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TWN Bangkok Climate Change Talks Briefing Paper 6


KEY POINTS FOR UNFCCC BANGKOK MEETING
 


 
1. General
 
It is clear that the Bangkok meeting will be mainly about process issues and procedures. 
 
On Process, it is important that developing countries advocate for a process that is transparent, inclusive and participatory rather than exclusive, with no or very minimal small-group exclusive meetings of the type prevalent in Bali.
 
On Procedures, there must especially be the proper sequencing of the agenda items in a timetable of the next two years that abide by the mandate of the Bali Action Plan and that is in favour of developing countries.
 
The main decision and mandate of the Bali Action Plan is from para 1:  “Decides to launch a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012…”  Thus the immediate implementation of the Convention is the main mandate, and the emphasis must be on implementation actions now.
 
2. Sequencing of issues to be discussed on agenda
 
The issues on the agenda of the AWG-LCA can be divided into two categories and they should be discussed/negotiated in two sets and stages:  
 
      (I):       Issues where there are existing commitments, and where review and 
                  implementation is key:

            Finance
            Technology
            Adaptation
            Mitigation by developed countries
 
(II)              Issues which are newly introduced through Bali Action Plan:
 
      Mitigation by developing countries (reportable etc) in context of sustainable development
Long-term global goals (global emission reduction)
 
The issues in Set I are old issues which are ripe for negotiations.  The issues in Set II are new and there should be a longer time for dialogue and preparation.
 
It is crucial that we get the sequencing of the agenda right, and this is the most important task of the Bangkok meeting.
 
Issues in (I) should be discussed first as Stage I issues because:
 
(a)     They are the subject of long-standing commitments.  Thus a proper sequence must start with (a) a review of the implementation of these commitments;  (b) identification of obstacles to full implementation;  (c) measures needed to overcome the obstacles;  (c) negotiation on enhanced commitments, actions and implementation.
(b)    Finance and technology are the agreed enabling factors that are the pre-condition for developing countries to enhance their actions on mitigation and adaptation.The enabling factors have to be discussed first, so as to put the horse before the cart and not the other way round.  
(c)     The mitigation commitments of developed countries for the 2nd commitment period starting 2013 need to be known first since (i) it is an existing commitment to have second and subsequent commitment periods;  (ii) it is the foundation on which the global emission target is to be built, and thus it has to be discussed first before the global targets.
 
Issues in (II) should be Stage II issues and have to be sequenced to be discussed later because:
   
(a)     They are new issues just decided in Bali.
(b)    The mitigation actions by developing countries are conditioned on the extent to which developed countries provide finance and technology (Convention article 4.7) and the reportable verifiable actions of developing countries are conditional on the reportable verifiable technology and finance that are enabling factors.
(c)     The global goals have to be the final item to be discussed, as the level of ambition for these targets is heavily influenced by the developed countries’ mitigation commitments and by the extent of finance and technology they make available to developing countries.
 
In terms of scheduling the two-year process, the Stage I issues should take 1 year an a half (June 2008 to June 2009) and the Stage II issues should take half a year (between June to Dec 2009).
 
NOTE:  The EU submission contained in FCCC/AWGLCA/2008/MISC.1 (p68- 76) has the opposite sequence.  It wants the agenda to start with shared vision/global goals (with workshops in Bangkok, submissions by April and roundtable in June) and mitigation, including developing country actions, in the first part of June.   Technology starts only in the second part of June, while finance serious discussion begins in December 2008.
 
3.  Time Table
 
To reflect the proposed sequencing and the discussion in 2 stages, developing countries should draw up a time table, showing Stage I issues to be discussed first, followed by Stage II issues.
 
4.  Concerns and points on process issues 
 
It is crucial that the process of the AWGLCA in next 2 years be fully inclusive, participatory and transparent and enables developing countries to participate effectively.  In this light:
 
(a) All countries must be kept fully aware and must participate in making decisions on any contact groups or any “informal small-group” meetings taking place.  Although certain countries may be requested to attend such a meeting, all countries must be informed of the meeting, and any other country that wants to attend should be allowed to do so.  There should not be a repeat of the Bali experience in which security guards prohibit delegates from coming to a meeting unless such delegates carry a pass or ticket. 
 
