By Navam Niles
The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is a subsidiary body that was established by decision 1/CP.17 in December 2011. The mandate of the ADP is to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, which is to be completed no later than 2015 in order for it to be adopted at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020.
By the same decision, the COP launched a workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition to identify and to explore options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties. (UNFCCC – ADP)
The session featured the statements made by countries on behalf of their groups or negotiating blocks, followed by statements from non-governmental observer parties. In their statements, parties outlined their goals, concerns and requirements of their negotiating partners and that of the co-chairs of the sessions. Many of the statements overlapped with each other in substance and it seemed that while parties did not necessarily share the same views on the precise mechanisms or commitments, it was clear that all of them shared the same goal of preventing a catastrophic increase in climate change as outlined by the IPCC AR5.
Australia – Umbrella Group
(Representing the Umbrella Group – Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the US)
On behalf of the Umbrella Group, Australia reiterated the commitment to finalise the 2015 agreement in accordance with the goal of keeping temperatures below 2C. It also called on all parties to undertake commitments to meet the goals of the agreement. The group set about the basic parameters that it thought were critical to advance near-term actions, including necessary accounting rules, end-dates, and a process for nationally determined contributions.
Switzerland – Environmental Integrity Group (EIG)
(Representing the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG) – Mexico, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland)
Switzerland, on behalf of the EIG, argued that the world possessed the means to combat climate change and to do so would now need to operationalise political will within governments around the world. The group called for the collective drafting of the ADP WS1, and a legally binding instrument for all parties defined actions/contributions in accordance to existing rules of the UNFCCC convention including CBDR. Moreover, such a legally binding rule instrument must also address adaptation, which affects everyone. The EGI also called on parties to deal with pre-2020 issues. In doing so, the group also reiterated the need to work together in order to keep global temperatures below 2C.
Sudan – African Group
On behalf of the African group, Sudan called for more clarity on key issues, especially the 2015 elements. It also noted key reservations on the amount of time available to meet the March 2015 agreement, clarity pertaining to the wording “intended nationally determined contributions,” scope of decisions (refer decision 1/CP.19) and the requirements for financial support for regional mitigation efforts. Therefore, it called on the co-chairs to provide further guidance on these issues.
The African Group also urged all parties to increase the scope of existing projects and expand national RTDI (Research, Technology, Development and Innovation) schemes. Finally, it also called for the assessment of extended and extensive agreements related to the Bali agreement.
Nauru – Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
Nauru, on behalf of AOSIS called on developing countries to take the lead on mitigation and expand on their existing commitments. It also called on developed countries to enhance technology transfer and financial assistance.
The group also noted that Finance was a key element of the 2015 agreement and that developed countries should take the lead in scaling up climate finance. AOSIS also noted that loss and damage was a reality for its members.
Nepal – Least Developed Countries (LDC)
Nepal, on behalf of the LDC group, called for a compliance mechanism to ensure that parties honoured their commitments. It also called for a review of this mechanism in regular intervals to check for consistency in performance. It also called for adequate technical, financial and capacity support.
Egypt – Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC)
On behalf, of the LMDC group, Egypt noted that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) should form the bedrock of the 2015 agreement. Moreover, it called for parties to draft the agreement in an open and consensual manner.
It noted that developing countries are already working towards realising their mitigation ambitions and cited efforts of China, Nicaragua, India, Bolivia and Ecuador.
It also noted that it was disappointed that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was not yet operational. It also recorded its disappointment that no developed country put any commitments to increase pre-2020 mitigation targets beyond their commitments agreed at Cancun – citing cases of backtracking.
The group called for clear technical and financial support from developed countries to developing countries. Accordingly, it called for a USD 70 billion infusion by 2016. It also urged developed countries to address such issues as technology transfer and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Venezuela argued that there were increasing signs of actions taken against the key provisions of the convention. This is undermining the commitments made by developed and developing countries regarding financial, technical and capacity building measures. It also noted that developed countries are most responsible but developing countries are the ones more affected. It also noted that states must take a lead and not emphasise on new market conditions.
Saudi Arabia argued that the world could not just focus on a mitigation at the expense of adaptation. It called for joint responsibility towards climate change issues and urged a fair distribution of resources. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia called on developed countries to enhance support technological support.
It argued that any measures should feature MRV (measurable, reportable and verifiable) elements as outlined in the Bali Action Plan. It also urged that parties should take a legally binding approach, especially developed countries, in order to address the gulf in the emissions.
India argued that any agreement must reflect the principles of the UNFCCC convention, including CMDR. Accordingly, developed countries should increase their support in accordance with the convention and provide the necessary technical, financial and capacity building support in addition to their existing commitments on mitigation. Moreover, developed countries should honour their commitments with developing countries. India also reiterated that parties should not downgrade WS2 to a few sectors.
Papua New Guinea – Coalition of Rainforest Nations
It argued that the 2015 agreement should include key elements such as adaptation and mitigation. Moreover, this should adhere to the goal of keeping temperatures below 2C. It also called on parties to respect the principles of the convention.
The coalition also argued that REDD+ and coastal marine ecosystems related agreements should attention, as there is a clear need to enhance mitigation in these areas.
The Dominican Republic proposed creating a single contact group, arguing that this is the most efficient way to achieve the goals of the negotiations. It also argued that all states should increase their 2015 mitigation ambitions and close the ambition gap. Furthermore, it called for enhanced cooperation on funding, technology transfer and capacity building. The Dominican Republic it also called for a binding agreement in terms of CBDR. Specifically, it drew attention to increased support for WS2. It also proposed a separate session to give special priority to Loss and Damage (L&D) discussions.
Colombia – Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development (ILAC)
Colombia noted two key challenges. First, Engaging in a contact group requires parties to have a great deal of trust and ownership over the delivery elements. Second, there is still a need to identify the elements that would allow the negotiations to gather momentum moving from technical phase to political phase to implement 2015 mitigation actions. It also argued that the WS2 must contribute towards the implementation for more ambitious activities in the future. It made special note of the pivotal role the GCF plays in mitigation efforts. Moreover, it highlighted the need to link efforts with political decision making.
Turkey noted the need to take considerations of changing circumstances when negotiating the agreement. It also noted the importance of including MRV elements in the 2015 agreement. Furthermore, such an agreement must align with IPCC findings and principles of the convention including the CBDR. Turkey also noted the need to guide parties to provide upfront information and argued that each party must provide information on past, current and future emissions, mitigation costs, etc. It also argued that parties should not overlook historical responsibilities when drafting the agreement. Turkey also noted that developing countries need access to technology and finance assistance.
[Photo credits: IISD]
Navam Niles works as a Research Associate at SLYCAN, focusing on energy security and the politics concerning global environmental problems. His core research interests also include Public International Law, International Development, Foreign Policy Analysis, and International Security. In addition, he is a lecturer at the Royal Institute of Colombo, teaching subjects pertaining to Politics, International Relations and Development Studies.