COP 19 – Day 8 of the Conference

by Reed Smith
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The second week of the conference began with the COP President calling an informal stocktaking session, aiming to unite and focus the parties ahead of a week of hopefully more productive negotiations as the ministers begin to arrive. Simultaneously, the closing plenary session of the SBI reconvened, determined to conclude its meeting after a long weekend of negotiations.

Across town, much attention is being drawn to the controversially co-hosted International Coal and Climate Summit. Perhaps surprisingly, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres delivered the keynote speech, diplomatically stating that her attendance should be seen as “neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor is it a call for the immediate disappearance of coal.”

SBI

The closing plenary session resumed with vigour yesterday morning. Significant progress was made, with several draft decisions being put forward to the COP for consideration. Among these, it was recommended that the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE), have their mandate extended for a further five years, with the objective of improving the process of preparing national communications from non-Annex I Parties.

Another draft decision, setting out the composition, modalities and procedures of the team of technical experts (TTE), was forwarded to the COP. This will assist to clarify the methodology for the technical analysis of update reports from non-Annex I Parties to the Convention. It is hoped that in conjunction with the CGE’s extended mandate, this will assist with the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of developing countries’ nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs).

President’s Informal Stocktaking Plenary COP/CMP

President Korolec summarised progress-to-date, noting 15 draft decisions arising from the SBSTA alone, with further issues being forwarded to the COP for wider discussion. Principally, the issues to be discussed at the COP include institutional arrangements for REDD+, an agreement on loss and damage, and wide-ranging budgetary issues.

Additionally, issues as to Technology Transfer, the Climate Technology Centre and Network, and market and non-market mechanisms, will be reconsidered at SBI/SBSTA 40, unless time is found within COP 19 for these discussions. The SBI and SBSTA Chairs were strongly encouraged to continue to work on these matters this week, despite their meetings having closed.

AWG – DP

There was an open-ended consultation session focusing on a newly drafted decision on pre-2020 ambition and post-2020 action, and containing the draft co-chair’s conclusions. The draft decision looks at many issues including, inter alia:

  • A concern at the significant gap between the mitigation pledges of Parties to reduce global greenhouse gases by 2020
  • Emphasising that enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to enable and support the implementation of adaptation actions
  • Preparing National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) by all least developed countries
  • Urging developed country Parties that have agreed to take on quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, to implement those commitments and to increase their level of ambition
  • Encouraging developed country Parties that have not made commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, to instead implement their commitments under the UNFCCC Convention
  • The need to scale-up funding for developing country Parties while recognising that developed country Parties have committed to a goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries

Additionally, the annex to the draft decision contained several key elements that the co-chair believes to be indicative of the 2015 agreement. These included mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer, but many aspects were noticeably absent. Malaysia, speaking for the G 77/China, showed concern that equity or loss and damage, among others, were not mentioned. Colombia, however, reflected the views of AILAC when it called the text a “good basis”.

In spite of the opposing views, there seems to be broad agreement that any draft text is better than none. It is always hard to start drafting, so this can be seen as solid progress.

Conclusion

The pace of discussions appear to have picked up with the arrival of ministers this week. Difficulties still remain with little progress being seen on the politically sensitive issues such as loss and damage, historical responsibility, and funding for the Green Climate Fund. The remainder of this week’s negotiations and discussions will inform us as to the Parties’ ability to compromise and achieve a working agreement for 2015.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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