Developing countries determined to save climate regime

The Group of 77 and China, the Alliance of Small Island States, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the African Group, and the Least Developed countries called for the preservation of the Kyoto Protocol in the last official preparatory meeting for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, reported Meena Raman, legal advisor and researcher of the Third World Network.

Raman’s report, published this month by the South Bulletin, reads as follows: 

Kyoto Protocol’s Continuation Is Paramount for G77

By Meena Rahman

The Group of 77 (G77) and China reaffirmed the strong commitment of the members to move forward in Durban based in the conviction that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol must be preserved.

This reaffirmation was expressed at the end of the Panama preparatory meeting for the Durban conference in October, when the G77 and China reached concrete progress in order to arrive in Durban with greater clarity, an improved mutual understanding and concrete texts to work on, in several cases

The Group said that multilateralism is a political tool that has proved beneficial to all and must be safeguarded. The second commitment period (for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol) is paramount for the G77 and China. Efforts must be made in order to achieve its adoption.

The G77 and China expressed that in Durban there must be a fair and equal treatment of all issues that are important to all Parties. A serious imbalance in the progress of issues can clearly not be conducive to a successful outcome that is comprehensive and balanced.

The Group was ready to work on the draft negotiating texts on the very important issue of finance. It is clear that without financing, including for technology development  and  transfer and capacity building, the extent to which developing country Parties will be able to effectively implement their commitment under the Convention will be directly affected, it said.

The same applies to other new responsibilities, such as measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries (NAMAs), that should be accompanied with clear indications of how much, how, and when new financial resources would be provided to developing countries, said the G77 and China. The oversight of the implementation of commitments related to financing, technology development and transfer and, in particular, adaptation should be ensured through the Standing Committee.  Long-term finance would include the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund and its predictable financing so that it can become operational in Durban.

Regarding mitigation, the G77 and China believed that the level of engagement in mitigation was positive especially in the mitigation actions of developed countries and that of developing countries, but insufficient in others, such as the social and economic consequences of response measures.

In connection to the discussions on the development and transfer of technologies, the G77 and China said that negotiations were positive, and hoped that the two outstanding issues remaining can be resolved in Durban, so that the Technology Mechanism can be fully operationalized.

The Group of 77 and China emphasized the importance of the issue of economic and social consequences of response measures for all developing countries, and therefore, the need to give full consideration under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) to what actions are necessary to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing countries arising from the impact of the implementation of response measures. In this respect, it expressed its disappointment at the unwillingness of developed countries to make progress in Panama on this issue in the AWG-LCA, which lead to not having an outcome on this issue during this session.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking for the African Group, said that it was concerned that progress in Panama has been uneven on different issues. On some, there was considerable movement, on others some movement and on others, the negotiations had almost ground to a standstill. It said that there was foot-dragging by some Parties.

It was concerned in particular that there has been inadequate progress on finance and, under the other track of our negotiations, on mitigation commitments by Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol. The African Group said that we cannot build a table on two legs. There was need to ensure strong outcomes on both tracks and all pillars of our negotiations – particularly two key commitments of Annex I countries – mitigation and finance. On mitigation, we need to increase the ambition of Annex I mitigation targets across the board. In particular, work under the AWG-LCA we must focus on converting Annex I non-Kyoto Parties in converting targets into a carbon budget and a common accounting framework, it said.

There was also need to establish a robust MRV regime to ensure environmental integrity, comparability of efforts among Annex I Parties and avoid double counting. This should serve as an early warning mechanism in tracking mitigation and support.

On finance, we need progress on the sources and scale of public financial resources to be provided by developed countries for the period commencing in 2013, on enhanced transparency in the provision of new and additional financial resources through a common reporting format, and on the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee on Finance. It expressed concerns that it took most of the week here in Panama to start work on a text. Adaptation is a priority for Africa and called on developed country Parties to urgently scale up support for the implementation of adaptation measures and plans.

Ecuador speaking for the ALBA, was concerned that developed countries who were clamouring for a legally-binding outcome under the AWG-LCA were themselves not respecting the law in not making their further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. It said that there was need for a clear decision on the provision of long-term finance and it could not accept the excuse that there was not enough resources when billions of dollars were being used to save banks and on war.

Saudi Arabia, speaking for the Arab Group expressed concern that developed countries were impeding negotiations on long-term finance. In relation to the informal group on economic and social consequences of response measures, there was a total rejection of all texts by developing countries, which did not lead to the required balance for a comprehensive outcome.

Grenada, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States, did not support the efforts by some Parties to rewrite the Convention and abandon the Kyoto Protocol. It wanted a clear and unambiguous mandate for a new agreement under the AWG-LCA, while expecting developed countries to fulfill their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. In relation to the issue of the review, it said that it will resist attempts to broaden the scope of the review beyond the adequacy of the long-term global goal related to limiting the temperature rise. It also called for the rapid capitalization of the GCF.

Gambia speaking for the LDCs, said that many Parties were willing to move towards a legally binding instrument under the Bali Action Plan but  such  an  instrument must be binding and capable of enforcement on all the Bali pillars.

The European Union welcomed progress on many issues, including on mitigation ambition, clarifying of the pledges (for emissions reductions), common accounting framework and enhanced MRV. The EU emphasized the need for a single legally binding instrument that includes all the essential elements of the KP and that it was willing to consider a second commitment period as part of a wider outcome including a comprehensive framework for all major economies. It said that Durban should agree on a mandate with a clear timeline to negotiate a new protocol. It said that further progress was needed on identifying the sources of long-term finance from public finance, including innovative sources, and private finance. Market mechanisms were part of the solution and an agreement on new market mechanisms must be a part of the Durban package.

The last day of the Panama meeting also saw the launch of an alliance between the African Group, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the ALBA group of Latin American countries to ensure that the Durban climate conference delivers outcomes that strengthen the climate regime, cut emissions and deliver on climate finance.

At a press conference held on October 7, the leaders of these developing country groupings announced that they have developed a 'Statement of Common Position' outlining areas of unity and defining a common position covering key areas of the negotiations.


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