The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) resumed its work at the ninth part of its second session in Bonn on 1 June. The June session offers Parties to the UNFCCC the first opportunity to begin negotiating on the basis of their positions contained in the negotiations text. Parties had finalized the negotiations text earlier in February 2015 in Geneva, and referred to as the 'Geneva text'.
At the opening plenary, Co-Chair of the ADP, Daniel Reifsnyder (USA) said that the task of the June session (which meets from 1st - 11 June) is to consolidate and streamline the negotiating text. "It will not remove any views from the table," said Reifsnyder and added that the idea is for the views to be coherently presented.
Charting out the work for the first week in Bonn, he said that the contact group would meet in two negotiating groups and to complement support to the negotiating groups, facilitators had been appointed who have been tasked with time bound consultations twice every day. The mandate of each facilitated group would be established in each negotiating group and the facilitators would report back on progress. When Parties in the negotiating groups consider the text it is better reflected, it would be included in a "working document", said Reifsnyder. "This does not mean it will be reflected in the Paris agreement. It merely means it is an enhanced presentation of the ideas. No issues in the Geneva text will be left behind until 11 December (the last day of COP21)," clarified Reifsnyder.
The opening plenary was brief, with statements by the Group of 77 and China and other groupings. Developing country groups such as the African Group, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), South Africa, Brazil, China, India (BASIC) supported the statement by the G77 and China and refrained from reading out their statements in the interest of time. Their statements were instead posted on the UNFCCC website.
While the Umbrella Group of countries made a brief intervention, the other groups such as the European Union and the Environmental Integrity Group took the floor to say that their statements were posted online.
South Africa, on behalf of G77 and China said that the 2015 agreement must be comprehensive in dealing with all the agreed elements, inter alia mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action and support. To achieve this, Parties need the commitment for a rules based agreement that is under the Convention and based on its principles and provisions. There should be no backsliding, including by using processes outside of the Convention, it stressed. Any attempt to redefine, rewrite, renegotiate or watering down of the Convention will not be acceptable, it warned. It added that progress on Loss and Damage should be secured, response measures and specific institutions should be addressed in the agreement. “If these issues are not accommodated there can be no agreement in Paris,” it stressed.
The LDCs underscored referred to the report of the 2013-2015 review and said that warming needs to be kept to below 1.5°C degrees as the report clearly says that a 2°C world is an unsafe world.
The BASIC group underlined that the so‐called “self differentiation” approach is not consistent with the principles and provisions of the Convention, as well as the Durban or Lima mandates. “While Parties may nationally determine their own contributions in the context of the current intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) process, they can not unilaterally determine or rewrite their commitments or obligations under the legal framework of the Convention,” read the statement posted on the UNFCCC website.
The LMDC articulated that concepts or approaches such as evolving common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) or “Parties in a position to do so” are not consistent with the principles of the Convention and are not acceptable. “Concepts such as these and issues that did not obtain consensus among the Parties through the COP in Lima such as an ex ante review (whether or not in the guise of an INDC workshop) may not be made part of the work of the ADP in the run-up to Paris as they only make it more difficult to achieve trust and build confidence in this process. (The LMDC was referring to an un-mandated side-event which has been planned on INDCs, organised by the UNFCCC secretariat to be held on 2nd and 9th June.)
The Africa Group proposed concrete suggestions on streamling the negotiations text. It said that the overlaps and duplications ‘within’ paragraphs could serve as a good starting point. It also requested space to be allocated to understand the structure and the form of the agreement. The group has also expressed its concern on the working document proposed by the co-chairs where the reflections of the consolidated text would figure. It also highlighted the key asks of the African ministers of the Paris agreement.
A clear divergence area is workstream 2 dealing with the pre-2020 ambition. While the developed countries are focused on technical expert meetings (TEMs) under workstream 2, the developing countries are clear that the scope of the work goes beyond the TEMs. “We are looking forward the adoption and the launching of initiatives that will effectively result in enhancing mitigation by 2020 with the view to close the mitigation gap,” said the LDCs in their statement posted online.
Highlights of interventions/statements at the opening plenary
Speaking for the G77 and China, South Africa underscored the importance of addressing crosscutting issues such as the structure, the legal form and differentiation, which would catalyse progress. It also requested for adequate time to discuss pre-2020 actions and reiterated the importance of openness and for the process to be Party driven and transparent.
