Indrajit Bose, Warsaw
It’s day 10 of climate negotiations in Warsaw. Talks under the Ad hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP), tasked to negotiate the global climate deal in 2015, seem to be heading nowhere.
On November 18, the two ADP co-chairs brought out a draft text and sought countries’ views on it. Consensus eludes. The main areas of disagreement are over an annex in the co-chairs’ text, which comprises indicative elements of the 2015 agreement. The indicative elements of the 2015 agreement include common threads, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action and support.
Some developing countries see these indicative elements as pre-judging the outcome of the 2015 deal, especially since there is no consensus on these issues. They say that much more detailed discussions need to happen before they can move ahead in the negotiating process. They either want the annex to be removed from the text, or want to call it co-chairs’ reflection note, or simply embed these into the draft text.
Countries that do not agree with this position say they want the annex to remain as part of the text because of two reasons. One, it gives a signal to the world that the ADP is making progress and two, having a list of indicative elements would make discussions more focused during the next stages of negotiations.
Another area of dispute is the longstanding issue of how differentiation between the developed and developing countries is interpreted. According to developing countries, the existing differentiation—Annex I (industrialized countries) and Non-Annex I (developing countries)—must remain. This differentiation between developed and developing countries is at the very heart of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Developed countries, Australia and the US especially, said their understanding of differentiation is different. The differentiation of 1992 does not hold value for them because “the world has changed since”. The US even said that according to their interpretation, the annexes are not “fixed” and this can be changed. This “interpretation” is a clear departure from the agreement arrived at the Durban climate talks in 2011, where countries agreed that the new deal, to be finalised in 2015 and implemented by 2020, would be under the UN Framework Convention and all its principles must apply to the new deal. Developing countries had made it clear that the new deal is not about reinterpreting the Convention or its principles. But that is exactly what seems to be happening.
Taking into account the disagreements, the co-chairs have prepared a new text, which they have distributed to the countries for reflection. Countries will meet again at 10pm and negotiations are expected to go until late into the night.
What is the objective of the annex? One is to capture progress in terms of common elements; two, to get clarity to guide work in 2015. We support these objectives in a process when things are in a draft decision. We suggest move some of the specific suggestions under the common thread to the preamble. Clarity can also be provided through a workplan or work programme that the co-chairs propose to undertake in 2014.
We need to inject some urgency and show that we are serious. The only new paragraphs are 5, 9 and the annex. This does not show progress. Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) is important, but we should not have it along the line of Annex 1 and Non Annex 1 parties.
Clearly, there is very clear disagreement on differentiation. We need clarity on a lot of issues under the annex and if the annex has to be part of the text, we need to discuss each and every element. It would be useful not to have the annex, but to use it as a co-chairs’ reflection note, which could become a very useful template for future discussions.
We support India. We need to capture progress. It is not necessary to focus on the annex.
Differentiation should not be based on the annexes. We want to be clear. We can’t take back to our country where differences based on annexes are still on. Annexes were made in 1992. The world has changed since.
We should remove the annex. It would be valuable to engage with some of the elements in the annex.
We agree with India and China that this will be under the Convention. What we are talking about is universal participation. We understand that agreement will reflect differentiation among parties. The issue is how should differentiation be reflected. This is not conditionality; it is a reality. The idea of fixed annexes is not our interpretation. They can be changed.