11 April 2010
Published by Third World Network
No consensus on new text for negotiations
Bonn, 10 April (Meena Raman) – Parties at the opening of the climate talks in Bonn on April 9, expressed divergent views over the question of whether a new draft negotiation text should be prepared for the forthcoming June session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA).
While all the developed countries and some developing countries were in favour of the Chair of the AWG-LCA drafting a new text for negotiations for the working-group’s next session in June, many developing countries were opposed to this proposal.
They were opposed to the drafting of a new negotiating text at this stage of the talks when no opportunity had been provided as yet to discuss the outcomes of the AWG-LCA documents from Copenhagen. There was also opposition from several developing countries to taking into account the Copenhagen Accord when it was not a consensus document and was not adopted by the Conference of Parties. Several countries including China and India stressed that the outcome document from the AWG-LCA be the basis for negotiations to move forward.
This issue arose when the Chair of the AWG-LCA, Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, in opening the AWG-LCA session on 9 April, had said Parties should provide guidance on the documentation for its next session in June. She said that 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.
Bolivia said that the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP had produced negotiating texts in Copenhagen that were reflected in the outcome reports. To produce new text when Parties had existing negotiating texts which were adopted at COP is not a timely way to proceed, it said. Each Party is free to put forward their positions based on the AWG-LCA texts.
It also said that it shared the view that there was need to rebuild the confidence that was broken down in Copenhagen and to learn from mistakes. The main mistake made was in not respecting the broad and equal participation by all Parties to the Convention (in decision-making). It said that proposals were being suggested for only 40 countries to be negotiating and the rest to be side-lined as regards new innovative methods which seemed to continue the illegitimacy and mistake of Copenhagen. It said that in Copenhagen, there was no respect for the participatory, inclusive and bottom-up processes of the UN.
Bolivia was also concerned about the objective of the work for 2010. There was need for a broad based comprehensive agreement on climate change especially with commitments by developed countries for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. It expressed concern that there was talk that Mexico would only deal with some issues and that the rest would be postponed for consideration next year. This, Bolivia said was unacceptable. It said that after the Copenhagen Accord, the emission reductions pledges being proposed represented reduction from 1990 levels of only 13-17%. According to the EC, if one wishes to limit temperature rise to be below 2 degree C, reductions should be 25-40% on the basis of 1990 levels. The situation is far worse. The EC’s own press release showed that there would be an increase in emissions of 2.6 % from 1990 levels and with the best case scenario, there would be a decrease in emissions by only 2%. So, after Copenhagen, we are not in a better position, said Bolivia.
India said that the Copenhagen Conference raised fundamental concerns on the quality of transparency and inclusivity. The principle of consensus in recent months has come to be questioned and this is a dangerous trend. Consensus now is part of the cementing process in the two track process (of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP). The Copenhagen Accord is a political document. It cannot have a life of its own and it is not a stand-alone document. It has the potential to assist in building consensus but it cannot substitute the formal outcomes of the two tracks. The Accord has also not touched many critical areas. India emphasized that trust and legitimacy in the negotiations is the norm but this has now come under a cloud which must be lifted. India also stressed the need for balanced outcomes in both the working groups and the various elements within the AWG-LCA.
Venezuela said that after the total failure of Copenhagen, the Bonn meetings seek to allow Parties to decide on the work programme on the basis of transparency and legitimacy to recover confidence in the process. It said that the failure of Copenhagen was due to the principles and multilateral rules of United Nations not being followed. It said that it had raised its voice against the Copenhagen Accord both as regards the form and the substance. The political will of some Heads of States (who were engaged in drafting the Accord) cannot be imposed on others. The Accord was a political statement where the pledges for emission reductions would lead to a temperature rise of 5 degree C. Venezuela said that no one should be congratulating themselves based on this. It said that work must proceed on the basis of the texts from the two working groups which were adopted by the COP. Parties should now have the opportunity to work on these texts before new texts are asked for.
Saudi Arabia said that there was need to establish confidence and maximum transparency that ensures that all countries are involved in the negotiations process. It did not support a new negotiating text for the AWG-LCA and stressed that significant progress was made in Copenhagen as regards the negotiations with a 60 page document. Parties should be allowed to decide what needs to be agreed to in that text. On the Copenhagen Accord, it said that it was not legally binding and its importance should not be exaggerated as the COP was only informed of the Accord. As the Accord was not adopted by the COP, undue weight should not be given to it.
