Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika media
Saturday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- While Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries stood to stop the Copenhagen Accord from gaining credibility as a COP15 'compromise' text and the US said the first paragraph made it a COP position, the arguments dragged on between process and compromise. The non-binding accord, delivered in the wings of a COP meeting and outside of text offered up within COP's own rules and processes, was put before COP by the US and a handful of countries within COP's 193-nations attending.
Despite the recorded decision of COP that the meeting would only take note of the Accord, world headlines are already creating the perception the Accord is the outcome of the most historic climate change meeting in history.
The accord is outside of the formal UNFCCC process and therefore cannot feature as the basis for any legally binding platform under COP rules and procedures, said Bolivia in a session chaired by temporary COP President Colin Beck of the Solomon Islands; who had to close and then re-open debate on the issue.
While it was confirmed that the Accord was not a consensus, nor adopted by the COP, who only noted it, some countries referred to it as if it were a lifeline of sorts when looking for some outcomes.
"I always said we were going to seal a deal at Copenhagen. Not just any deal, but a fair deal and a just deal. History will judge what kind of a deal that is," said AOSIS chair Ambassador Dessima Williams in her final comments to COP15.
Apologising to constituent members of AOSIS who felt "betrayed and hurt" by the decision of Grenada, as AOSIS chair, to back the Copenhagen Accord, Williams said," while we negotiate, yield and compromise, our fundamental right of our people to survive and develop remains our bedrock. And so we go, forced to work for 1.5 because that is the maximum threshold that will allow us to plan for survival, and sustainable development."
Papua New Guinea and other Pacific leaders who have decided, some reluctantly and others quietly, to go along with a Copenhagen outcome -- the nature of which many were still confused over at midday on Saturday.
PNG's Kevin Conraud, noting that while the Copenhagen Accord noted by COP15 "is not perfect", focussed on small next steps for countries who have allied themselves to it: it supports a two-track framework for climate change work and allows for a quick start funding mechanism.
Conraud called on the UNFCCC secretariat to move on an offer from Ethiopia to convene a HLM event. From the AOSIS perspective, any chance to keep discussing the Accord allows space to ensure island state members might be able to turn it around.
"We ask you to turn this accord into the promise it offers," said Ambassador Williams, "It must live up to what it set out to do. It must move and give us back a maximum temperature increase of 1.5 and not 2 degrees. It must give us back all the Bali Action Plan language we value, and must give us legally binding outcomes. But most of all we call on those who have the ability to do so, to deliver the financing. This was never about financing, certainly for AOSIS, but we acknowledge there are many states parties for whom financing for climate change is critical and therefore we expect the Copenhagen Accord will deliver," she said.
"It is almost 18 days since our delegations arrived into Copenhagen, renamed Hopenhagen. We came seeking to advance the cause of our island states, for our survival, development and existence. It's too early to take stock of whether we succeeded or failed. We lost many things along the way, and hopefully we gained some. We lost our vigorous commitment from other parties on 1.5 degrees. We were not able to secure a legally binding agreement outcome or mid term targets and many other contributions critical to survival and success of this conference," Williams said.
The 22 heads of state from AOSIS region and many scores of negotiators tasked with being diplomatic bridge builders had much work to do towards the next COP, said Williams.