Friday, November 20, 2015
What’s common between bureaucrats salaries, business persons tea and farmer suicides in India?
RANJAN PANDA on 11/20/2015 at 11:54 am
IN THE EARLY 1990S, WHEN THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY OF REFORMS WAS INTRODUCED IN INDIA, THE TRICKLE DOWN THEORY WAS MORE AGGRESSIVELY PROPAGATED. WHO HAVE ACTUALLY GAINED RICHES AND WHO HAVE BEEN MARGINALIZED?
This morning I woke up to few very interesting news.
News 1: Seventh Pay Commission for 23.55 per cent hike in pay of Central Government employees.
News 2: Tomato price skyrocket to Rs 60 (0.90 USD), other veggies on the rise.
News 3: Nita Ambani, wife of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, starts her day with a cup of tea that is worth Rs 3 lakh (4,500 USD).
News 4: Odisha’s Chief Minister announces a package of Rs 35000 crore (7.35 million USD) in response to growing farmer suicides and distress.
News 5: 55 year old debt ridden sharecropper killed self in Ganjam district of Odisha, India.
All these seem to be different news but in reality they are not. Spare a few minutes and you would realize they are all inter-connected. Let’s discuss one by one and then see the interconnection.
A retired IAS (Indian Administrative Officer) (the highest government post of the country) just posted on his facebook wall the following:
On joining the IAS in 1966, the salary per month we got was perhaps Rs 520 (8 USD) that included DA (Dearness Allowance). Seventh Pay Commission recommendation would make our monthly pension Rs 112500 (1700 USD) with effect from 1st January 2016.
In 2007, while conducting a farmers’ perception study, an old farmer from Rengali block in Sambalpur district in Odhisa (from where many farmers have committed suicide since 2009) said to me, “When we got independence, salary of a school teacher as well as that of a post master was Rs 6 (0.10 USD). That time, in early 1950s, a farmer was able to buy 10 gram of gold by selling two bags of paddy (75 kilograms per bag). Now, in 2007, the salary of the school teacher is somewhere around Rs 22000 (330 USD) and no farmer can buy 10 gram of gold even by selling 22 bags of paddy.”
Tomato prices have skyrocketed but the real farmers don’t get benefit of this. It is the stockists, mostly rich businessmen or aided by them, who benefit out of such price rises. Let’s take the price of dal (lenthils) as an example. Dal prices has sucked the common Indians too much already and is believed to be one of the many reasons that saw defeat of the ruling party in the centre BJP in recently concluded Bihar state elections.
A journalist friend just posted in his facebook wall the following, and says these facts can be verified:
M/s Adani had formed a Joint venture with Wilmar company of singapore last year for marketing of food products in india. Adani Wilmar Ltd, is the producer of fortune brand food products in India. The JV company aimed to collect agri produces on large scale from farmers in major pulses producing states. They could not do it as there was a cap on mass collection and storage of food items. Last April, Adani could manage to get that cap on three pulses Arhar, Moong and Urad removed thru a government order. And since then the company started collecting 300 tons of pulses every day @Rs30/kg (0.5 USD). They accumulated more than 100 lakh tons of pulses in their large scale warehouses. Perhaps the entire seasons produce from three states were collected by the company. The result. In the market only Adani Wilmar was having stock. The wholesale and retail prices was decided by them. They sold the pulses @Rs220/Kg (3.5 USD). Which was collected @Rs 30 (0.5 USD).
Through the well planned hoarding, the company made windfall profits up to the tune of lakhs of crores. When the nations attention was on other issues, they were silently looting every Indian.
Adani is considered to be the closest business tycoon to the current Prime Minister of India. In fact, the PM was seen campaigning during 2014 general elections on a chartered flight given by Adani; then this businessman was seen with the PM during most of his foreign visits after being sworn in; and the PM has taken special drive to provide 1 billion loan from State Bank of India to Adani for an Australian coalmine.
The cost of a tea is a private affair and we are not supposed to discuss. However, when it’s Nita Ambani, the issue needs to be discussed. Ambani, the richest businessman of India, has build his business empires at the cost of Indian farmers. This is same with other business houses as well. Successive governments, both state and central, have displaced millions of Indians for these business houses to prosper. Land, forests and water have been given almost at peanuts to these tycoons. The result, even as the common Indian’s family economy has been gradually slumping, their income has been growing by hundreds of times. It is now established that top one per cent of the globe own more than 50 per cent of it’s properties. The case is similar in India. The Ambanis and Adanis are among the super rich one per cent in the country who own majority of the country’s resources. They have obviously grown at the cost of the farmers and common Indians.
Yesterday, Odisha’s Chief Minister and his party organized a meeting of farmers in Sohela of Bargarh district, considered the rice bowl of the state. This is in response to the growing distress of farmers and ever increasing suicides. He has announced a Rs 35000 crore (7.35 million USD) package to assure irrigation, waiver of loan, etc. etc. This is a routine affair now. However, the farmers’ distress is increasing by the day. Effective irrigation coverage is not increasing ever since industries have been given with water from irrigation’s share from Hirakud dam that made Bargarh the rice bowl once. The super rich like Birla, TATA, and others own these industries here and have been given a free loot of the water and other resources. In 2007, when 30,000 farmers formed a human chain covering Hirakud dam in protest against diversion of irrigation water to industries, Odisha’s Chief Minister made similar commitments. But farmers’ distress and suicides have not gone down. Rather, there has been an increase.
There is one thing common in all the above facts and arguments.
India was an agrarian country when it got independence from the British rule, it is still an agrarian country.
Majority of the people depend on farm, farm lands, forests and water for their livelihood and sustenance. However, while all other sections of the society developed by leaps and bounds, the farmers economy shrunk by thousand of times.
Take for example the IAS officers. They were appointed to serve the Indians, majority of whom were farmers. But their salary increased by about 50,000 times. And we all know what has happened to our politicians/rulers. Some of them have increased their income by thousands of times just within five years in power. But the farmers’ economy has tanked by thousand of times. Majority of them are small and marginal farmers who still depend on the natural resources and supply food to majority of the population. However, they are still fighting for loan waiver and other sops in order to not commit suicide and stay alive, leave aside living in dignity and as an empowered citizen of the nation.
