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Meet your commitments first, G77 tells developed countries


The lack of fulfillment by developed countries of their commitments is a primary cause of the deteriorating climate situation and this impedes the overall goal of the UN Convention on Climate Change.
 
In face of this “implementation deficit”, the UNFCCC’s post-Bali activities should firstly focus on enhancing the implementation of the developed countries’ existing obligations, including providing finance and technology transfer to developing countries.
 
This was the central message by the Group of 77 and China at the opening plenary of the first United Nations climate change negotiations since last December’s Bali conference.
 
The Bangkok climate talks, under the UNFCCC, kicked off on Monday with the initial plenary sessions of two working groups – one on fixing new emission-reduction commitments of developed countries and the other to discuss “long-term cooperative action” of countries to deal with the climate crisis.  The Bangkok meetings are:
 
-- The 1st session of the ad hoc working group (under the Convention) on long-term cooperative action (AWG-LCA) that is mandated to discuss financial resources, technology transfer, mitigation, adaptation and “shared vision”.  This group (chaired by Luiz Machado of Brazil) is directly dealing with the Bali decision (known as the “Bali Action Plan”) to undertake a “comprehensive process” to come up with a decision on long-term action by the end of 2009. 
 
-- The 5th session of the ad hoc working group (under the Kyoto Protocol) on further commitments for Annex I parties (AWG-KP5).  The first commitment period of the protocol ends in 2012 and this group is negotiating the emission-reduction commitments of developed countries for the second commitment period (after 2012).      
 
At the opening ceremony, UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer said the huge task has to be broken into manageable bite-sized chunks, with member states agreeing on “the how, the what and the when.”   The AWG-LCA needs to identify the issues needing clarification, such as what exactly “comparable effort” entails.
 
He added that according to the IPCC’s findings, the solutions need to “significantly increase the extent of adaptation to reduce vulnerability, stop the increase of global emissions within the next 10-15 years, dramatically cut back emissions by mid-century at the latest, and do so in a way that is economically viable world-wide.”
 
At the first formal session of the AWG-LCA, the G77 and China, represented by Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, stressed that the Bali decision mandates the AWGLCA to “launch a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through the long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012”.
 
It is therefore important to first focus on enhancing implementation of existing obligations under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, a critical requirement given the urgency of the need to address the unavoidable consequences of climate change. Demonstrated positive implementation would be an important element of the confidence building required in the face of the current implementation deficit.
 
The G77 and China said the AWG-LCA’s work must be guided by the principles of the Convention, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with developed countries taking the lead in combating climate change and its effects.
 
“The primary focus of the programme of work should be on closing the implementation gap and fulfilling existing commitments under the convention and the Kyoto Protocol – in particular on enabling requirements for financing and the development and transfer of technology – while maintaining the balance of rights and obligations of  parties,” said the chair of the G77 and China.
 
“We wish to highlight that the unfulfilled commitments and obligations of Annex 1 Parties are to date among the primary causes of the deteriorating climate situation and are barriers and constraints to implementation. These factors impede progress towards the overall goal for the Convention.”
 
Ashe said stressed the importance of treating the “building blocks” in an integrated manner as they are inter-related, reinforcing and equally important.
 
[The four “building blocks”, in traditional UNFCCC terms, refer to finance, technology, mitigation and adaptation.  Since Bali, another item, “shared vision” is referred to by some parties, as a new building block].
 
Added the G77 and China:  “In this regard, and given that this is an iterative process, all issues must be considered in a holistic manner. Fragmented treatment of the building blocks will lead to confusion and unnecessary complication of the issues and this will impede progress on Long Term Cooperative Action.
 
“There needs to be clear commitment from developed countries to meet their obligations. In accordance with the principles of the Convention, developed country parties should acknowledge and honour their obligations to provide technology and financial support for the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries. The failure of Annex 1 parties to date has been a major source of concern.”
 
Ashe added that that the two working groups are “two separate and parallel processes. It is important that these two processes be considered as distinct and separate, with different mandates, and therefore we should avoid any efforts to link the processes.”
 
He also stressed that there should be no ambiguity that the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol serve as “the inter-governmentally agreed structure within the international community to address the challenge of climate change. Given the intensity of the challenge, other efforts will only distract and further compound the challenge.”
 
He said the G77 and China “remains concerned by the failure of the Annex 1 parties to honour their commitments in terms of emission reduction.”
 
Alluding to the group’s concern about discussions in small groups (that only a few countries were invited in at Bali), the G77 and China added:  “We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring an all-inclusive open, transparent and participatory process.
 
“The success and effectiveness of the process going forward will depend to a significant degree on the extent to which we use openness, transparency and inclusiveness as our guiding principles. We should endeavour to afford equal opportunity for participation of all parties.”
 
