Saturday, 5 June 2010

Workable text emerges after weeklong climate change talks, Ambassador Colin Beck

By Makereta Komai of Climate Pasifika in Bonn, Germany

04 June 2010 Bonn, Germany --- A week after climate change talks here in Bonn, a ‘workable’ text has emerged but negotiators are still cautious with how it will pen out at the end of next week.

It’s perceived as ‘workable’ because all the 185 nations present here have worked comprehensively on the two texts – the Long Term Co-operative Action (LCA) and the amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP), said Ambassador Colin Beck of Solomon Islands, who is one of the Pacific’s leading negotiators on climate change.

“It’s not only the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which includes AOSIS that is positive about the outcome of this week’s progress. The African Group, the European Union, the Umbrella Group and the United States have been contributing to the discussions.

Even though the United States is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, it is participating in the LCA text which is related to the Protocol.

“So far, there has been positive feedback to the well co-ordinated interventions made by Parties. Group statements are being made rather than the open discussions which led to repetitive interventions.

The success talks of the current talks is attributed to what many countries are saying that it is ‘Party driven’ supporting the two ad hoc working group chairs in facilitating the negotiation.

“Mexico is also supporting this process through informal sessions, discussing difficult issues and linking them up with the negotiations.

“Parties are now engaging in constructive and pragmatic discussions.

There is also an outreach from major industrialised countries to discuss more difficult issues, said Ambassador Beck.

“It’s totally a new atmosphere and we are beginning to see a more ‘think outside the box’ approach, he added.

His observations are supported by regional climate change adviser, Espen Ronneberg.

“There has been some progress in the different working groups but there is still a long way to go before we can see any conclusions. I think the sort of targeted questions the LCA chair has put up have been quiet helpful. We just need to see how the responses are going to be reflected by the chair.

“These are questions in the area of financing – the kind of relationship between the different technical boards that are being proposed and the financial mechanisms, on adaptation, there are some questions on institutional structures.

“For us in the Pacific, our focus now is that we need to move into implementation. There are still a few stumbling blocks, with a few countries saying they need to be convinced before any implementation is approved, said Ronneberg.

In addition, Ambassador Beck raised the concerns of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) that there appears to be no lowering of expectations.

“These are part of the imbalances and gaps that need to be sorted out hopefully before the end of next week.

“There are a number of gaps we still see in the negotiating texts.

These include loss of damage and the definition of vulnerability, said Ambassador Beck.
But all in all, there is greater improvement in the text, compared to the failed negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, he added.

Ms Komai will be covering the Bonn Climate Change negotiations from 31 May – 11 June 2010, thanks to support 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 SPREP website, the climate pasifika blogspot, and the PINA Green page

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