From the early 1990s, when the new economic policy of reforms was introduced, the trickle down theory was more aggressively propagated and it was said that Indians would soon be rich. However, all the examples are pointers to who have actually gained riches and who have been marginalized.
Tickle down theory/Credit: Left Wing UK
Well, a small portion of middle class has emerged in this process and have some cash income. However, the concentration of wealth has gone into the super elite less than one per cent. Most of these middle class survive on salaries given by these super rich. The government employees have enjoyed the benefit as well, but the majority of farmers who have diversified into other sectors are still languishing in the unorganized labour market without any income guarantee whatsoever.
In 2007, the same old man of Rengali block who had said given to me an indicator of farmers’ distress by the decreased purchase power of paddy had also suggested a measure to improve the condition of farmers. He had said, “if you want to improve the condition of farmers eliminate the agriculture department.”
The IAS officers, government employees and others who have been serving to improve condition of agriculture and farmers have actually become rich themselves but not the farmers.
Similarly, all others have got rich at the cost of the farmers.
No one would be minding Rs 3 lakh worth tea of Nita Ambani (4500 USD) or Rs 15 lakh (USD 20,000) suit of the PM had the fruits of development percolated down to each farmer of the nation. I have seen how landlords have ended up as labour in factories of Ambanis, Adanis, Birlas, TATAs. While they don’t have basic minimum wages and amenities, Ambanis have built world’s costliest home just for four people to live. And we call it development!!!
Time for supporting a real Indian Farmers and Forest Dwellers economy where the disparity goes down drastically. It may take time but not impossible.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Friday, November 13, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
19-23 October 2015 | Bonn, Germany
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn Climate Change Conference took place in Bonn, Germany, from 19-23 October 2015. The meeting brought together over 2,400 participants, representing governments, observer organizations and the media, for the eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-11).
The Conference, the last in a series of meetings under the UNFCCC in preparation for the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), scheduled to take place in December 2015, in Paris, France, aimed to advance negotiations to meet the mandate to adopt “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties,” which is to come into force in 2020.
In their scenario note (ADP.2015.7.InformalNote), ADP Co-Chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (US) identified the objective of the session as intensifying the pace of text-based negotiations among parties, with a view to preparing the draft Paris climate package for presentation at the opening of COP 21. They proposed the ADP begin text-based negotiations on the basis of the text they prepared, including the non-papers (ADP.2015.8.InformalNote and ADP.2015.9.InformalNote) with draft agreement and decision text under workstream 1 (2015 agreement), and draft decision text under workstream 2 (pre-2020 ambition).
ADP 2-11 convened throughout the week in spin-off groups to advance negotiations on specific sections in the agreement and decision text, and in an open-ended contact group to take stock of progress and discuss issues not addressed in spin-off groups.
As the meeting closed, parties agreed to forward the revised non-paper, dated 23 October at 23:30, that captured the work undertaken by parties at ADP 2-11, to serve as the basis for further negotiations under the ADP. Parties also requested that the Secretariat prepare a technical paper, which would identify closely related paragraphs and duplications within sections, and possible areas for streamlining, without any changes to the content of the text.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the 1992 adoption of the UNFCCC, which sets out a legal framework for stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, has 196 parties. In December 1997, delegates to COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a protocol to the UNFCCC that committed industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emissions reduction targets. These countries, known as Annex I parties under the UNFCCC, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six GHGs by an average of 5% below 1990 levels in 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 192 parties.
LONG-TERM NEGOTIATIONS, 2005-2009: Convening in Montreal, Canada, in 2005, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) decided to establish the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I Parties’ Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in accordance with Protocol Article 3.9, which mandated consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period.
In December 2007, COP 13 and CMP 3 in Bali, Indonesia, resulted in agreement on the Bali Roadmap on long-term issues. COP 13 adopted the Bali Action Plan (BAP) and established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), with a mandate to focus on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. Negotiations on Annex I parties’ further commitments continued under the AWG-KP. The deadline for concluding the two-track negotiations was in 2009 in Copenhagen.
COPENHAGEN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, took place in December 2009. The high-profile event was marked by disputes over transparency and process. Late in the evening of 18 December, these talks resulted in a political agreement, the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was then presented to the COP plenary for adoption. After 13 hours of debate, delegates ultimately agreed to “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord, and to extend the mandates of the negotiating groups until COP 16 and CMP 6 in 2010. In 2010, over 140 countries indicated support for the Accord. More than 80 countries also provided information on their national mitigation targets or actions.
CANCUN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, took place in December 2010, where parties finalized the Cancun Agreements and extended the mandates of the two AWGs for another year. Under the Convention track, Decision 1/CP.16 recognized the need for deep cuts in global emissions in order to limit the global average temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Parties agreed to consider the adequacy of the global long-term goal during a 2013-2015 review, which would also consider strengthening the goal, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5°C. Decision 1/CP.16 also addressed other aspects of mitigation, such as: measuring, reporting and verification (MRV); and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+).
The Cancun Agreements also established several new institutions and processes, including the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Mechanism, which includes the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was created and designated as an operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism. Under the Protocol track, the CMP urged Annex I parties to raise the level of ambition of their emission reductions, and adopted Decision 2/CMP.6 on land use, land-use change and forestry.
DURBAN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, took place in November and December 2011. The Durban outcomes covered a wide range of topics, notably the agreement to establish a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol beginning 2013, a decision on long-term cooperative action under the Convention and agreement on the operationalization of the GCF.
Parties also agreed to launch the ADP with a mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.” The ADP is scheduled to complete these negotiations no later than 2015, with the new instrument entering into force in 2020. In addition, the ADP was mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the 2°C target.
DOHA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, took place in November and December 2012. The conference resulted in a package of decisions, referred to as the “Doha Climate Gateway.” These included amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to establish its second commitment period (2013-2020) and agreement to terminate the AWG-KP’s work. Parties also agreed to terminate the AWG-LCA and negotiations under the BAP. A number of issues requiring further consideration were forwarded to the Subsidiary Bodies, such as: the 2013-2015 review of the global goal; developed and developing country mitigation; the Kyoto Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms; national adaptation plans; MRV; market and non-market mechanisms; and REDD+.
