Work plan under Durban Platform may prove contentious

Developing countries say the work plan can progress only if outstanding issues are resolved first

By Indrajit Bose
Published: Wednesday 28 November 2012

Talks are now in full swing at the climate meet at Doha in Qatar. The negotiations, which are happening under three different tracks—ad hoc working groups on Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and Durban Platform—have all been launched. And the differences between the negotiating countries, or Parties as they are called in the climate circuit, are out in the open in all the three tracks.

Durban Platform, also called ADP, was launched at the Durban Conference of Parties (CoP) in 2011. Durban decided that the other two tracks—KP and LCA—would resolve outstanding issues such as finance, technology transfer, intellectual property rights at Doha this year and the ADP would complete its work by 2015. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the EU pushed that ADP should have a “work plan” at Doha, setting out a basic framework for the next three years of negotiations.

In the first meeting of the ADP, held on November 27 in Doha, there was a general consensus among the Parties on why ADP was formed. But the consensus ends there. The differences arose on the nature of a “work plan” for ADP (see ‘Negotiating stances’).

According to a developing country negotiator, the successful conclusion of the outstanding issues in LCA and KP will be the basis to decide the next steps for ADP. “All unresolved issues should be addressed at the next level and be discussed in either ADP CoP or subsidiary bodies. This is of utmost importance to developing countries since issues of equity, unilateral trade measures and technology are involved,” the negotiator said.

But developed countries want to junk the unresolved issues, which they made quite clear during the LCA talks. Therefore, while junking unresolved issues and stressing on a work plan is just the developed world’s tactic to not take on stringent commitments to reduce greenhouse gases. Speaking on behalf of the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), the Chinese delegation made it absolutely clear that they will not let this happen. “We object any attempt to transfer the burden to address climate change from developed to developing countries,” China said.

According to the co-chairs of the ADP, it is important to leave Doha with clarity on ADP session and activities for next year. In other words, have a schedule of activity but not pre-decide what would be the content of these meetings. It is expected that this issue could snowball into a controversy in the days to come if the developed countries stick to their demand for a work plan while ignoring unresolved issues in the LCA track.


Parties’ negotiating stances
Algeria: (On behalf of G77 and China) It is important to take forward work done at Durban. The work under ADP should be in line with principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and be based on equity and common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR). The process under ADP should not lead to rewriting or reinterpreting of the Convention.

Australia (On behalf of Umbrella Group):

After 20 years of experience under UNFCCC, innovative thinking is needed to deliver success. It is hoped that countries that have not pledged, especially the ones with capability, do so in Doha for a deal.

The EU: A work plan is needed for 2013 and mitigation ambition needs to be advanced through work under ADP.

Switzerland (On behalf of Environmental Integrity Group)

Doha must deliver elaboration of regimes from 2020. 2015 is very close and progress cannot be delayed. “We are for a legally binding instrument from 2020, with global participation, mitigation commitments for all, based on equity and CBDR and RC.”

Nauru (on behalf of AOSIS)

Time is not on our side. LCA and KP must be a concrete deliverable in Doha. Concerted global effort is needed from all, especially developed countries. They need to upscale ambition.

Gambia (LDCs)

LDC group is fully committed to start a legally binding agreement post 2020 regime. ADP is a younger brother of an older process. It is, therefore, stressed that agreeing on second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol is most important for least developed countries (LDCs).

China (on behalf of BASIC)

AWG-KP and AWG-LCA will be crucial for ADP. We must remember that ADP is to further strengthen the rule base multilateral regime. It is not a process to rewrite or reinterpret the Convention or build a new regime. All work under ADP should be based on the principles of equity and CBDR and RC. ADP should cover mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. All elements should be equally treated.

Egypt (Arab group)

We are not here to reconstruct the international system to fight climate change. We don’t need to start from zero. We need to have results based objectives as has been set out by LCA and KP in previous years. Developed countries should take the lead and help developing countries with money and technology.

Swaziland (Africa group)

We need a balanced package/deal based on the principles of the Convention. Any outcome of the negotiation has to be based on CBDR and RC.


Closure of LCA and KP 2 will be crucial outcomes in Doha. This has a bearing on ADP. It must be clear to all that ADP is not a new regime and it should not become another failed instrument

Papua New Guinea

REDD+ implementation should be a primary focus and fully recognized in the new agreement.


Progress in ADP linked to and should build on outcomes of KP and LCA. Developing countries doing much more than developed countries. Any supplementary/complementary activity will have to be under the principles of the convention

Chile (Latin American Countries)

Through ADP we will meet the main objective of the Convention. We need a rule-based legally binding agreement. Equity and CBDR must be at the heart of any new deal.






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