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Bonn climate meet: countries ready to work on Durban Platform

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Author(s): Hemant Nair
Date:May 18, 2012

Call to make equity and common but differentiated responsibilities central to future work plan 

Developed countries taking part in the climate negotiations currently underway in Bonn showed readiness to act on what was agreed to at the Durban Conference of Parties (CoP) last year. The common theme prevalent in the opening session of the Ad-hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was this—let’s get down to work. The session which began on May 17, saw parties from both the third world and developed countries urging members to utilise this session as a starting point for serious action on climate change. Earlier, developed countries had shown reluctance to hold negotiations on issues such as technology transfer and finance that they agreed at the CoP held in Bali in 2007.  

In her opening statement to the session, president of the CoP17, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, urged parties to quickly prioritise a work plan for  ADP, to be finalised by 2015. She also asked parties to refrain from falling back on old unhelpful negotiating practices and to quickly move the process forward. In this regard, groups such as the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), formed by countries such as Switzerland, Mexico and Korea, as well as the least developed countries group (LDCs), presented ambitious three-year proposals that involved developing the content and work plan as well as developing the instruments to be used by the body.

A key aspect of the day’s session was the call for equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) to be made central to the future work plan of the ADP. This point, which was a key feature of the G77+China statement, was supported by many developing nation groups such as the Africa group, the LDCs and the Alliance of Small Island Nations (AOSIS). This issue of equity and CBDR was also raised in conjunction with the need to add on elements such as climate adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.

While reiterating many of these points, India also stated that ADP should not rewrite the Climate Change Convention, but should remain within its boundaries, a point raised by other parties as well. India also stated that any agreement made within the ADP needed to take into account its need for poverty reduction and sustainable economic development.

EU seeks higher emission reductions

The European Union (EU), while agreeing to this, called for urgency in developing a work plan to address the gaps in ambition in meeting 2020 climate change mitigation targets. This was a point which was raised not only by developed nations but also third world groups such as AOSIS and the Rainforest Coalition group. The EU also stated that any new climate protocol should not only be legally binding on all parties, but also be effective, efficient and fair. Also, in order to tackle the lack of ambition seen in emission pledges for 2020, the EU states pledged to reduce their emissions by 30 per cent should other parties show similar ambition.

The second session of the day saw submissions from various observer organisations, which represented business, environmental NGOs, local government and municipal authorities, as well as women and youth groups. The statement of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of NGOs, in which it urged greater action on mitigation targets and the adoption of an agreement by 2015 reflected many of the issues raised by observer groups. While reiterating the issue of equity and CBDR, CAN also asked the ADP to step up measures to increase climate finance commitments from developed countries, including phasing out fuel subsidies.

The session concluded with an update on the consultations held with the parties on the election of the posts of chair, vice-chair and rapporteur for ADP. Three nominations were received for the post of chair, two for vice-chair and none for the final post.  J M Mauskar from India was among the  nominees for the post of chair of ADP, the other nominees were from Norway, Trinindad and Tobago. It was concluded that while the final two posts would be decided during Doha meet end of this year, the election of a chair for the ADP would be decided within a day.

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