WARSAW: The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, took place in November 2013. Negotiations focused on the implementation of agreements reached at previous meetings, including pursuing the work of the ADP. The meeting adopted an ADP decision that, inter alia, invites parties to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Parties also adopted a decision establishing the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM), and the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, comprising seven decisions on REDD+ finance, institutional arrangements and methodological issues.
LIMA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, took place in December 2014. Negotiations in Lima focused on outcomes under the ADP necessary to advance toward an agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015, including elaboration of the information and process for submission of INDCs as early as possible in 2015, and progress on elements of a draft negotiating text.
Following lengthy negotiations, COP 20 adopted the “Lima Call for Climate Action,” which sets in motion the negotiations towards a 2015 agreement, including the process for submitting and reviewing INDCs. The decision also addresses enhancing pre-2020 ambition. Parties also adopted 19 decisions, 17 under the COP and two under the CMP that, inter alia: help operationalize the WIM; establish the Lima work programme on gender; and adopt the Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising.
The Lima Conference was able to lay the groundwork for Paris by capturing progress made in elaborating the elements of a draft negotiating text for the 2015 agreement and adopting a decision on INDCs, including their scope, upfront information, and steps to be taken by the Secretariat after their submission.
ADP 2-8: ADP 2-8 took place in February 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. The objective of the session, as mandated by COP 20, was to develop the negotiating text based on the elements for a draft negotiating text annexed to Decision 1/CP.20 (Lima Call for Climate Action). The Geneva negotiating text (GNT) adopted at ADP 2-8 serves as the basis for the negotiations of the 2015 agreement.
ADP 2-9: ADP 2-9 convened in June 2015 in Bonn and undertook streamlining and consolidation, clustering and conceptual discussions of the GNT, including on: preamble; general/objective; mitigation; adaptation and loss and damage; finance; technology development and transfer; capacity building; transparency; timeframes; implementation and compliance; and procedural and institutional provisions. The ADP also discussed workstream 2, in particular its mandate, and proposed elements that could comprise a decision on workstream 2. The Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) on energy efficiency in urban environments and renewable energy supply also convened.
ADP 2-10: ADP 2-10 convened in August-September 2015 in Bonn, Germany. To guide the work, the ADP Co-Chairs produced, at the request of parties, a “Tool” based on the streamlined and consolidated text resulting from ADP 2-9. Delegates engaged on various parts of the Tool in facilitated groups and “spin-offs,” or informal meetings of the facilitated groups. The groups considered placement of paragraphs in the Tool, engaged in conceptual discussions on key issues, and, in some cases, started developing textual proposals. The ADP Co-Chairs were mandated to produce a revised non-paper to serve as the basis for further negotiations.
ADP 2-11 REPORT
On Monday, 19 October, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder opened ADP 2-11. COP 20/CMP 10 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of Environment, Peru, via video message, suggested parties take advantage of previous work and engage constructively to develop consensus text.
For the COP 21/CMP 11 Presidency, Laurence Tubiana, France, commended the ADP Co-Chairs for their work on the non-paper. She noted the non-paper still lacks ambition and called on parties to produce a clear, concise and ambitious text.
Acknowledging lack of consensus on the non-paper, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder reminded delegates that the ADP Co-Chairs’ non-paper was intended to serve as the basis for text-based negotiations. Pursuant to a meeting held on Sunday, 18 October, with Heads of Delegation, he noted an understanding among parties that work would proceed in a contact group making “surgical insertions” of “must-haves” into the text followed by a meeting of Heads of Delegation on how to proceed, as outlined in “Further Clarifications on the mode of work at ADP 2-11,” distributed as an addition to the ADP Co-Chairs’ scenario note. Parties agreed to continue working under the ADP 2 agenda (ADP/2013/AGENDA).
South Africa, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), supported by Sudan, for the African Group, lamented that the ADP Co-Chairs had not fulfilled their mandate to produce a balanced text. She proposed an open-ended drafting committee, with text on the screen and live editing, to address “must-haves.” The ADP open-ended contact group then immediately convened.
ADP CONTACT GROUP
On Monday, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder opened the contact group, which responded to the G-77/China’s proposal on how to address omissions in the ADP Co-Chairs’ non-paper.
Following extensive debate on whether to proceed on the basis of either the G-77/China or the ADP Co-Chairs’ proposed mode of work, parties agreed to continue in an open-ended contact group, moving article-by-article through the text and reflecting proposals submitted by parties on the screen. In the afternoon and evening, parties put forth their numerous “surgical insertions” into the non-paper.
On Tuesday, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder proposed using the revised non-paper as the starting point for negotiations on the Paris package in closed spin-off groups on: mitigation (Article 3); adaptation, and loss and damage (Articles 4 and 5); finance (Article 6); technology development and transfer, and capacity building (Articles 7 and 8); transparency (Article 9); compliance (Article 11); and workstream 2.
A number of parties noted that their “must-haves” were omitted but agreed to add these in the spin-off groups, agreeing they would engage in direct textual negotiations and address associated decision text.
Noting the importance of transparency, the G-77/China, Mexico, and Malaysia, for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), opposed by Japan, called for observers to be allowed to sit in the spin-off groups. ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder explained that observers would not be permitted to attend the spin-off groups, due to concerns posed by some parties.
On Tuesday afternoon, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder explained and parties agreed that: the revised non-paper issued in the morning, with “inadvertent omissions” inserted, would be the starting point for negotiations; the contact group would take up definitions and paragraphs of the draft decision not assigned to spin-off groups; a daily stocktaking session would take place; and additional briefings for observers would be scheduled. Parties agreed that the spin-off group on compliance would also address final clauses (Articles 12-26). Global stocktake (Article 10) and preamble and purpose/general (Articles 2 and 2bis) were also assigned to spin-off groups.
