Thursday, 3 June 2010

Changes to negotiating process without Parties input, AOSIS hopes it will bring positive outcome

By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika in Bonn, Germany
01 June 2010, Bonn Germany --- In a departure from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating process, chairpersons of the two ad hoc committees that guide the negotiations have drawn up draft conclusions even before the talks begin here in Bonn.

“It’s a new thing introduced by the chair before Parties input, said Espen Ronneberg, climate change adviser for the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP).

“The chair feels that it can save time because some of the points are well known beforehand and can be reflected in the conclusions.

“The Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) was a little surprised by the chair’s decision but in retrospect we believe that these can be done for some topics, especially the issues that have almost been reached by consensus. We could follow that procedure, said Ronneberg.

But, he cautioned that full discussion needs to be done on some cross cutting issues before any conclusions are put together.

Possible conclusions may have arisen from adaptation, technology development and transfer and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), whose negotiating texts received consensus in Copenhagen.

An agreement should be possible on these issues in Mexico, said Yvo de Boer after the Copenhagen talks failed in December 2009.

If Parties were hoping for a compromise on the negotiating text and the final conclusions, it may just become an uphill battle.

Tuvalu started the ball rolling with its attack on the Umbrella Group of countries which has Australia, New Zealand, United Nations, Canada and other powerful industrialised nations.

The no-nonsense Ian Fry, Tuvalu’s climate change adviser criticised the Group for what he called its ‘lack of concern for climate change’ through its ‘lack of vision and ambition’ for the Long term Cooperative Action (LCA) process. Instead, the Group is pushing for provisions of the Copenhagen Accord to be included in a likely agreement expected to come out of Cancun in December.

Fry was one of the first few speakers that took the stand at the beginning of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Co-operative Action (AWG-LCA) session in Bonn Tuesday morning.

He expressed Tuvalu’s concerns to what he called ‘short term quick fixes’ to financing mechanisms.

“Tuvalu does not believe in short term quick fixes or fast track financing. There needs to be scaled up funding from developed countries.”

Fry said the response measures on the economic and social consequences of climate change are inappropriate and not realistic.

“Tuvalu will seek deletion of chapter 7 of the text if it’s not improved, said Fry.

Chair of the AWG-LCA, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe has been praised for her initiative to prepare a draft text, now seen as a compromised text, before the Bonn talks. The text draws on the outcomes of the LCA conclusions in Copenhagen and the agreement reached by 29 countries, led by the United States.

The text, according to Ronneberg, reflects all but one of the 15 issues raised by AOSIS.

“It’s the one that deals with safeguarding small island states as a benchmark for any agreement.”

“I think it had a largely political origin as a practical issue and I don’t know how the group is going to deal with it, said Ronneberg.

“On the issue of the Copenhagen Accord, AOSIS as a group is fairly pragmatic about it. They are willing to look at the text on its own merits, discuss it and see what it means for us as a group.

“I don’t think anyone from the group will be adamant that the exact wording put forward has to be reflected in the documents. It’s a negotiation and the group will analyse it and make sure our key concerns are reflected.”

Ronneberg said AOSIS remains optimistic despite predictions that Cancun will be another Copenhagen.

“We can make progress on the LCA text but there are some fundamental issues that need to be discussed that are fairly cross cutting. We need to have the time to have full discussion and the political will from all parties to really want to make a deal.

“We can be optimistic and work on trying to bridge all these gaps to make sure we understand fully the positions of others so that we can come to a compromise solution that is acceptable to the entire membership.

“One of the key concerns from the Pacific is that we want to see strong emissions reduction. If the rules are so flexible that you can reach your target by creative book keeping, that’s not really in our interest.

“We need to have emissions reduced to a level that safeguard the Pacific that requires actual, real action in terms of mitigation and also requires proper financing and support for adaptation.

The full transcript of the interview with Espen Ronneberg will also be available soon.

Ms Komai will be covering the Bonn Climate Change negotiations from 31 May – 11 June 2010, thanks to funding from Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). She will provide daily coverage of the negotiations via PACNEWS and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s climate pasifika blogspot,

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