COP21 climate negotiations update

COP21 climate negotiations update

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Paris, 30 November (TWN) ‘” Incoming French President of the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Laurent Fabius, assured Parties that theprocess of reaching an agreement in Paris would be transparent and any text would be a result of engaging with all stakeholders. Fabius is the Foreign Minister of France who will preside over the Paristalks. ‘There will be no surprises and I ask the same of you,’ said Fabius, duringthe opening of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for EnhancedAction (ADP) on 29 November. The ADP resumed the twelfth part of its second session on 29 November, a dayahead of the official opening of the COP and the Conference of Parties meetingas Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). The ADP will be in session until 5December and the opening session was used to outline the mode of work for theweek. The ADP opened a day ahead of the official opening of the COP given thelimited negotiating days available for its work. The ADP is co-chaired by Daniel Reifsnyder (USA) and Ahmed Djoghlaf(Algeria). The opening of the COP/CMP on Monday will be marked by a high-level eventwhere 150 heads of states and governments are expected to attend. According toFabius, the idea behind the heads of state meet is to provide a politicalimpetus and have decisive negotiations to conclude, on 11 December, for anambitious programme for the climate. ‘The political language expressed willhave to be translated into concrete mechanisms,’ said Fabius. Referring to the ADP mandate, Fabius said that Parties had decided to arriveat a legally binding agreement (that is to take effect post 2020), which meetsthe needs of climate change and sustainable development and the time to realizethis had arrived. He also said that over the two weeks, his priority would be to facilitateobjectively the attainment of very ambitious agreement among all the countries.He also committed to a transparent process and said that within the rules ofthe COP, participation of civil society organisations can be ensured. While thefirst week would be devoted to preparing the agreement, the second week coulddeal with politically sensitive issues, he added.  (There are manydivergent issues between developed and developing countries over the Parisagreement that need resolution for a successful outcome). Fabius asked Parties to give him a text for the Paris agreement as farfinalized as possible, with ‘fewest’ options. He said that based on the textagreed to in Bonn and consultations through the year, he was sure Parties wouldachieve a good result. He urged Parties to negotiate and compromise and theirenergy directed at finding solutions. He said that if they took the usualprocedure for negotiations and wait for a miracle at the last hour it would notbe possible. He also cautioned that the ministers and their representativeswould have very little time to deal with all the issues. ‘If we want a legally binding document and conclude on 11 December, thenegotiations on the draft agreement will have to be finalized by mid-week ofthe second week. We have specific deadlines. We want a universal agreement. Wecannot imagine this will happen in a chaotic way,’ said Fabius. On the mode of work for the second week, Fabius said he would propose it endof this week, which would be a ‘function of your recommendations’. COP20 President (Peru) Manuel Pulgar Vidal stressed that Parties have tofind solutions to the several sections of the text in very few days, both forthe agreement and the main decision. ‘We must find textual solutions for all ofthem, in an articulated manner, under the guidance of the Co-Chairs and the COPPresidency, with the help of all, including the facilitators. To be effective,we need clear rules of engagement, in particular clear mandates for all consultations,which need to be text-specific, time-bound and solution-oriented, if we want toprogress,’ he stressed, underscoring the importance of trust. He said that trust meant inclusiveness, transparency, sense of ownership,Party’“driven processes and results. He added that the result should be abalanced, concise and strong draft agreement and decision by the end of thefirst week. Outlining the mode of work for the first week, Daniel Reifsnyder said thathe along with his co-chair Djoghlaf had on 28 November, convened an informalmeeting of the ADP on the mode of work. Reifsnyder said that the open-ended contact group was established as acentral forum to harvest the results of Parties’™ collective work. He added thatthe forum must deliver coherence to their deliberations, in particular on thecrosscutting issues, which was a key demand of the Group of 77 and China (seehighlights of the G77 statement below). Reisfsnyder also said that to make the best use of time, they would continuewith spin-off groups. Any task to a spin-off would be specific, time bound andwith clear expectation of results and the open-ended contact group would askthe spin-off to get clean text as far as possible. He added that the contact group would start on Tuesday (1 December) at 10am. The spin-offs would convene on 30 November from 7 pm to 9 pm on ‘˜technologydevelopment and transfer’™, ‘˜implementation and compliance’™, and on Article 2and Article 2bis (regarding the ‘˜purpose’™ and general section of the post 2020agreement) and workstream 2 (on pre-2020 actions). The contact group would take up the elements relating to ‘˜mitigation’™,’˜adaptation and loss and damage’™, ‘˜finance’™, ‘˜transparency of action andsupport’™, and would hear reports from the spin off groups. It would alsoconsider the issue of ‘˜global stocktake’™Â  and paragraphs in the decisionnot related to specific articles in the agreement. He asked the Secretariat to prepare individual files with texts of articlesbased on the 10 November version of the negotiating