Bali resurfaces at Bonn to amend Cancun flaws

G77 & China ensure that Bali Action Plan remain the negotiating reference, even if it delays final outcome 

By Aditya Ghosh

Bonn, June 13: The enforced optimism of Cancun Agreements seems to have waned completely and developing country parties are back to the reference level of Bali Action Plan (BAP). While this makes the process of negotiations longer, it would certainly help various aspects to ‘get back on the table that had fallen off the negotiation agenda at Cancun’, felt negotiators.

“The reference point under AWG-LCA has to be BAP,” say negotiators quite unanimously even at the risk of not achieving substantial progress in Durban. The hard line by G77 and China and Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) seems to have paid rich dividends it seems as countries which declared open disdain for any extension to Kyoto Protocol or any similar binding emission cuts are now, at least officially, ‘reconsidering’ their position.

G77 and China have also given out clear signals on their commitment to cut GHG emissions and put the ball in the court of Annexe I countries. AOSIS said that only parties willing to extend the protocol should be involved in the negotiations have forced some of developed countries to shift their positions who had earlier declined to any second commitment period of KP. As a result, there had been a “positive flip in attitude” by Canada and Japan, which were now showing “much more enthusiasm” to participate in talks on the Kyoto track, said Julie-Ann Richards of the Climate Action Network.

The EU also seems now prepared to consider renewing the Kyoto Protocol at December's climate summit in Durban – without the participation of the US and other developed countries, it was claimed.

Meanwhile the contact group discussions at AWG-LCA revolved largely around justification of having another mid-session meeting. While developing countries such as Australia, USA and European Union claim that there is little reason for another session between now and Durban in December if there is no real progress in the text, developing nations urged for another round of discussions.

The South African government said it had received calls for it to host one or two meetings in September and October, in an attempt to ensure a workable negotiating text is prepared ahead of the ministerial summit in Durban. Such preliminary summits have been a feature of the long-running negotiations in recent years, and those calling for further meetings insist they are necessary if the summit is to deliver meaningful progress.

“This will depend, among other things, on the extent of progress made here in Bonn, and whether the political will among parties exists for a further session," the head of the EU delegation, Artur Runge-Metzger, said here.

Jorge Arguello of Argentina, chair of the G77 and China group of developing nations, responded angrily to suggestions that negotiators had wasted time arguing over the agenda for the Bonn talks, insisting these procedural issues were critical to the success of the talks.

In a statement released following a meeting on Wednesday, Arguello said: "Some say that we are discussing the agenda and getting bogged down with procedural matter. Make no mistake: this is not a procedural negotiation. The negotiations are highly political – what is at stake here is whether or not we are going to work on the issues that need to be addressed so we can have an agreement in Durban."


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