Reporting from UNFCCC – SB 34, June 2011 on Shared Vision and Review
Parties met in mostly closed LCA informal meetings to discuss amongst others the Shared Vision and the Review. Observers, however, get the same impression from both informal groups: Parties are discussing what to discuss, while observers try to remind them about the urgency of action.
On Shared Vision, Parties did not only discuss the essential mid-term and long-term global goal of emission reductions as well as the peak year – as suggested by the chair – but started a debate about other issues for enclosure in the Shared Vision. The list is long: equity, sustainable development, historical emissions, compliance, migrants, BAP, right of mother earth, rights of survival, response measures, warfare, indigenous peoples, human rights, etc.
Some Parties argue items like the global goal on reductions in 2050 and the year when emissions are to peak globally can only be decided on when these other issues have been resolved. Along these lines, India said that a comprehensive discussion is required which does not take issues out of their context. On the other hand, most A1 countries suggested to give priority to the two Cancun issues (peaking and global goal). Thus, India felt the need to repeat that equity and sustainable development cannot be seen as secondary issues. For India, the global goal and peaking year are based on equity as stated in the Convention. ‘Equity is fundamental!’
Hopefully, Parties will constructively use these other issues to support the negotiations on the global goal and the peak year. It is to see if such a focused debate will be held during the additional session in late September / early October. For many, a fair sharing approach can play a central role in this discussion and Parties have asked for a workshop and a technical paper on this matter. CAN suggests an equity discussion in design for a meaningful Shared Vision debate towards a global long-term goal of -80% by 2050 and global emission peak in 2015. A mid-term global goal for 2020 consistent with the long-term goal is a necessity as well.
The Review process, on the other hand, is crucial for the UNFCCC process since it is supposed to evaluate and adjust until 2015 the currently pledged emission reduction targets and Parties’ actions for keeping global temperature rise below max. 2°C — according to the latest scientific findings by IPCC in 2015 possibly even below 1.5°C.
Although the Cancun Agreements give a clear scope for the Review, Parties suggested in Bonn three options for its scope: the Review should (i) as agreed on in Cancun focus on the adequacy of the global goal (AOSIS, LDCs, EU); (ii) deal with the implementation of the Convention (India, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia) or (iii) consider the Convention as such (US, Japan). Of course, reviewing the whole Convention would imply great danger of losing some central principles. Due to these unconstructive debates, Parties failed to use the valuable time in Bonn for preparing usable text for Durban on the Review’s scope and its modalities.
As an observer one might wonder where all these discussions will lead us to. Will we reach ambitious decisions about global goal and peak year as well as a carefully designed review process in scope and modalities in Durban?