The ADP contact group further convened to take stock on Wednesday morning and Thursday evening, during which spin-off group co-facilitators reported back on progress in their respective groups. On Wednesday morning, the contact group addressed items not covered in spin-offs.
On Thursday evening, following the reports of the co-facilitators, the G-77/China and Venezuela voiced strong objection that the stocktaking session had started without the presence of the G-77/China, with the group wondering whether “their views still matter.” Parties agreed to reconvene a stocktaking session to consider the way forward on Friday morning.
On Friday morning, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder opened the stocktaking, which heard reports from Thursday evening’s spin-off groups on: technology development and transfer, and capacity building; and workstream 2.
ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder suggested that spin-off groups convene in the morning to continue streamlining text to be submitted for parties’ consideration ahead of the final stocktaking on the way forward in the afternoon.
South Africa, for the G-77/China, expressed “profound dissatisfaction” with Thursday evening’s stocktaking starting in spite of an ongoing coordination meeting of the G-77/China, calling for the “fair treatment” of all parties.
Following the final meetings of the spin-off groups, the contact group reconvened Friday evening to consider the outcome of the session and discuss the way forward. ADP Co-Chair Djoghlaf announced that in Paris any spin-off groups established under the ADP will be open to observers, pursuant to the rules of procedure, unless any party objects.
South Africa, for the G-77/China, welcomed the new text as balanced and party-owned, but lamented that parties could not complete the reading of much of the decision text. She proposed that the Secretariat prepare a technical paper identifying duplication and areas for consolidation, emphasizing that the integrity of the text must be maintained.
Sudan, for the African Group, noted progress on purpose (Article 2) in informal consultations, but lamented, with Australia, for the Umbrella Group, that in other areas parties held to positions and did not engage in the negotiations.
Underscoring the imminent approach of Hurricane Patricia, Mexico stressed the urgency of “getting this deal done” and appealed to parties to put aside differences.
Guatemala, for the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), congratulated parties for the spirit shown during the week, noting that this is “the first time we can call the text our own.”
The EU pointed to the text as a basis for negotiation but stressed progress had not been as fast as hoped and great effort will be needed to reach an agreement in Paris.
Bahamas also expressed frustration that the sense of urgency had been lost, stating he had hoped for a more “complete” document to take back to his capital.
Malaysia, for the LMDCs, stressed that parties now owned the text, and had restored credibility in the process, and emphasized the importance of loss and damage, in light of Hurricane Patricia.
Turkey noted the importance of an agreement for future generations, and called for continued faith in the process and the ADP Co-Chairs.
Russia said what had taken place this week was not “negotiating” and called for an additional negotiation session. With Australia, for the Umbrella Group, he entertained the idea of a new text from the ADP Co-Chairs.
Parties agreed that the Secretariat would prepare a technical paper presenting options for streamlining and consolidating the text, without removing options, and that the non-paper dated 23 October 2015 at 23:30, which corrected minor omissions, would be forwarded to serve as the basis for negotiations in Paris.
ITEMS NOT COVERED IN SPIN-OFFS: On Wednesday, on definitions(Article 1), parties said discussions are premature and registered concerns about terms inserted in the text. The US, Brazil, the Russian Federation and Bolivia opposed including definitions of “REDD+” and, with Malaysia, for the LMDCs, of “climate forcers.”
Saudi Arabia, for the Arab Group, requested a placeholder for the definition of “climate finance.” Bolivia proposed defining a mechanism for the implementation of joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral sustainable management of forests as an alternative to REDD+.
Parties also discussed differentiation.
On the draft decision text, Sudan, for the African Group, suggested brackets around “Agreement” to avoid prejudging the Paris outcome. China proposed a new title: “Paris implementing agreement under the UNFCCC.”
Parties then discussed issues relating to: the establishment of an intergovernmental preparatory committee to prepare for entry into force of the agreement; a placeholder for updating commitments in INDCs before entry into force; no back-sliding; not limiting contributions to mitigation actions; and communication on means of implementation (MOI) by developed countries in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
SPIN-OFF GROUPS: Preamble and Purpose/General: The spin-off group on preamble and purpose (Article 2)/general (Article 2bis), co-facilitated by George Wamukoya (Kenya) and Aya Yoshida (Japan), convened on Wednesday and Friday.
On Wednesday, parties began discussions on the preamble, with new text suggestions on, inter alia, “sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption,” and “the importance of promoting social and economic development.”
Some parties suggested integrating existing text on: human rights; the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities; and the special needs and circumstances of developing countries. Several parties expressed concern with the mode of work, lamenting “we are still compiling text.”
On purpose, additions to the text were suggested on, inter alia: long-term goal; sustainable development; response measures; furthering the objective of the Convention; and national circumstances. Several supported rethinking the logic of the article to clearly and succinctly express the purpose of the agreement. Others proposed removing it entirely, stating each section will address its own purpose.
On Article 2bis, views diverged between those considering it an essential, separate section; and those who felt the section is not necessary and overlaps with discussions in other spin-off groups. One party highlighted nationally-determined time periods for NDCs, as opposed to an internationally-set timeframe.
Another emphasized the need to refer to INDCs, since developing country actions are dependent on MOI. One party suggested a universal legal obligation applicable to all parties that sign the agreement.
Brazil agreed to facilitate informal consultations on the streamlining of Article 2 and to report back to the spin-off group.
On Friday morning, some parties expressed willingness to proceed with the new version of the text on the preamble, with a group of parties presenting bridging proposals from informal meetings.
Some parties expressed procedural concerns, noting that some insertions had been removed from the text without permission, including on the rights of people under occupation, and sustainable lifestyles. One party worried about the “politicized nature” of some insertions.
Other parties cautioned against adding text back in, encouraging colleagues to work with the text as guidance for further negotiations alongside the ADP Co-Chairs’ non-paper. One party suggested presenting two options for the preamble, noting divisions between those wanting a short, precise text and those wanting a longer one. Several others disagreed, calling for one single option with brackets. Many expressed confusion over the use of brackets, stating this was not consistently applied. Co-Facilitator Wamukoya explained that all text should be viewed as being in brackets, since nothing was yet agreed.