China’s chief delegate, Su Wei, reiterated that the AWG’s goal was the full, sustained and effective implementation of the Convention and to contribute to sustainable development and that all discussions should be consistent with the “common but differentiated responsibilities” principle. 
 
Equal treatment should be given to adaptation and mitigation.  Mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance are 4 elements of the package and should be pursued in parallel and form an integral whole and must be discussed together. The timing of meetings should be planned in a way as to enable the participation of developing countries.
 
China said the process should address the quantified emission reduction obligations of the Annex I parties to the Kyoto protocol and the comparability of efforts with those who are not parties. This, said China, is a concrete requirement in Bali.
 
[The US is a party to the UNFCCC but not to the Kyoto Protocol. China was referring to the Bali decision that there should be mitigation commitments or actions by all developed country Parties (of the Convention) while ensuring the comparability of efforts among them, in Para 1 (b) (i) of the Bali Action Plan].
 
China added that developing countries’ domestic actions should be in the context of sustainable development and supported by the developed countries in a measurable, reportable, and verifiable manner through technology transfer, finance and capacity building.  
 
The mitigation action of developing countries should be determined by their national policies and the reference to actions that are “measurable, reportable and verifiable” should apply to actions that are taken, and not to mitigation outcomes, stressed China.
 
On technology transfer, developed countries should deliver on heir legal obligation to provide technology and they should provide funds to an international technology fund to provide technology on a concessional or free basis to developing countries. International mechanisms for technology transfer must be set up to remove obstacles so that developing countries have true access that is affordable.
 
The developed countries should also deliver on their legal obligation to provide finance with stable and adequate flows that are separate and distinct from existing ODA, said China. While existing offers are welcome, they are far from adequate and the money should be within the UNFCCC framework.  The monies should be linked to the realization of the obligations of the Convention.
 
On “shared vision”, China said that the Convention’s  Article 2 provides a clear cut overall objective.  We should work towards this goal by strengthening the Convention and protocol with support for technology, finance and adaptation, which is the best possible shared vision.  It is critical to uphold the common but differentiated responsibilities principle and to meet the poverty eradication and development needs of developing countries whose efforts are in the framework of sustainable development.
 
Algeria, for the Africa Group, said that the Convention and Kyoto Protocol should not be reopened in any way. The AWG-LCA should focus on implementation and the obligation of Annex 1 countries to provide finance and technology, especially for adaptation.
 
The Africa Group said it had grave concerns that in Bali, certain parties were excluded from participation in the process. It therefore emphasized the need for full and inclusive participation, and the right of all parties to participate in all meetings.  Both adaptation and mitigation must be supported by technology, finance and capacity building.
 
The European Union, represented by Slovenia, said the Bangkok meeting should produce an ambitious and efficient work programme for the AWG-LCA that enables completion of a “comprehensive global agreement under the UNFCCC in 2009.”
 
We should be able to leave Poznan (the venue of the meeting of the UNFCCC’s conference of parties in December 2008) with “a focused list of options to be addressed in the work programme for 2009, a work programme which should be guided by an agreement on the main elements of the shared vision,” said the EU.
 
The EU wanted an iterative process in which each session can build on the discussion of the former, with issues dealt with in parallel, to maximise the limited time available.
 
It wanted the work programme to start with the “shared vision dealing with perspectives on low-carbon development paths that ensure our collective action on climate change is sufficiently ambitious in order to avoid dangerous climate change, while we also start discussing enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation. We also need to begin exploring issues of substance for the supporting building blocks of technology as well as financing and investment in the first half of 2008.”
 
Japan also said that discussion should be conducted in parallel. “In particular, actions by both developed and developing country parties should be discussed in parallel. It is not appropriate to discuss each building block without holistic views on a future framework including a shared vision.”
 
Japan proposed that task forces be set up, with expert inputs on impacts and costs, be set up for the four issues of mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance.
 
It also proposed that “legal issues” be addressed for establishing a new framework beyond 2012.  “For example, we have to clarify the definition of “developed country parties” and “developing country parties” in the Bali Action Plan.  Also, it is necessary to identify the scope and criteria of “developing country parties” which are expected to take actions, and those of vulnerable countries which require particular support.
 
“Regarding the participation of each party, we propose that each country be classified to tiers according to objective standards. When a country meets the standards, the country should be moved to the next tier. The base year should be reviewed from the perspective of equity.”
 
Japan requested the secretariat to develop a paper analyzing possible legal issues related to the new framework, and to report to the Poznan meeting.  Parties should then decide how to proceed with this issue, including the establishment of a special task force.

 

Source:Third World Network
Date:Apr 07,2008