As the Paris Conference approaches, both governments and the UNFCCC are increasing their efforts to deliver the text of the new agreement.
At the end of last week (Friday, July 24th) the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) published a “Scenario note” including a streamlined version of the negotiating text. Starting point is the Geneva Negotiating Text (GNT) the 85-page official document drafted at Geneva and Bonn’s sessions and gathering all the Parties’ views on the future deal.
The document aims at presenting clear options for the possible final outcome and providing a tool to facilitate negotiations that will resume in Bonn, Germany, from August 31 to September 4, 2015, the second to last session before COP 21.
To this purpose, the two Co-Chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (US) since mid-June worked to put the various paragraphs of the GNT into three main sections. Specifically, the first part, entitled “Draft agreement”, included provisions that are, by their nature, appropriate for inclusion in an agreement, such as commitments, durable and standard provisions for an agreement; in the second part, entitled “Draft decision”, were allocated provisions related to implementation details, to pre-2020 actions and interim arrangements pending entry into force of the agreement or likely to change over time; the third section includes “Provisions whose placement requires further clarity among Parties in relation to the draft agreement or draft decision” and that contains issues that are central to the agreement and need to be addressed. In addition, the issues to be included in the Paris package were grouped into 9 main elements: Mitigation, Adaptation and loss and damage, Finance, Technology development and transfer, Capacity-building, Transparency of action and support, Time frames and process related to commitments/contributions, Facilitating implementation and compliance, Procedural and institutional provisions.
The full document counts 83 pages but the draft agreement section is reduced only to 19 pages.
According to the UNFCCC release, the “Co-Chairs’ Tool” provides for the first time clarity on what could be contained within the emerging legal agreement in Paris. However, in explaining the approach, the co-chairs stressed that, in this new and concise text, all provisions have the same status and there is not prejudice to the ultimate structure of the Paris agreement and to the placement of any further provision.
Mixed reactions followed the release. If from one side some welcomed the effort to streamline the text and advance negotiations on the other side, opposite views pointed out the weak language. France’s special climate ambassador, Laurence Tubiana, said to the British newspaper The Guardian that countries were making progress on the document, even though at a slow pace. She also made clear that the French government would take action if more progress has not been made by October.
(Image: ADP opening Plenary in Geneva, February 2015. Photo credits: UNclimatechange/Flickr)