TWN Bonn News Update No.1

10 April 2010
Published by Third World Network
www.twnside.org.sg

Restore trust and confidence in climate negotiations – says South

Bonn, 9 April (Meena Raman) – As climate talks resumed in Bonn, Germany on 9 April 2010, following the chaotic conclusion of the Copenhagen meetings in December last year, developing countries called for the rebuilding of trust and confidence.

The African Group, represented by the Democratic Republic of Congo said that if “we are to avoid the repeat of what happened in Copenhagen and repair this damaged process, then we must learn from Copenhagen.”

The African Group, reflecting on what happened in Copenhagen said that it saw “the sidelining of the two-track multilateral process, the emergence of a secret text put together by a selected few that later became known as the Copenhagen Accord and the blatant attempt to discard the Kyoto Protocol. These mistakes fundamentally broke the trust that is very necessary for any partnership that aspires to be successful and enduring to work.”

The ninth session of Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the eleventh session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) are set for a brief session of three days which ends on 11 April, to mainly focus on the organization of work and organizational matters for the two working groups for agreed outcomes at the UN climate change conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico in December this year.

The first day of the Bonn session saw the opening of the two Ad-hoc Working Groups. The opening of the AWG-LCA took place in the morning, while the opening of the AWG-KP took place in the afternoon.

The Chair of the AWG-LCA, Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe of Zimbabwe in opening the AWG-LCA session said that the principal objective of the ninth session was to agree on the organization and methods of work for 2010. She referred to an informal note that she had prepared for the meeting to facilitate the work of Parties which states that the organization and methods of work in 2010 could be addressed by the AWG-LCA agreeing to conduct its work in a single contact group on long-term cooperative action, addressing all issues before the working group in a balanced and integrated manner and that the working group could agree that the contact group will in its work deploy a diversity of working methods. She also said that the AWG-LCA could underline the importance of inclusiveness, transparency and efficiency and request the Chair to consult negotiating groups on ways and means to ensure efficient, inclusive and transparent negotiating settings based on principles and models within the United Nations.

The Chair also said the AWG-LCA should provide guidance on the documentation for its next session in June. She said that the AWG-LCA document relating to the negotiations from Copenhagen reflected different levels of maturity and that the texts are at different levels, while some text are even confusing.

Sangarwe said that report of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP )in Copenhagen had requested the AWG-LCA to continue its work drawing on the report of the AWG-LCA as well as the work undertaken by the COP on the basis of that report. She said that a number of Parties had also expressed interest in drawing on the points of convergence reflected in the Copenhagen Accord and utilizing them to advance the work of the AWG-LCA where appropriate. Sangarwe drew reference to her informal note where she had suggested that the AWG-LCA could invite its Chair to prepare a document, including draft negotiating text for consideration by Parties at its next session in June.

She also said that another matter for consideration was the number and duration of meetings in 2010.

Sangarwe said that informal consultations will be held on these matters for conclusions to be presented on Sunday, 11 April.

Speaking for the G77 and China, Ambassador Abdullah M. Alsaidi of Yemen said that the mandate of the AWG-LCA is to continue its work for an outcome in Mexico, and that the work process must be an open, democratic, party-driven, transparent, inclusive, legitimate and accountable one which centers around the implementation of the Bali Action Plan.

With respect to the organization and methods of work of the AWG-LCA in 2010, the G77 and China highlighted the following:

–          The centrality of the UNFCCC must be preserved and respected i.e. that the only venue for climate change negotiations is the UNFCCC framework;
–          The AWG-LCA must resume its work as soon as possible and make progress on the four building blocks of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology as well as the shared vision, with the objective of the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention;
–          Sufficient sessions for negotiations for the AWG-LCA are necessary and should be no less than three; likewise, the participation of the developing countries, especially from the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island states (SIDS), in these meetings must be supported. In this regard, the Group pointed out its preference to holding such meetings in New York or Geneva to ensure greater participation by developing countries.

The G77 and China reiterated its belief in the importance of maintaining the centrality of the multilateral process within the UNFCCC framework.

Speaking for the African Group, the Democratic Republic of Congo said that if “we are to avoid the repeat of what happened in Copenhagen and repair this damaged process, then we must learn from Copenhagen.”

The DRC said that in Copenhagen, “We saw the sidelining of the two-track multilateral process, the emergence of a secret text put together by a selected few that later became known as the Copenhagen Accord and the blatant attempt to discard the Kyoto Protocol. These mistakes fundamentally broke the trust that is very necessary for any partnership that aspires to be successful and enduring to work.” (The two tracks refer to AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP).

The African Group said that the priority must therefore be to restore the trust, rebuild confidence and thereby salvage the process. This it said can be done by:

–          Returning to the two-track multilateral negotiation process;
–          Committing to the UNFCCC process as the only forum for the negotiation of a global and legally binding outcome;
–          Working on the basis of the AWG documentation forwarded from COP 15 and the CMP 5 (referring to the meeting of Parties under the Kyoto Protocol); and
–          Negotiating the terms of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The African Group said that strict adherence to UN working methods will ensure inclusiveness and transparency which is the only way that may lead to consensus. “We should not repeat the mistakes that have been made in Copenhagen. Any attempt to deliberately exclude the majority of the membership in favour of a small group setting will only obstruct the chances to achieve an inclusive and accepted outcome,” it stressed.

Grenada, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said that Copenhagen did not achieve the outcome that was expected from Bali which was to address the climate challenge as reported by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As recent scientific findings reveal more alarming effects, AOSIS registered its concern from public statements that the collective ambition of Parties should be scaled back in Mexico. It recalled that significant progress had been made on the AWG-LCA negotiating text in Copenhagen and said that with political will, a comprehensive legally binding outcome in Mexico was possible. While it was flexible on new approaches to solve difficult issues, AOSIS said the principles of inclusiveness and transparency must be respected at all times. It said that the AWG-LCA Chair could be given the mandate to draft a negotiating text, drawing upon those texts that were developed in Copenhagen.

Lesotho, speaking for the LDCs called for the restoration of confidence and the building of trust in the process. It said that the negotiation process must be transparent and inclusive.

Spain, speaking for the EU, said that all Parties have to frankly assess and examine the lessons learnt last December. It said that it had realized that there is a need to improve the organization and methods of work within the UNFCCC process. It said that confidence in the process and among Parties has to be recovered. To this end, it said that negotiations should continue in both the AWGs in a transparent and inclusive way, finding innovative working methods that guarantee efficient and effective use of time and resources. It said that Parties had to honour their commitments and in this regard, there was need to implement the elements contained in the Copenhagen Accord.

Australia speaking for the Umbrella Group (which includes the United States, Canada and New Zealand) stressed the importance of the Copenhagen Accord. It said that many countries now have put their pledges for mitigation in appendices. It said that all the elements of the Accord must move forward in a meaningful way.  It supported the proposal for a single contact group and new Chair’s text to take account of progress in the negotiations.

Many developing countries also spoke, stressing the need for the restoring of confidence and trust building in the process. (Details will follow in a further article).

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