The high-level segment continued on Wednesday 5 December 2012, slowly drawing together the threads of agreement. A further stocktaking plenary session was held in the evening to assess progress, but the mood of optimism is beginning to wane.
The Doha Conference: Day Ten
After ten days the negotiations appear to have stalled. Although discussions continue, the sense of urgency and real-world importance underscored by the news of hurricane Bopha in the Philippines has not yet translated into binding decisions. As a result, this report today has limited news to report.
Wednesday was intended to be the day of reckoning for the AWG-LCA, but with many issues still undecided, identifying any real success of the Working Group looks bleak. Finance continues to be of utmost priority to most of the parties, however, progress has nevertheless ground to a halt and Switzerland has therefore called for the COP to decide the best route forwards.
Chair Tayeb announced that the working group will continue to meet in plenary to discuss an agreed outcome, and spin-off sessions will now only be held for those issues where agreement appears possible (essentially in relation to mitigation measures and REDD+).
Government ministers continued to set out their positions in statements to the COP as the high-level segment continued during the day, and an informal plenary session was held in the evening to apprise the delegates of (limited) progress thus far.
The Chair of the SBSTA announced that the reporting guidelines for developed countries have been agreed, although the use of those guidelines beyond the boundaries of the Convention is still undecided, and on the more fundamental questions of response measures and technology transfer (under the report of the Technology Executive Committee (“TEC”)) the parties appear to be deeply entrenched in their opposing views.
Under the SBI workstream, agreement has been reached on a draft COP decision for national adaptation plans, although the operational practicalities of the technical experts are still outstanding. It is likely that at this stage, these issues will be shelved until the next SBI session. Agreement has also been reached on a draft text to address loss and damage, which will be passed to the ministers for discussion at the COP. Given the rather divergent opinions between developed and developing countries as regards loss and damage, it looks unlikely that an effective agreement will be reached.
Finally, the ultimate composition of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (“CTCN”) Advisory Board has also been left for ministerial discussion at the COP. The CTCN and TEC jointly form the Technology Mechanism, established under the guidance of the Cancun COP, which aims to facilitate technology development and transfer in developing countries. Specifically, the CTCN will assist in the identification of technology needs and the implementation of environmentally sound technologies, practices and processes. At present, the precise interaction between the GCF and the Adaptation Committee on the CTCN’s advisory board is unclear, preventing it becoming operational.
All of the Ad Hoc Working Groups have now entered the final rationalisation process, pulling each of the proposals together through a process of consolidation and compromise. Whilst the intention was to close the working groups on Wednesday, at the plenary session they appeared likely to close extremely late in the day, if at all. It was noted by AWG-DP Co-chair Mauskar that closure of the LCA and KP working groups is a greater priority than closure of the DP working group, and in any event, a draft paper setting out the AWG-DP’s conclusions and a draft decision paper have already been concluded.
As regards access to the flexible mechanisms for Annex I Parties who will not be signing up a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, the delegates from Norway and Brazil reported that their “ministerial outreach programme” had further clarified the parties’ positions, but no agreement had been reached. Similar programmes have been established to look at the outstanding issues of long-term finance (including the GCF), reporting guidelines, loss and damage, the composition of the CTCN Advisory Board, and reporting obligations by parties outside of the Kyoto Protocol.
With little substantive progress made on paper, the agreement of text for the necessary documentation of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol could be regarded as a highlight worthy of note. However, with details such as the length of the second commitment period and a decision as to the carry-over of AAUs still outstanding, celebrations would be premature.
Despite this, perhaps some optimism can be gleaned from the news that, following the UK’s announcement on Tuesday, Germany will provide €1.8 billion per year in 2013 and 2014. France will go marginally further, providing €2 billion per year, whilst the EU will provide €900 million in 2013, and Sweden and Denmark agreed to provide €350 million between them next year.
These statements, although very welcome, are not enough to satisfy the demand expressed by developing countries, and others, for a clear road map to how the US $100 billion target by 2020 will be achieved.