On Article 2, some parties requested referencing, inter alia, the integrity of Mother Earth and a just transition of the workforce. Others noted that the purpose of the agreement should be explained as further enhancing implementation of the Convention.
Parties forwarded the text to the contact group.
Mitigation: The spin-off group on mitigation (Article 3), co-facilitated by Franz Perrez (Switzerland) and Fook Seng Kwok (Singapore), met on Tuesday, twice on Thursday and once on Friday. The group also held informal informals on Thursday evening.
The group began by inserting elements omitted from the revised non-paper, followed by paragraph-by-paragraph negotiations. Some parties presented bridging proposals, but, following difficulties streamlining the text, Co-Facilitator Perrez proposed continuing structured discussions based on an outline of concepts included in the text and on timeframes. He asked parties that had put forward bridging proposals to coordinate amongst themselves.
On a mitigation goal, a proposal was made that, inter alia: made the goal a “planetary” one by removing references to types of parties or special circumstances and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC); erased references to poverty eradication, economic development, zero net emissions and climate neutrality; and replaced GHGs with “climate forcers.”
Another bridging proposal suggested the peaking of emissions with different timeframes for developed and developing countries, in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and bearing in mind that poverty eradication is the overriding priority of developing countries.
On parties’ mitigation contributions, parties identified core areas, including: differentiation; preparation, communication and implementation of contributions; their characteristics; type (contributions/commitments/actions) and legal form; progression and ambition; design rules or features; the relationship between NDCs and support; and technical parameters, including timing and housing.
Parties differed on whether the list of upfront information for NDCs belonged in the agreement text. Several parties stressed addressing differentiation first, including whether to apply differentiation to all, or only some, of the identified aspects in the section, and one group suggested the section begin with text recognizing the principle of CBDRRC.
On timing and accounting/transparency, one party called for a simple ex ante consideration process and adjustment procedure for increasing commitments.
On rules and guidance related to accounting, parties identified “high-level options” with some parties calling for addressing this under the transparency section of the Paris agreement.
Noting linkages between many different paragraphs, some parties underscored the difficulty of engaging fully on language before getting an overview of the section.
On Friday, Co-Facilitator Perrez noted the group followed a “center-of-gravity” approach to streamlining, noting that countries had worked together to come up with bridging proposals. He presented new text, prepared on the basis of discussions.
Parties considered the new text, which clusters issues around: collective long-term goal; individual efforts; differentiated efforts; progression; ambition; information; features; timing; subsequent communications; housing; transparency and reporting; accounting; methods and guidance; long-term strategies; response measures; unilateral measures; regional economic integration organizations; collective approaches; support; framing; international transport emissions; REDD+; and a mechanism to support sustainable development. Parties made minor editorial changes.
Related to options on nationally determined mitigation contribution/commitment communication, parties included language on timing. Several parties queried on the way forward and whether further textual insertions were opportune. Several parties expressed concern that their issues had not been captured and that the section overlaps with others. Parties agreed that the text was a basis for further work, and forwarded it to the contact group.
Adaptation, and Loss and Damage: The spin-off group on adaptation (Article 4) and loss and damage (Article 5) and related decision text, co-facilitated by Andrea Guerrero (Colombia) and Georg Børsting (Norway), met on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On adaptation (Article 4), parties discussed a global goal/long-term vision, agreeing to remove brackets around “enhancing adaptive capacity.” One party queried the rationale for including language on “particularly vulnerable” developing countries in multiple places in the text.
On the links between the level of mitigation and adaptation, text was added on the resilience of people and livelihoods to abrupt climate change, mitigation efforts “in line with the provisions/principles of the Convention,” and the necessity of adaptation irrespective of mitigation. After consultations and revisions on two options for this paragraph, one party withdrew its language, saying the balance was restored, and parties agreed to delete an option.
On human rights and gender responsiveness of adaptation, delegates considered various textual proposals and agreed to engage bilaterally to resolve differences. Parties also considered a streamlining proposal on the approach and guidance for adaptation action.
On the adaptation decision text, parties made insertions related to regional cooperation, reviewing the coherence and effectiveness of adaptation institutional arrangements under the Convention, and building on existing work and processes.
On loss and damage (Article 5), delegates agreed to delete a paragraph on international cooperation and solidarity.
Another party offered language on institutional arrangements, saying the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement (CMA) should elaborate the adaptation framework to enhance its coherence and effectiveness.
One party, opposed by a group of parties, requested adding “and other parties in need of support” alongside “developing countries” throughout the text. The issue was resolved with a footnote.
One group expressed concern about “unorthodox” procedures, calling for delegates to refrain from altering other parties’ suggestions. Another party suggested issues related to adaptation support be addressed in the finance spin-off group.
On Friday, parties considered streamlined versions of the agreement and decision texts. In the agreement text, Co-Facilitator Guerrero explained where certain language on urgency, vulnerability, capacity building and technology had been moved in the agreement and corrected omissions and grammar in response to several parties’ interventions.
Two parties highlighted that human rights was missing on the approach and guidance for adaptation action and another party expressed concern that the importance of adaptation being a primarily nationally-driven process was not adequately reflected.
One group of parties raised concerns about “communication” being singular and concepts from a deleted paragraph on the approach and guidance for adaptation action having been lost in streamlined options.
Parties agreed to adjust the text to address these concerns. On one party’s concern that the language on adequacy of support should be in the related articles in the agreement, parties placed the marker “(text on adaptation support to be considered in Articles 6, 7, 8, and 9).”
On the loss and damage agreement text, parties separately bracketed both options in their entirety.
On the adaptation decision text, parties agreed to bracket individual paragraphs that introduced new ideas to indicate they are concepts that parties have not had the opportunity to engage on. Parties also bracketed “and to use adaptation metrics.”
On the loss and damage decision text, parties separately bracketed both options in their entirety.
Parties agreed to forward the text as it stood to the contact group.