China said that the Cancun meeting in December must have clear objectives. There must be clear numbers in terms of GHG emission reductions by 2012 by Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol in the work of the AWG-KP. The AWG-LCA must establish the commitments for emission reductions of developed countries who are not Parties to the Protocol (referring to the US) which must be comparable. There has to be funding for developing countries to ensure sustainable development, eradicate poverty and take steps to cope with climate change. China stressed that the AWG-LCA’s work is clear and there is good basis for negotiations based on the Chair’s text which represented the result of a proper legal process. Hence, Parties should work on the Chair’s text as the starting point. This is reflected in the decision of the COP and Parties cannot be redrafting the mandate. As regards the process, China said that the UN process is proven and innovation and diversity can be left for another time when there is more trust among Parties.
Egypt said that the text for the negotiations should be the outcomes from COP 15 which were adopted by Parties by consensus as the basis for future negotiations. This does not prevent inputs from the Copenhagen Accord by Parties who have associated with the Accord, with the specific interpretations, conditions and nuances linked to their association. It said that the process should be Party driven and opportunity must be given to negotiate the outcomes of the Copenhagen meetings. Now was not the time for a new Chair’s text and it was not in favour of this, as this would mean that a reset button has been pushed in the process of negotiations. It would also mean giving the same weight to documents which have substantially different values (referring to the Accord which was not adopted by the COP, and texts which were adopted by the COP).
Pakistan said that there are working methods in the UN system that have produced results that Parties take pride in. Innovation and diversity (in methods of work) can only be possible once there is greater mutual trust and less suspicion among Parties. On the documentation needed to guide further work, Pakistan said that reports of the AWG-LCA should be the basis for negotiations.
Nicaragua also emphasized the need for the creation of measures to foster and increase the climate of trust in the negotiations. It said that what happened in Copenhagen was in total breach of the negotiating process. It said that there was a fracturing of the UN when some Parties tried to impose an agreement that was not democratically drafted. The main thing at this stage is to work on the basis of the outcomes of the two working groups from Copenhagen. If any Party wants further proposals included in these texts, they could do so.
Cuba said that the Copenhagen Accord was a violation of multilateralism. It is weak in content and is a threat to negotiations under the Convention.
Singapore said that the AWG-LCA did not currently have text for negotiations. The AWG-LCA text from Copenhagen was not an agreed text, and it was also not agreed as being the basis of negotiations. Singapore said that Parties agreed to continue work drawing on the AWG-LCA reports which were a point of reference. It supported the Chair to produce a new text in time for the June session.
Barbados supported the proposal for the Chair to prepare a draft negotiating text to capture the good progress made in Copenhagen and asked that it be available before the next session of the AWG-LCA in June.
Chile called for the preparation of a new document that can include the central aspects of the Copenhagen Accord.
Japan said that the Copenhagen Accord captured the mitigation actions of all major economies. It said that 120 countries have expressed association with it and this achievement cannot be underestimated. It said that there was need for a comprehensive agreement by all major economies based on the Copenhagen Accord. Japan was in support of the Chair drafting a new negotiating text.
The United States said that Copenhagen was a significant milestone. In an apparent reference to the Copenhagen Accord, it said that it was a collective effort that was amazing and should not be dropped. It said that Parties should capitalise on what was agreed to by Heads of States and that progress in the Accord should be captured and influence the negotiations. The US said that the Accord was not a casual agreement but one done by world leaders whose understandings cannot be ignored. It said that Parties cannot go back to the stalemate of negotiators. The US supported proposal for the Chair to draft text for June. It said that the text should draw from the AWG-LCA report and reflect the understandings of the final days of Copenhagen. The AWG-LCA text is not the basis for negotiations, as the question of the basis was rejected in Copenhagen and it was only agreed to be draw upon this LCA text. It said that the text should also draw from what the leaders did (referring to the Accord). The text should have all the core components fleshed out in a package, said the US.
Canada said that the Copenhagen Accord provided political guidance for a new legally binding agreement where all major emitters were involved. The Accord must be viewed as a package to be elaborated for adoption in Mexico. It supported the Chair in considering new text.
Australia also gave support to the Chair in producing a new text for June.