(b) Texts agreed to at a meeting must be faithfully reproduced by Chair and Secretariat to bring to the following meeting or to plenary.  There should not be a repeat of the Bali experience where a different text from what was agreed to was brought to plenary on the final day.
 
(c) When meetings or consultations are still being held, the Chair and the Secretariat should not prematurely start a formal meeting or a plenary to take decisions.  The experience of the final plenary in Bali should not be repeated.
 
(d) There are too many misleading statements made about the “expiry of the Kyoto Protocol” in 2012 and its replacement by a new regime.  Countries should not make or encourage such statements.  The Secretariat should set the record right especially with media.   
 
(e) The workshops organized in session and outside sessions must be designed and implemented in an objective manner, with the members especially the G77 and China having a say in the (1) choice of topics  (2) timing of topics  (3) selection of speakers  (4) selection of issues and questions in the workshops.  A procedure should be established for this.
 
5.  Finance
 
There are concerns over the initiative of the World Bank to establish three climate funds  (forest fund, adaptation pilot fund, clean technology fund) valued at USD 7-12 billion.  These would be outside the decisions of the UNFCCC, and the governance of the Bank would make the governance of financing donor-driven.  The World Bank initiative should not go ahead unless and until there is a thorough discussion at UNFCCC. It should not undermine or prejudge the discussions and outcome of finance issues at UNFCCC.  
 
There should be a strengthening of existing UNFCCC funds, and the establishment of new funds within UNFCCC which are under the control and direction of members.  A good model is the multilateral fund set up within the Montreal Protocol, which is governed by the members, and the fund has its own secretariat, and a bank is appointed to undertake a role purely as trustee and not as secretariat or other governing roles). 
 
6.  Technology
 
There are many complex issues in the technology issue, including access to affordable technology, the model of R & D and innovation and its financing, and the questions of IPRs as a potential barrier.  Identifying barriers to technology transfer and overcoming them are important.  To date there has been little or no actual technology transfer implemented through the UNFCCC.  This disappointing outcome should be reviewed and steps taken to change this situation through the removal of obstacles. A thorough discussion on these issues is required.
 
7.  Adaptation 
 
Developing countries should be encouraged to list the activities and measures that they require in adaptation, and the financing and technology requirements.  From the combination of the lists, a clearer picture will emerge on the needs and thus demands of the countries.  A methodology for listing and a procedure for submission and collation of the lists of needs and demands are required.
 
8. Developing countries’ participation
 
There are serious concerns that the pace of negotiations (many meetings a year, and many meetings within a session) will be too hectic for developing countries as they have few resources.  Meetings should be held in New York or Geneva, where developing countries have Missions equipped to take part in negotiations.  There should be preparatory meetings where developing countries can strategise before formal UNFCCC meetings. The one-day meetings of the G77 just a day before the start of formal meetings are insufficient.
 
9. Danger of “New Issues” Being Proposed
 
At Bali, many developed countries proposed “new issues” to be placed onto the post-Bali agenda.  These included level playing field for competitiveness, relations between the climate and other regimes or organizations, and energy security.  The “commitments of developing countries” is also a “new topic” that some countries insisted on.  Although the attempt failed in Bali, the countries may try again in Bangkok.  Para 1 states that the COP decides to launch a process by addressing inter alia:  (followed by issues).
 
The term “level playing field” for competitiveness is a code for wanting to link climate change with rules of the trading system or WTO.  Similarly the links between UNFCCC or climate regime with other regimes and organizations may probably refer to the trading system or WTO. 
 
There are attempts by some parties in EU and US to place additional import duties on products depending on their carbon or pollution content.  These are prohibited by WTO rules, so an attempt may be made to legitimize this through the changing of the trading rules. Developing countries, lacking latest anti-pollution technology, tend to have higher pollution in the making of their products, and thus will be at a disadvantage, until they have equal access to technology. 
 
Japan and others (in their submission) also want a big new topic on the enhanced commitments of developing countries.  However there is no need for this as the Bali Action Plan already lists the developing countries’ role regarding mitigation [para 1 (b) (ii)] .
 
Moreover, by injecting such new and controversial topics in the post-Bali agenda will complicate the discussions and make it more difficult to complete the agenda in such a short time-frame.  Therefore it was felt at the meeting that “new issues” should not be introduced and the Bali Action Plan should stick to the existing issues in the text.   


 

Source:Third World Network
Date:Apr 07,2008