Finance: The spin-off group on finance (Article 6), co-facilitated by Georg Børsting (Norway) and Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda), met on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The group began by addressing omissions and then sought to clarify options in the draft agreement text. On Wednesday morning, some parties convened informally to work on streamlining text on institutional arrangements and considered clarifying ex ante communication. On Thursday, the spin-off group considered a new iteration of the draft agreement text, as streamlined by the co-facilitators.
One group of parties emphasized the predictability, scaling-up of, and access to resources for developing countries, as well as clarification on finance for adaptation.
One party stressed, inter alia: collective efforts to mobilize climate-friendly finance, including domestic resource mobilization; recognition of the role of official development assistance; economic realities; and that scaled-up finance is not an end in itself. She opposed artificially limiting the pool of potential donors and restricting the communication on climate finance to developed countries. In response, another party raised the issue of the legal nature of some suggestions, noting there was no mandate to reform the Convention.
Engaging in what some described as a “repetitive” conversation, parties disagreed on differentiation and on what some referred to as “changing economic realities.” One group of parties described any notion of equating developed countries’ obligations with developing countries’ voluntary efforts as “a non-starter,” stating that such voluntary efforts are not a reason to dilute CBDRRC or “shift responsibility.”
Some parties called for moving on from this issue, expressing that convergence on differentiation would not be resolved at this level, while others stressed that it is the spin-off groups’ responsibility to engage on these difficult issues in order to present ministers in Paris with a workable text.
On sources, parties made textual suggestions and considered merging paragraphs containing ideas on the desirability of a variety of sources and on public funds, being distinct from official development assistance, as the main source of financing.
On scale, recognizing the GCF and the scaling-up of climate finance, one party preferred language showing a progression of efforts rather than fixed numbers in “a dynamic agreement.”
On balancing support for adaptation and mitigation, one group of parties stressed the importance of retaining language on the “fifty-fifty” allocation and a needs-based approach.
Parties continued to examine various paragraphs, making textual suggestions, clarifying ideas and merging options. A paragraph on a high-level segment on climate finance was deleted.
Parties also expressed differing views on the dynamism of the agreement and on specific references to: enabling environments; the role of domestic resources; and steps to promote the mobilization of climate finance.
On Friday, the spin-off group concluded its discussion of the streamlined draft agreement text, and moved to consideration of the draft decision text, with parties making additional textual proposals.
Several parties made textual proposals, including on: ways to enhance the effectiveness of climate finance; the provision of adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources for the implementation of REDD+ activities; and scaling-up the finance base to support developing countries’ climate action.
One group proposed language, inter alia, urging developed countries to increase the mobilization of financial resources for climate action of developing country parties to US$70 billion in 2016 and US$85 billion in 2018, leading to the achievement of the existing commitments to reach US$100 billion in 2020. Noting recent findings of an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/Climate Policy Initiative report, one group proposed decision language requiring a significant share of new multilateral funding for climate change action to flow through the financial mechanism of the Convention and its Protocol.
One party proposed language regarding specification of ex ante communication, including information on: increased clarity on the expected levels of climate finance mobilized from different sources; policies, programmes and priorities; actions and plans to mobilize additional finance; actions to enhance enabling environments in order to mobilize and attract climate finance from a variety of sources; and investment plans to implement NDCs, including financing needs to implement an enhanced level of ambition.
Another group proposed a process to assess progress related to provision of finance by developed countries, including to ensure: the balance of resources for adaptation and mitigation; that it is in line with developing countries’ strategies, priorities and needs; and efforts to improve adequacy and predictability of resources and avoid double counting.
Parties agreed to transmit the revised text to the contact group.
Technology Development and Transfer, and Capacity Building: The spin-off group on technology development and transfer (Article 7), and capacity building (Article 8), co-facilitated by Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Artur Runge-Metzger (EU), met on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
On technology, the group began by addressing outstanding omissions before turning to paragraph-by-paragraph negotiations of the agreement text.
One group of countries opposed specifying that enabling environments will attract investment, and suggesting reference to investment “to deploy low-carbon and climate resilient technologies.”
Others differed, saying cooperative action and support for implementation require improving enabling environments that will “inter alia” attract investment. Parties’ views also differed on the reference to addressing barriers to the dissemination and uptake of technology.
On the global goal, one group emphasized that mitigation ambition can only be met with technology support, and stressed the need for a technology availability assessment to address the supply side. Others opposed, stating that quantifying such a goal would be difficult and constitutes a “disguised commitment.”
On an option on support for research, development and application of environmentally-sound technologies, one group of parties expressed opposition, and many suggested addressing the issue at the end of the section.
On a streamlined version of the purpose of the article prepared informally by a group of parties, one party called for including “should” as an alternative to “shall,” since no agreement has yet been reached on compliance mechanisms of the agreement.
Some called for removing text on “accelerate and upscale,” while others stated preference for leaving it in the text. The group agreed to one party’s request to replace the term “gender-sensitive” with “gender-responsive.”
Reconvening on Friday, Co-Facilitator Mpanu-Mpanu presented a revised version of the agreement text and the group began considering the draft decision. Parties clarified where text on intellectual property rights came from.
One party noted the language requesting the TEC to elaborate means of strengthening the technology needs assessment (TNA) process might not be necessary, as the TEC has made more progress than expected in this area.
Another called for bracketing all instances of the CMA and any other bodies in the decision text.
One suggested that since the subjects of paragraphs on the TNA process are on the agenda of COP 21, they can be kept as placeholders awaiting language from decisions on these issues.
On capacity building, some parties proposed addressing differentiation on capacity building by singling out specific party groups, such as least developed countries and small island developing states. Others proposed to refer only to “parties in need” and to avoid bifurcation.
Having met informally to consider parties’ submissions, the group considered a streamlined version of several paragraphs. Some parties expressed concern that ideas had been lost and requested re-insertion of sections of text. Other parties then expressed frustration with the lack of progress, calling for parties to accept compromise.
On the way capacity building should be undertaken and who should support it, parties agreed that the current options provide a basis for negotiation, and to work informally on institutional arrangements.
On Friday, Co-Facilitator Runge-Metzger noted outcomes of the informal informals, welcoming their proposed options on institutional arrangements. On education, training and public awareness (Article 8bis), parties agreed to keep the language as it is.