text, and added that thefinance section of the 23 October text would be the starting point for financenegotiations. (On 23 October 2015, the last day of the previous ADP session inBonn, Parties had agreed on a text, which would serve as the basis of negotiationsin Paris. This was edited and reissued on 10 Nov.) On the format of the open-ended contact group, Reifsnyder said that thecontact group would meet in a square table format as it is more conducive to anopen dialogue, which would help Parties negotiate. It would also be broadcaston the CCTV for maximum participation, he added. Observers would be in anoverflow room, he added. On deadlines, Reifsnyder said that all the spin-off groups would need tocomplete work by 6 pm on Thursday (3 December) and the negotiations in thecontact group would need to conclude at 9 pm on 3 December. A consolidated, revised version of the draft agreement and decision would bemade available to Parties on Friday (4 December) at 8 am. From 4-5 December,Parties would further develop the draft text in the contact group. The outcomeof the work needs to be finalized by Saturday (5 December), and will betransmitted to the COP, he said, adding that the closing plenary of the ADPwill be held on Saturday noon. Responding to the Co-Chairs on the mode of work, Tuvalu noted the importanceof transparency and expressed its disappointment that informal Party-led workhad already commenced. ‘We had very little information about this process’¦Wewant assurance that transparency is an important part of the process,’ saidTuvalu. Djoghlaf assured Tuvalu of transparency and said that there had been nosurprises. He referred to the pre-sessional consultations with Parties and theCo-chairs which had taken place on 28 November. He also added that an’˜informal-informal’™ meeting had been organized among the facilitators toprepare for the Paris meeting. The ADP plenary was then adjourned and Parties statements were not read outbut have been posted on the UNFCCC website. Highlights of G77 and China’™s statement In its statement posted online by South Africa on behalf of the G77 andChina, the Group recalled that when Parties met in Bonn in October, much timewas lost because they started with a text that was very unbalanced. ‘There isnot much time left to conclude our work and we must therefore engage insubstantive negotiations. We must be all very conscious of the fact thatprocess will be crucially important for the success of the COP,’ the Groupsaid, calling for negotiations to be open and transparent, inclusive andParty-driven. ‘To make progress, we suggest that cross-cutting and overarching issues,e.g. purpose, long-term goal, differentiation, progression, ambition and thecross cutting aspects of finance and the legal nature of different obligationsacross the text, be discussed in the contact group. As progress on thesecross-cutting issues is essential to unlock the difficulties that areexperienced in the facilitation groups dealing with mitigation, adaptation,finance, technology transfer, capacity building, and final clauses, thesediscussions will accelerate the work in the facilitation groups. Postponingthese important discussions in the contact group will not be helpful. We hastento say that we do not have time for more conceptual discussions and thesediscussions must be aimed at developing concrete proposals in the facilitationgroups.’ (The G77 was referring to the spin-offs as regards facilitationgroups). The G77 and China also said that throughout the ADP process they havereiterated that not only do developing countries face threats to theirachievement of sustainable development, but also the very existence andsurvival of countries, societies and the ecosystems of our Mother Earth. ‘It isfor this reason that developing countries have had no choice but to act againstclimate change, even in the absence of adequate finance, technology andcapacity-building support by developed countries, as clearly demonstrated bythe communication of INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions) bythe majority of developing countries,’ said South Africa. The Group re-emphasized that the objective of the ADP is to enhance actionand to promote the full and effective and sustained implementation of theConvention through the strengthening of the multilateral rules-based regimeunder the Convention. It is not within the ADP’™s mandate to replace, rewrite orreinterpret the Convention, its principles and provisions, in particular theprinciples of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, thestatement read. ‘These principles and provisions of the Convention must bereflected in the elements of the agreement.’ The Group also urged the developedcountries to provide enhanced finance, technology development and transfer andcapacity-building support to developing countries for ambitious mitigation andadaptation actions. Calling for equal balance to be accorded to workstream 2, the G77 and Chinasaid that addressing the pre-2020 ambition gap is vitally important to asuccessful outcome of the Paris COP and will lay a solid foundation forenhanced mitigation and adaptation action post-2020. ‘The fact is that commitmentsby developed countries related to the pre-2020 period still remain unrealized,including the delay in ratifying the Doha Amendment and increasing the emissionreduction targets of developed countries to at least 25-40% by 2020. (The ‘˜Doha amendment’™ refers to the Kyoto Protocol’™s second commitmentperiod that required amendments to the Protocol’™s annex on the emissionreduction targets.) ‘There is also, as yet, no clarity on how the commitment of developedcountries of providing the US$100 billion per year by 2020 to developingcountries will be achieved, nor do we have any predictability on continuationof the provision of finance with clear targets for the post 2020 period,’ the statement read.

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