An Intense and Conference Filled Year Ahead for Climate Talks

By Vositha Wijeynayake

This year’s UN climate change negotiations commenced in Bonn, with the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the #DurbanPlatformforEnhancedAction ADP on March 10,  2014. This marks the beginning of an intense year of conferences and summits designed to lead to a meaningful, universal agreement in Paris in late 2015. (This is what those concerned about climate change would wish for). The meeting continuing till the March 14, 2014 includes work towards the new global climate agreement, to enter into force from 2020, and work to find ways to boost immediate, effective climate action.

A central focus of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (#ADP) meeting in Bonn will be to identify ways to ramp up national and international co-operative efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions for the period before 2020, after which the new agreement is to enter into force.

Special attention will be given to translating the potential of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, and energy efficiency into concrete, action-oriented outcomes.

“While renewable energy and energy efficiency are proven technologies, there are barriers to overcome in order to power-up a transformational de-carbonisation of the world’s economy.” Ms. Figueres said.

Opening the plenary at the ADP session Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Ms Figueres, said, “2014 must be a year of greater action and ambition to check the advance of climate change and set the ground for a successful, global climate agreement in Paris.”

She invited the delegates to develop a common understanding of how the new, universal agreement will operate enabling to arrive at a strong draft by Lima.  The 20th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC which will be held in Peru, Lima will be a key step to achieving an agreement in COP21 which would be held in Paris, in 2015.

The Executive Secretary also invited countries to discuss the preparation of nationally determined contributions and to share how the countries are approaching the debate on how countries will contribute to the global effort to stay well below 2 degrees Celsius warming, which is the margin of temperature increase for healthy environment habitat.

The need for looking at pre-2020 ambition with a practical and action-oriented view, starting with energy efficiency and renewable energy was also among the things highlighted.

G77 and China

Bolivia speaking on behalf of #G77 and China assured their willingness to engage with all parties. They highlighted the element of support which was of importance to their bloc if the negotiations were to move forward.

“In accordance with the Durban mandate, the consideration of the element of support is essential to the group. To assist developing country parties. Elements of support, finance and technology are ongoing and our work must build upon these. These require adaptation action and measure”

They further stressed the need for adaptation to be of focus in the discussions, and called for a balanced, ambitious, equitable and binding agreement.

“In the work of the ADP the developed countries must provide unconditional leadership in mitigation and technology transfer. G77 and China expect the KP amendments to enter into force as soon as possible. We urge all annex one parties, to go through the legal procedures necessary to bring their amendments into effect,” Bolivia said.

European Union

Greece speaking on behalf of the European Union stated that it is essential to get to business efficiently and quickly in Bonn. In relation to work towards 2015 agreement, priority of their work is work towards up front information being supplied and the creation of a rule based 2015 agreement. The negotiator  further highlighted the need for MRV and elements being addressed.

The Umbrella Group

The Umbrella Group highlighted the need to create an ambitious durable agreement which involves contributions which Parties can view as fair, and like EU stressed the need for upfront information to ensure that they are clear, and transparent. The Group added that on a domestic level they are focussing on how to elaborate nationally determined contributions, and on the interpretation of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and preferred a nuance based approach to a binary approach. “All countries need to act to close the gap to address the 2 degrees goal,” the Group highlighted.

“2015 must provide a robust framework, must ensure that all parties formulate based on the legal form, according to CBDR,” added the Environmental Integrity Group.

“We need a rule based, yet dynamic and flexible regime with all parties, and with CBDR. 2015 agreement must be under-pinned by adequate, transparent means of implementation. Effective financial mechanisms should be duly reflected, and be with contributions by all developed countries, EIG is concerned by the lack of work within the GCF executive board,” the Group stated.

The African Union

The African Union, through their speaker Sudan highlighted the vital need for global cooperation. And also expressed the ADP Working Group Two to be the ultimate building block to reflect action on climate change.

“Effective global cooperation is not an option, but a necessity for Africa!” the Group stressed.

Least Developed Countries

Nepal, the Chair for the Least Developed Countries (#LDC) stated that the Group is concerned that the deadline for pledges is not sufficient. “Our task in Bonn include making necessary arrangements up front. Our aim needs to be to encourage early actions. 2014 needs to be the year of ambition,” Nepal added.

Among other speakers were AILAC and India for the Like Minded Group as well as representatives of Observer Organisations.

[Photo credits IISD]

About the Author:

Vositha Wijenayake is the Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator of CANSA and, Regional Facilitator for Asia for the Southern Voices Programme. She is a lawyer by profession and has an LLM from University College London. She specialises in International Environmental Law and Human Rights Law. She has been tracking the UNFCCC negotiations since 2009 with a legal and gender focus.

#ADP  #DurbanPlatformForEnhancedAction  #G77  #LDC