On the decision text, one group highlighted their bridging proposal and noted the need to avoid prejudging the outcome of the third review of the framework for capacity building, calling for language emphasizing the need to act upon it. Some expressed concern that they had not had the chance to add new text on this point, saying they could move forward with the assurance that they could add it at an appropriate moment.
Parties agreed to forward the text as revised on technology development and transfer, and capacity building to the contact group.
Transparency: The spin-off group on transparency (Article 9), co-facilitated by Fook Seng Kwok (Singapore) and Franz Perrez (Switzerland), convened on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The group began by considering parties’ surgical insertions that had not been included in the text forwarded to the group, and then discussed the text paragraph-by-paragraph.
On establishing or framing transparency, disagreement arose on the treatment of differentiation and whether or not to emphasize bifurcation. Some parties suggested that robustness was the key issue, rather than differentiation.
Views diverged on the depth of content to include, with some requesting a brief and simple paragraph and others calling for principles and greater substance. Parties consulted informally, and developed four clear options on establishing the transparency system that respectively: emphasize bifurcation; refer to flexibility without bifurcation; differentiate along three tiers; and simply establish the transparency system without additional details.
On a proposal to insert text on a transition period for developing countries, several parties expressed concern about a defined timescale, noting that timescales are likely to be different for each party and that transition is already built into the general framework.
On the purpose of the transparency system, parties noted the need to define the logic of the paragraph, with essential concepts including: emissions and removals; progress in both mitigation and adaptation; assessment and review; and comparability.
Parties disagreed on whether to have separate sections on action and support, with Co-Facilitator Kwok encouraging consideration of links between transparency and global stocktake. Some pointed to differences between adaptation and mitigation, noting MRV of each is differently understood. Parties agreed that the co-facilitators would give “light treatment” to the paragraph to reflect the discussions.
On the option to include adaptation, several parties called for referring to sharing information, lessons learned and good practices, rather than “achievement.”
Parties disagreed on the content of paragraphs some described as “reporting and review,” and others “scope and future arrangements.” At the request of one party, the group agreed to insert a note in the revised text to indicate this difference in understanding.
Some parties suggested keeping agreement articles brief to maintain flexibility and allow wide participation, leaving the details in the decisions or for consideration by the CMA. Others cautioned against this, since parties “need to know what they are signing up to.”
Discussions on the remainder of the article considered: specific terminology and potential need for new language for “review” or “assessment”; cross-cutting issues that could be dealt with in other articles; the need for technology transfer and capacity building as well as financial support; and a potential new mechanism for continual support for capacity building based on the Montreal Protocol.
Meeting on Friday, parties responded to a streamlining proposal on review/future arrangements, reducing the number of options from seven to three, with many supporting the revised agreement text as a basis for further negotiation.
Several parties noted confusion about the mode of work and way forward, expressing concern that the “compiled” decision text should not have the same status as the revised agreement text, since there had been no time to discuss it.
Parties forwarded the text to the contact group.
Global Stocktake: The spin-off group on global stocktake (Article 10), co-facilitated by Roberto Dondisch (Mexico) and George Wamukoya (Kenya), met on Wednesday and Friday.
On Wednesday, the group considered the structure and the logic of the article, and the concepts to be included. On the purpose of the global stocktake, parties considered, inter alia: its role in assessing implementation of the agreement and links to objectives of the Convention. Some parties, opposed by others, requested references to Convention Articles 4.2(d), 7.2(e) and 10.2(a), on the review of aggregate impact, which was opposed by other groups of parties.
Discussing mitigation, adaptation and MOI as potential focus areas of the stocktake, parties agreed that the scope should involve at least a backwards-looking element on implementation. There was disagreement on whether it should also involve a forward-looking component to inform subsequent commitment periods, monitoring aggregate contributions against the level of contributions needed to achieve the objectives of the agreement.
Some parties underscored that the scope should be the global aggregate of actions taken and not be used to “assess the inadequacy” of parties’ NDCs. Others suggested that individually collected data might be used as input into the assessment of the collective efforts, noting the need for a robust MRV framework.
On Friday, the spin-off group considered a proposal for a streamlined text, clustered around: purpose and output; scope; process; inputs; and timing. On the decision text, delegates made insertions on design and modalities.
Commenting on ways to make cross-references to other articles in the agreement, delegates agreed to forward the text to the ADP Co-Chairs.
Compliance and Final Clauses: The spin-off group on compliance (Article 11) and final clauses (Articles 12-26), co-facilitated by Sarah Baashan (Saudi Arabia) and Aya Yoshida (Japan), met on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On Wednesday, the group collected omitted text insertions in numerous articles, and discussed options to streamline the text on compliance and cluster it around headings.
On Thursday, a co-facilitators’ streamlined version of the text on compliance was presented. Delegates considered further textual suggestions on numerous articles. On bodies and institutional arrangements to serve the agreement (Article 15), proposals were made on mechanisms, CMA decisions, and CMA guidance.
On further requirements and decision-making rights (Article 17), proposals included: a requirement for parties to submit NDCs in order to be part of the agreement or participate in decision making; the timing and legally-binding nature of NDCs; a placeholder for a non-punitive compliance procedure; and reference to general (Article 2bis).
Other text suggestions included: a reference to Annex X in amendments (Article 19) and at the very end of the agreement; and a placeholder for reservations in Article 24. On entry into force (Article 18), the UNFCCC Secretariat informed parties that: the earliest date for opening the treaty for signature after its adoption in Paris in December would be 22 April 2016; and they could either use UNFCCC parties’ inventories or datasets used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report to determine their shares of GHG emissions. Further discussion on the content and scope of amendments (Article 19) and annexes (Article 20) took place. Delegates agreed to continue to work informally.
On Friday, Co-Facilitator Baashan presented, and parties agreed to forward to the ADP Co-Chairs, three documents: a streamlined agreement text on compliance (Article 11); a streamlined agreement text on final clauses (Articles 12-26); and a streamlined decision text.