It said that there are multiple challenges involved in climate change and gave the example of developing countries having to mitigate without adequate finance and technology support from the developed countries. Under such circumstances, indicating developing countries’ commitment is hard work. “We are embarking on INDCs despite the fact that developed countries are not putting forward commitments on finance or technology in their INDCs,” said South Africa, adding that the developed countries have not honoured their obligations under the Convention.
South Africa also said that the fact that the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) has been accepted by 29 developing countries and by only 3 developed countries is indicative of that. It called on developed countries in ensuring that they honour and implement their existing commitments under the Convention and the KP. Developed countries need to honour the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) and equity, which have been reaffirmed in Lima, it said.
On the work of the ADP, South Africa said that workstream 2 is an integral part of the ADP and that it would be critical for an agreement in Paris. It stressed that developed countries should fulfil their commitment to provide and mobilise US$100 billion and provide a clear pathway to achieve this.
It added that the 2015 agreement must be comprehensive in dealing with all the agreed elements, inter alia mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action and support. To achieve this, Parties need the commitment for a rules based agreement that is under the Convention and based on its principles and provisions. There should be no backsliding, including by using processes outside of the Convention, it stressed. Any attempt to redefine, rewrite, renegotiate or watering down of the Convention will not be acceptable, it warned. It added that progress on Loss and Damage should be secured, response measures and specific institutions should be addressed in the agreement. “If these issues are not accommodated there can be no agreement in Paris,” said South Africa while adding that a divided G77 is to no one’s interest.
The statement posted online by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) underscored the importance of process. “There is a need for careful balance between the progress needed to achieve an agreement in Paris and the treatment of the process that will be driving this ahead. Here, your role as the co-chairs and the role of the current and incoming COP Presidents are really fundamental,” the statement reads.
Reflecting on the final report of the 2013-2015 Review, the LDCs said that the report had arrived at the conclusion that “the ‘guardrail’ concept, in which up to 2°C of warming is considered safe, is not adequate”. The report clearly states that less warming would be preferable. Warming needs to be kept to below 1.5°C degrees, it said. “The Structured Expert Dialogue thus directly lends stringent, scientific support to our position on a 1.5°C as a scientifically defensible global goal. It is critical that these strong conclusions and insights be translated into decisions and fostered actions: all Parties to urgently raise ambition, to commit toward an ambitious outcome in Paris under the ADP, outcome that address adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology, capacity building, loss and damage and transparency at the scale required by the challenge at hand,” the statement reads.
On Workstream 2, it said that their expectations go beyond a renewed work programme on enhancing mitigation ambition in the pre-2020 period and the continuation of the technical examination meetings and processes. “We are looking forward to the adoption and the launching of initiatives that will effectively result in enhancing mitigation by 2020 with the view to close the mitigation gap.”
The BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) group of countries said that achieving consensus requires the strengthening of the multilateral rules‐based regime under the Convention, in full accordance with its principles and provisions. The Paris agreement should enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, not create a new regime or restructure, reinterpret or rewrite the Convention, it said. Stressing that Parties must advance on all the six elements mandated in Durban, in a balanced manner and coherent structure, the group said that coherence is also fundamental to address cross‐cutting issues in all sections of the negotiating text, in particular differentiation between developed and developing countries and the application of the principles of equity and CBDRRC. The group underscored the need for the provisions of the agreement to fully reflect different responsibilities and development stages of developed and developing countries.
In the statement issued, the group underlined that the so‐called “self differentiation” approach was not consistent with the principles and provisions of the Convention, nor with the Durban mandate or the Lima Call for Climate Action. “While Parties may nationally determine their own contributions in the context of the current Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) process, they can not unilaterally determine or rewrite their commitments or obligations under the legal framework of the Convention. BASIC countries also do not support efforts by some Parties to take key issues, such as climate finance, outside the scope of the Convention in an effort to bypass its unique legal character,” the statement reads.
The 2015 agreement is a vehicle to enhance the implementation of commitments in accordance with Article 4 of the Convention. This requires honoring and implementing existing commitments and responsibilities by developed countries. Enhanced action will not be achieved by shifting these burdens to developing countries, who have already taken on the largest and disproportionate share of the burden on a voluntary basis and often without support, even though they are not the ones with primary responsibility for causing climate change. It is also important to take into account that adaptation needs are driven by the extent of adverse effects of climate change experienced and the challenges faced by developing countries both and in the future and hence adaptation is an issue which requires a global response, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention. The group also said that in their INDCs, they would reflect the results of their current ambitious national initiatives. The group also called for more time to be dedicated to discuss other aspects of workstream 2 issues and ways to ensure that enhanced actions are agreed to in a draft decision text on pre 2020 ambition.
