. These draft decisions are on two of the very important elements of the Bali Action Plan, financing and the development and transfer of technology. On financing, the Group tabled a draft decision on the role and functions of the Standing Committee, as called for in paragraph 112 of decision 1/CP.16 and wanted further discussions with all Parties with the aim of rendering the Standing Committee operational in Durban.


(The Cancun COP meeting decided to establish a Standing Committee under the COP to among other things, improve coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing.)


On development and transfer of technology, the G77 and China has submitted a draft decision on the Technology Mechanism which is focused on the operationalization of the Technology Mechanism in implementation of the work programme, as called for in paragraphs 128 and 129 of decision 1.CP/16. The Group believed that this text can serve as the basis for negotiations to have a fully operational Technology Mechanism that will enhance the development and transfer of technology in Durban.


The Democratic Republic of Congo for the African Group said on shared vision, the Bali Action Plan describes this as a vision for long-term co-operative action to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention and this meant that it must be more than only a number; and therefore more than only a long term goal. It is not only about stabilisation of our climate but is also about adaptation to the impacts of climate change and enabling sustainable development. The shared vision must ensure equitable access to sustainable development through a clear agreement on all the elements necessary to ensure equitable effort sharing as part of a long-term global goal that will keep Africa and its peoples safe.


On finance, the African Group supported the proposal of G77 and China which called for a Standing Committee with clear roles, functions and composition. Among other things, it must improve coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing; help to rationalize the financial mechanism including existing funds to avoid a duplication of activities; support the mobilization of financing; and enable the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of support provided to developing countries. In terms of its composition it supported a balanced structure for the Committee reflecting the UN regional groups as well as with appropriate representation by Small Island and Least Developed Countries. On long-term finance, Africa was concerned that there is as yet no clear commitment by developed countries to any particular level of support for developing countries starting in 2013 and no clear commitment by developed countries to any particular level of public support by 2020.


The African Group put forward a draft decision on long-term sources of finance. It was for a clear and transparent agreement on the financial resources, including public resources, available commencing in 2013. It wanted an open and honest dialogue on how the international community will close the finance gap. On the issue of fast start finance, the African group noted with concern that the information document regarding the fast start has not been available yet. It also noted emerging information suggesting that the much of the “fast-start” financial resources has been slow to arrive, and even more is unlikely to be “new” or “additional” as required by the Convention. The African Group said that some Parties have been told that the “cheque is in the mail” while others find that, when the cheque arrives, it is for money they were promised elsewhere. It called for greater clarity and transparency is required around the precise nature of resources provided.


On mitigation the African Group urged developed countries to “increase the ambition of their … targets”. It noted that the technical workshops described the growing gap between what is required to keep Africa and the world safe, and what is being pledged. It also noted credible information suggesting that developing countries have pledged considerably more ambitious mitigation actions than the developing countries. One such analysis notes that around 65% of the pledged effort is by the developing countries, compared to the developed countries’ contribution of around 35% in their own economies. This is difficult to reconcile with the developed countries’ commitment in the Convention to “demonstrate leadership” in avoiding dangerous climate change. Little is more important to securing Africa’s future safety and development than increasing the scale of mitigation ambition. To close the growing “gigatonne gap”, it urged developed countries to focus on ways to increase the scale of their mitigation pledges as well as to provide the new and additional financial resources necessary for mitigation actions by developing countries.


On adaptation, the African Group wanted the focus to shift from vulnerability assessment to the implementation of adaptation programmes. Initiatives, in particular, should be directed towards a vision for Africa’s development, which should include scaled-up financial support for the implementation of adaptation, in accordance with the need, and must go beyond the mainstreaming of adaptation into the development process, and include stand-alone adaptation projects. This could also include institutional support such as the establishment of a network of African Centers of Excellence on climate change, and a regional information system on short, medium and long term climate change risks in Africa.


Gambia for the Least Developed Countries wanted to see decisions on the institutional arrangements on adaptation, the technology mechanism and the financial mechanism. It expected legally binding outcomes both under the AWG-LCA and the Kyoto Protocol.


Grenada for the Alliance of Small Island States said that its priorities were for increasing the level of ambition in mitigation, establishing modalities for the review of the long-term global goal, the institutional architecture for the future regime of the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Executive Committee; identification of the sources of finance and decision on the form of the legal outcome. Grenada said that the gap between the current mitigation pledges and what is required by science was scandalous. On the legal options, it wanted consideration of its proposal for a protocol under the Convention together with the Kyoto Protocol’s continuation.


India stressed that as regards the technical workshops proposed by some Parties on various issues, it was of the view that more time should be spent negotiating rather than shopping for work. For a successful and agreed outcome at Durban, it outlined some key elements. There is a need to do substantive work on definition of equitable access to sustainable development and on the question of Annex I (Parties) peaking. This will be the key to any further work in the shared vision on the global goal and global peaking. A decision on ambitious and quantified emissions reduction commitments and development of common accounting rules for their measurement and report will be the priority in mitigation section. This will also include work on the registry for supporting nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries and their report through the national communications. Progress would be facilitated if the centrality of the principles and provisions of the Convention are recognized in this process, it stressed.


It said that in Durban, Parties should quickly finalize the proposals for setting up the Standing Committee on finance. Parties should lay down the principles on the basis of which long term finance will be raised. The principles and criteria on the basis of which the Climate Technology Centres will be identified and set up should be decided. We should agree to set up the Global Centre and other centres early next year. We must keep in mind that the Review is basically about the attainment of the objectives of the Convention and is not a review of the provisions of the Convention. On the legal form, it said this is connected with the agreed outcome in accordance with the mandate of the AWG-LCA and will depend on the nature and substance of the outcome.


India further said that equally importantly, the unresolved issues from Bali and Cancun should not be lost sight of. For example the issues of equity, unilateral trade actions and technology related intellectual property rights are crucial in our discourse. In our hurry to pick a few low hanging fruits, we should not let some important issues fall by the way side. These are fundamental issues that underpin the working of our Convention and the global regime. It stressed the importance of these issues and the need to make them an integral part of our vision. We need to address these issues if we want comprehensive implementation of the Convention.


Bangladesh said that the technology transfer must not only be seen in the context of mitigation but also of adaptation. On the issue of agriculture, given the complexity of the issue, it said Parties could decide on the basic principles and leave the details to national contexts.


The European Union said it was essential to deepen negotiations on MRV and new market mechanisms. It was concerned about lack of progress on the issue of legal options on the form of the outcome for the AWG-LCA and this for the EU was key for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. It wanted a comprehensive and legally binding framework in the two tracks (of AWG-LCA and AWG-KP).


Australia for the Umbrella Group said it was important for the institutions such as the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Executive Committee to have senior level experts and not negotiators. While it wanted an ambitious outcome, Australia said that there was need to be realistic. It stressed the need for ambitious mitigation action by all major economies involving developed and developing countries. It expected decisions on enhanced guidelines on national communications, biennial and biennial update reports, international assessment and review as well as international consultations and analysis. It said the mitigation element was political and needed space for further discussions.

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