Differentiation, loss and damage and finance emerge as critical issues
In the stocktaking session held on Tuesday, COP 21 President Laurent Fabius said that a revised and clean version of the text would be released at 1 pm (CET) on Wednesday. This version is expected to be brief and streamlined, with the parties reaching a consensus on numerous contentious issues during informal group discussions.
The version released on Wednesday will be the basis for the final round of negotiations. Parties will again meet at 5 pm (CET) to discuss the first reactions to the text, and subsequently, break out into informal groups to discuss all pending issues on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The final version of the text is expected to be presented on Thursday.
Updates from informal groups
Prior to the announcements made by the COP president, the various informal groups gave updates on the discussions they had been having. The parties reported having made significant progress on finance and technology development as well as transfer sections. Differentiation was, however, a key political issue and it was clear that the traditional fault lines remain.
On the long-term goal, the parties had agreed to somehow incorporate language related to a 1.5 degrees Celsius goal into the text related to temperature limit. On mitigation, it was agreed to have quantitative short-term, medium-term and long-term goals and the inclusion of five-year cycles for successive communication.
On adaptation, parties reportedly had made significant progress and said the current text more or less reflects the landing ground among the various proposals. What is still required is a clear goal on adaptation and links to Article 2 (Purpose) and Article 3 (Mitigation).
Another key issue that is yet to be resolved in adaptation is the support for adaptation and its sufficiency, but this is a cross cutting issue linked to the discussions on finance.
Loss and damage remains a major challenge with both developing and developed countries reporting that “liability” and “compensation” are red-lines for them. There seems to be no compromise from either side on the issue.
The evening and night of Wednesday is expected to be a crucial time with parties considering the “near-final” version of the text for negotiations and trying to thrash out all the outstanding contentious issues. A tremendous amount of progress will need to happen in the night if the Paris agreement is to be adopted on Friday.
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