The LMDC in its statement said that the Paris outcome must address all the six core elements from the Durban mandate in a balanced manner and will result in enhanced action in implementing the UNFCCC both before and after 2020. “We have continually stressed that this outcome must be achieved through an open, transparent, inclusive, Party-driven and consensus-building process, marked by direct negotiations among the Parties on the basis of texts that they have produced themselves. These are the benchmarks by which we will assess both the success and the legitimacy of the outcome in Paris,” the LMDC said in their statement.
It reiterated that what Parties will achieve in Paris must be under the Convention, guided by the principles, provisions and structure of the Convention. The result must be to enhance the implementation of the Convention in order to achieve the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2, and not to renegotiate, rewrite, restructure or replace the Convention or reinterpret its provisions. The concepts or approaches such as “evolving CBDR” or “Parties in a position to do so” are not consistent with the principles of the Convention and are not acceptable. Concepts such as these and issues that did not obtain consensus among the Parties through the COP in Lima such as an ex ante review (whether or not in the guise of an INDC workshop) may not be made part of the work of the ADP in the run-up to Paris as they only make it more difficult to achieve trust and build confidence in this process.
The LMDC stressed Parties’ INDCs towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2 must be consistent with the Parties’ respective obligations and commitments under Article 4 of the Convention. “In this context, we expect developed country Parties to communicate well in advance of Paris their INDCs not only on post-2020 emission reduction targets but also on post-2020 targets, policies and measures for the provision of finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building support to developing countries,” it said. On workstream 2, it said that Pre-2020 ambition should be primarily achieved through the implementation of the outcomes of the Bali Roadmap.
In their statement posted online the African Group reaffirmed its call for a multilateral rules-based system that enhances the implementation of the Convention, recognises the enormous contribution by developing countries going to 2020, and as such, calling on developed countries to scale up their support action in developing countries. The group outlined the vision of the African ministers for the Paris agreement to be under the Convention, and in accordance with its principles and provisions, in particular the principles of CBDRRC and equity; provide parity between mitigation and adaptation; operationalise the global responsibility for adaptation, through a global goal for adaptation that enhances the implementation of adaptation commitments under the Convention; and the agreement should reaffirm the international obligation for all developed country Parties and other Parties included in Annex II to provide climate finance to developing countries as a means to enhancing action towards achieving the objectives of the Convention.
It also called for more space to comprehensively work towards a pre-2020 decision, “which we see as a necessary step to build the trust and assurance on the implementation of existing agreements going to 2020”. The group also pointed to the lack of access to reliable and affordable clean energy and reflected on its call for an ambitious global partnership and support programme for the acceleration of renewable energy access and deployment in all countries. For this, “the missing piece is enhanced public finance to catalyze new projects, guarantee safe investment conditions for both the private and public sectors over several decades provide concessional credits for upfront investment, and support fixed costs associated with capacity-building, training and smart grid upgrades,” it said.
Speaking for the Umbrella Group of countries, Australia said it sees the main objective under workstream 1 as delivering a concise, durable and operational legal agreement. As part of the streamlining and consolidation of the text exercise, it said Parties should identify content that is more appropriate for a decision text, as distinct from provisions that are suitable for a durable legal agreement and consider what work could be done after Paris and when this should be done. The exercise should focus on areas of the text where there is opportunity to buld better conceptual understanding, as the basis for building convergence. These could include the nature of adaptation commitments, process for finalisation and update of mitigation contributions, aggregate review, transparency and the global goal. The exercise should also continue to keep in mind matters relating to the structure of the agreement. On workstream 2, it said that it was looking forwad to work on a decision in Paris and ehnacing the technical expert meetings beyond 2015.
In its statement posted online, the European Union (EU) stressed that the objective is to work towards adopting a legally binding agreement that is capable of keeping the world collectively on track to achieve the below 2°C objective. It outlined several areas for progress: how the agreement would deliver transparency and accountability of Parties against their mitigation commitments; how dynamism would be ensured in the 2015 agreement; in relation to mitigation, it called for securing a process to regularly revisit and, if necessary, raise ambition over time to achieve an agreed long-term goal. It called for achieving climate resilient sustainable development through effective adaptation. On finance, Parties must address how the post 2020 regime would provide climate finance to those countries in need. It also called for progress on workstream 2, including work on a decision to be adopted in Paris. It said that it is also looking forward to the INDCs of Parties, in particular of all the major economies.
Following the conclusion of the opening plenary, Parties met in negotiating groups to consider sections of the Geneva text. (See separate article in this regard).