UNFCCC releases new draft of Paris Climate Agreement

On Monday 5th October, the UNFCCC released an Informal Note containing a new draft agreement of the Paris deal due to be adopted in December at COP21.

As requested by Parties during the last Bonn Talks in September, the two Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) worked on a new draft of the agreement to be available by the first week of October 2015. The draft is the result of a long effort made by Co-Chairs to streamline the original version of the text, starting from the so-called Geneva Negotiating Text (GNT).  ADP Co-chairs finally managed to reduce the original 85-page document, partly rationalized during Bonn negotiating sessions, to a 20 page text. The document aims at providing a concise basis for the next negotiating round of the ADP that will take place from 19th to 23rd October 2015 in Bonn, Germany.

Differently from the last version, the recently issued draft contains only two sections: section A, entitled “Draft Agreement”, and Section B, the “Draft Decision”. The issues to be included in the final agreement are divided into 10 main parts: Mitigation, Adaptation, Loss and damage, Finance, Technology development and transfer, Capacity-building, Transparency of action and support, Global Stocktaking, Facilitating implementation and compliance, Procedural and institutional provisions.

The draft is still full of square brackets on key options. It, indeed, does not specify the scope of the commitment, as article 3 gives the Parties three main formula to be chosen referring to Mitigation: to peak their emissions, to achieve zero net GHGs or to reduce gas emissions by a reference year.

Among procedural and institutional provisions, the section A details the tasks of the main bodies of the Convention and the essential steps for the agreement to be ratified. The ratification procedure is proposed to begin in March 2016 and be completed by March 2017. The draft text excludes any reservation clause, but grants Parties the possibility to withdraw any time after three years from the entry into force. Co-chairs highlight that further discussions are needed to decide whether to include pre-conditions to join the final agreement and to exercise the right of decision-making.

Reactions to the draft vary. Some praise the effort of streamlining the text, in a view to avoid the stalling in negotiations occurred in Copenhagen in 2009, by enabling the leaders to agree on the main issues and let the details to their representatives. By contrast, concerns have been raised over the status of the text, qualified as a non-paper since it does not present an official status.

(Image: The “United for climate action” visual availble on the COP21 official website)