Climate Change

Convention must not be rewritten, assert developing countries at COP

At a high-level meet in Paris, the countries pushed for equal treatment of mitigation and adaptation in the final deal

By Vijeta Rattani
Published: Monday 07 December 2015

Speaking on behalf of the G-77 and China, South African Ambassador Diseko on Monday, reiterated the group’s stance that the new climate agreement should be under the principles, rules and provisions of the Convention. She insisted that there was no scope to rewrite, renegotiate or reinterpret the Convention.

The ambassador pressed for principles of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capability (CBDRRC) to be reflected in all elements – mitigation, adaptation, capacity building, transparency and means of support and implementation. She also urged for scaling up of the pre-2020 actions and said that still there are five years before the new agreement comes into effect in 2020. Since the G-77 and China group comprises of 85 per cent of the world population, Diseko made it clear that no agreement could be arrived at unless the concerns of the group are taken into account.

Miguel Arias Cañete, commissioner for climate action and energy at the European Commission, speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), expressed optimism that the new climate agreement is within reach in Paris. He urged Parties for a spirit of compromise and flexibility and pressed for a durable, ambitious and legally binding agreement. “We need a credible, robust and globally legally binding agreement,” he remarked. He also assured that the money is flowing both domestically and internationally in both mitigation and adaptation and the EU was a leader in providing climate finance.

On mitigation, the Commissioner called for a long term operational goal, a regular review of the climate efforts by all Parties as the initial contributions in the form of INDCs, though a welcome step, are still not ambitious. Accordingly, an upward review mechanism was essential. On adaptation, he pressed for ambition in all countries. He also highlighted the need for a robust transparency system.

Marlies Amann-Marxer, environment minister of Europe’s Liechtenstein, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group, or EIG, (including Liechtenstein, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Monaco) welcomed the work of The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) in producing the text. The minister pressed for a robust and transparency mechanism in the new Agreement, along with gender equality and fairness. She also pointed that EIG was taking efforts to mobilise finance, and welcomed the process of nationally determined country climate contributions. She pushed for collective effort and ambition and insisted that “we have a political aim to cut greenhouse gas emission and cut emission intensities of economies”. She also highlighted the importance of compliance mechanism in ensuring that the targets outlined under the INDCs are met.

Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Minister of Environment of Egypt Khaled Fahmy also called for equity and CBDR and pointed out that the current emission gap is due to the lack of efforts for the pre-2020 actions and therefore there was a dire necessity to upscale the pre-2020 efforts in combating climate change.

The Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS), comprising of 44 islands most vulnerable to climate change, expressed urgency and a greater political will to seal the Agreement as this was the last chance. Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy of Maldives, while speaking on behalf of the group called for an inclusion of long term goal of below 1.5 degree Celsius rise in the new agreement as the climate impacts are distressing and need a greater ambition. He also urged the need for the pre-2020 actions to be upscaled.

The meeting was crucial as under the mandate, the text that was prepared by the ADP and endorsed by Parties is dealt at the ministerial level for negotiations under different segments. COP President Laurent Fabius has decided December 10 as the day to come out with the Paris Text Agreement.

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