Monday, 3 October 2011

Pacific ready to go to work on all issues here in Panama

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

03 October 2011 Panama --- Pacific negotiators at the last round of climate change negotiations here in Panama City are happy with preparations for this weeklong meeting compared to the previous meetings in Bangkok and Bonn.

Climate Change Adviser for the region’s environment organisation, Espen Ronneberg told Climate Pasifika this is a good start and ‘the Pacific group is ready to go to work on all issues at hand.’

“In Bonn and Bangkok, there were procedural problems in adopting an agenda for the meeting. That was really frustrating in Bangkok because the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) had a good preparatory meeting and we were ready to go to work on all issues.

“We had a similar start to the session in Bonn, said Ronneberg.

Here in Panama, the Pacific delegation will continue their push for strong targets, credible action on adaptation and clear decisions on finances and how to access them immediately.

“It’s now time to discuss draft text since there appears to be a general consensus amongst Parties to begin work, said Diane McFadzien, also of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

While discussions appear difficult on the Kyoto Protocol because some countries that ratified it say they will step away and not commit to a second commitment period, ‘the Pacific is still persevering’ said Ronneberg.

“We are saying let’s have a discussion on the targets. We are trying to send signals that we are committed to a legally binding outcome for the Long Term Co-operative Action (LCA) process as well.

“AOSIS has been trying to push developing countries like India, China, South Africa and Brazil but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to push them when they are pointing at the industrialised countries and saying they need to take the lead and are not doing so, said Ronneberg.

Top left - Mr. Espen Ronneberg with Pacific colleagues at the UNFCCC COP 16, Cancun, 2011

At the same time, industrialiased nations are saying, we have ratified Kyoto and have our commitment under Kyoto so that’s our lead and its now your turn.

An idea that has now emerged is to allow for a transitional period after Kyoto expires in 2012.

“There is a lot of testing of the waters to see what the reaction to these types of ideas.

“AOSIS has made its point clear - we want to have certainties. While a transition may be pragmatic for some countries it does not give us any sense of security in terms of emissions, said Ronneberg.

Responding to civil society concerns that the Kyoto Protocol may be buried in Durban, McFadzien said a lot of Parties are in agreement that the architecture of the Protocol must be retained.

Centre - Ms. Diane McFadzien at AOSIS meeting, UNFCCC COP 16 Cancun, 2011
“Nobody is killing KP but if anything the transitional period may buy some time whereas we would prefer to go straight into a legally binding agreement.

“Durban will be the deciding point – if anything there is now a lot of willingness, including the industrialised countries to keep the rules and the mechanisms of KP alive, said Mcfadzien.

An attempt by South Africa to create a informal space to discuss issues in the lead up to Durban has received support from the Pacific and AOSIS, who are now actively involved in these informal discussions.

“It’s a welcome move by South Africa to meet with parties and get their positions.

“While these informal sessions are not binding, at least they are an attempt to find common understanding and we support that, said Ronneberg.

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