SPECIAL COP20 – Final deadlock on the ADP text: negotiations to continue

Saturday morning in Lima. After two weeks of busy negotiations, the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties resumed its work after that a new draft of the decision text on Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform was introduced by the Co-Chairs on Friday night. The text aims at advancing the elements at the base of the future agreement expected to be settled in Paris next year. Although the President of the COP, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, opened the ADP Plenary with very encouraging words, asking delegates to make Lima a “stepping stone, a tipping point, a crucial moment” in the UNFCCC process towards Paris, the debate quickly turned to be very controversial.

Overall, the main elements of the document include: i) an initial concerned statement about the wide emission gap between the Parties’ mitigation pledges in 2020 and the aggregate emission pathways consistent with a global temperature increase below 2 or 1.5 °C; ii) a list of elements to be contained within the future outcome, that are, inter alia, “mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and transparency of action and support in a balanced manner”; iii) the urgent request to developed countries to “provide and mobilize support” to developing ones to undertake ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions; iv) an invite to all Parties to communicate their domestic targets – now called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) – well in advance of the 21st session of the Conference in Paris. In the case of least developed countries and small island developing States, INDCs may reflect national circumstances while all parties are invited to consider the inclusion of adaptation actions; v) guidance on what INDCs have to include in order to allow comparability and verification of efforts (i.e. scope, coverage, base year and other time reference points, methodological approaches etc.).

The text is slightly different from the previous versions as the co-chairs integrated the various positions emerged strongly during the last few hours. However, although the efforts, countries have not been able to agree on the proposed document.

On the one side European Union, United States, Russia and Japan stated that even though the text is not perfect and does not include all the crucial elements they asked for, they were ready to support it as a result of a very difficult and thorny process. Other countries, such as the Marshall Islands and other Latin America’s countries expressed their frustration for the text as it is now but asked their colleagues not to come back home with empty hands and, since the time in Lima is already out, to be ready to work again on the key elements during the next meeting in Geneva in Febraury 2015.

On the opposite side main developing nations expressed their concerns about the document, declaring it unacceptable without further amendments on some key “red lines”, such as:

  • the fact that “loss and damage” disappeared from the elements to be included in the future text, as highlighted by Tuvalu, Sudan, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon island but also Paraguay and Nicaragua. According to them this will turn to be a disaster for small island developing states and poor populations.
  • the lack of reference to the Convention’s principles in the language text that, according to India, South Africa, Brazil and China as well as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela and many others developing countries, does not include differentiation of commitments (some of them clearly referred to the Common but Differentiated Responsibility’s principle).
  • an overall acknowledgment of the mitigation-centric nature of the language text and the lack of arrangements on finance issues in the INDPs text.

After three hours of statements the COP’s President was required to work on a new, more balanced text, which represents the views of all Parties. As a consequence, he decided to undertake a final, brief round of consultations with all the groups with the objective to identify solutions that would facilitate consensus.

The COP in Lima is not yet closed and delegates are likely will continue to work until late on Saturday.

(Image: ADP Plenary, Dec. 13. Photo credit: #COP20 Lima on Twitter)