South Africa proposes Registry for national action

The South African proposal for a national registry of domestic actions to mitigate emissions is gaining ground at CoP. Under the Bali Action Plan it has been agreed that developing countries will take nationally appropriate mitigation actions and that these will be ‘enhanced’ through finance and technology. It is here that the industrialised countries hope to change the game by Copenhagen, by creating differentiation between developing countries or by using the nationally agreed actions as the de facto targets, which these countries will then be obligated to meet. This the toughest part of the negotiations at Poznan – developing countries are watching words and nuances carefully.

 In this heat, the South African registry proposal (September 30, 2008) is being picked up – by both sides – it would seem, but with a difference. The proposal calls for the following:

  1. The UNFCCC secretariat would be requested to open a register for mitigation actions by developing countries.
  2. Developing countries would voluntarily register nationally appropriate actions.
  3. Parties registering mitigation actions would pledge to implement these actions in the context of specified support to enable implementation. The register would reflect the actions and not a list of countries.
  4. The pledged action would be accepted by the international community for inclusion in the register giving recognition to its contribution to mitigation and sustainable development.
  5. A toolbox of mitigation actions in developing countries from which they could choose would include:
    • Sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMS);
    • Reducing emissions from deforestation
    • Programmatic CDM
    • No lose sectoral crediting baselines

South Africa has proposed that countries can take a sustainable development policies and measures approach to development.

Today, in Poznan, it has been agreed that South Korea and South Africa will jointly work on a paper on the national registry for further discussions. The question now for developing countries, who see this as a slippery slope, is to ensure that the registry includes only those actions which will be supported by technology and finance. Otherwise, they fear, this could be a backhanded approach to get them to agree to put their full plan for mitigation up for international review – another name for verification of national targets.