Workstream 2: The spin-off group on workstream 2, co-facilitated by Aya Yoshida (Japan) and George Wamukoya (Kenya), met from Tuesday through Friday, addressing the draft decision (ADP.2015.9.InformalNote), as revised.
The group began by addressing omissions, before working through the draft decision paragraph-by-paragraph.
On the preamble and paragraphs on fulfilling previous agreements and decisions under the Convention, suggested changes included: enhancing the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention in accordance with CBDRRC and with developed countries taking the lead; ensuring applicability to all parties; increasing ambition on existing pre-2020 commitments/pledges; encouraging non-Annex I parties that have not done so to submit their biennial update report; and conducting a 2016-2017 review of developed countries’ mitigation commitments and support for developing countries.
A party proposed deleting language on timely participation in transparency processes and instead adding “in order to demonstrate progress in the implementation of the mitigation measures” and the implementation of pledges under the Cancun Agreements.
On voluntary cancellation of certified emission reductions (CERs), suggestions included mentioning quantified emission reductions that are not limited to CERs, and all flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Having consulted with “many parties,” one party proposed streamlining related to voluntary cancellation of CERs, emission reduction units, assigned amount units and removal units. Another party cited concerns, asking for the text to be bracketed.
On strengthening the Technical Examination Process (TEP), parties added language on: encouraging the entities of the financial mechanism of the Convention to engage in the TEMs to enhance the effective coordination and provision of support; providing support for the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies; and assessing the implementation of the Convention’s provisions regarding the negative social and economic impacts of response measures.
On an adaptation TEP, the co-facilitators agreed discussions would take place on Wednesday to allow for adaptation experts’ participation. Several parties feared this would set a precedent, noting discussions on mitigation under workstream 2 have not required mitigation experts to be present.
Juan Pablo Hoffmaister (Bolivia), Adaptation Committee Co-Chair, answered questions on: how the Committee provides technical support and guidance; gaps to be filled; the utility of a bottom-up approach; whether the Committee carries out activities similar to the TEMs; and whether its mandate includes assessment of how to enhance adaptation activities.
Many developed countries opposed addressing adaptation under workstream 2, calling for: using existing resources and institutions effectively, such as the CTCN, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, and the Adaptation Committee; considering elements of the proposed TEP in discussions on workstream 1 decision text; and encouraging engagement by countries on adaptation agenda items in other bodies.
Developing country parties emphasized the “crucial” nature of adaptation, noting: the need to inject a sense of urgency; the workstream 2 mandate mentions adaptation co-benefits; adaptation is a matter of survival and deserves parity with mitigation; and a need for high-level engagement.
Presenting a streamlining proposal, one group of parties explained that the adaptation TEP would avoid duplicating other efforts under the Convention and create linkages and coherence.
On urging parties to ratify the Doha Amendment, some suggested removing “and wish to do so,” but another indicated this is a sensitive issue and the wording should remain.
On Friday, parties reviewed the document incorporating all streamlining proposals. With the re-insertion of a review of implementation gaps in developed countries’ mitigation commitments in the support section, and the integration of an alternative option on the TEP in the adaptation section, parties agreed to send the streamlined version of the text to the contact group.
On Friday evening, ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder thanked parties for their hard work throughout the week.
Jorge Voto-Bernales, for the COP 20/CMP 10 Presidency, Peru, said the resulting text is not good enough and, in order to transform the text into a legal agreement, parties must find appropriate procedures and modalities to increase the effectiveness of the negotiations.
Laurence Tubiana, for the incoming COP 21/CMP 11 Presidency, called for a shared sense of responsibility, asking parties to find the spirit of compromise.
ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder proposed and parties agreed to accept the proposal from the G-77/China on the way forward, including preparation of a technical paper by the Secretariat identifying closely related paragraphs and duplications within sections, and possible areas for streamlining, without changing the content of the text, and forwarding the revised non-paper from 23 October, with minor changes to rectify omissions, to the resumed second session of the ADP at COP 21.
ADP Rapporteur Yang Liu (China) presented, and parties adopted, the report of the session (FCCC/ADP/2015/L.4). ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder suspended ADP 2 at 7:42 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF ADP 2-11
“Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start”
–The Scientist, Coldplay
When delegates departed from the previous session of the ADP in August 2015, they were buoyed by the prospect of a Co-Chairs’ negotiating text that could serve as the basis for work on the Paris package. In fact, the ADP Co-Chairs were expected to relieve parties of the painful prospect of crafting an agreement from the sizeable text remaining on the table. However, when parties returned to Bonn six weeks later for ADP 2-11, they were in a considerably less hopeful frame of mind, following release of a Co-Chairs’ text that many found unbalanced and unacceptable as a basis for further negotiations.
This session was supposed to intensify the pace of text-based negotiations so that the agreement will be ready for the Paris Climate Change Conference in five-weeks’ time. By the end of the week, however, it was clear that parties had not managed to intensify the pace. If anything, they had slowed it down.
Dissatisfied with the ADP Co-Chairs’ text, parties engaged in a text re-compilation exercise, followed by a painstaking process of streamlining and clustering. Many of the compromises reached at the June and August-September sessions of the ADP disappeared, as parties returned to positions expressed in Geneva in February 2015.
This brief analysis will reflect on ADP 2-11 and on what it managed to achieve, as well as where it leaves parties on the way to Paris.
NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY
Before delegates arrived in Bonn, the Co-Chairs, as expressed in their scenario note, had hoped to conduct a first reading of the negotiating text in open-ended drafting committees. The bulk of the negotiating work was to be assigned to spin-off groups chaired by the facilitators designated at ADP 2-9 in June. However, dissatisfaction with the negotiating text disrupted the plan.
The ADP Co-Chairs’ “non-paper” prepared ahead of ADP 2-11 contained a draft text for the Paris agreement and draft decisions on the agreement and on pre-2020 ambition. The non-paper was based on the 90-page Geneva negotiating text adopted at ADP 2-8 in February 2015, taking into account the views and positions expressed by parties over the past eight months. The Co-Chairs’ non-paper effectively reduced the Geneva negotiating text to 20 pages: nine pages on a draft agreement text, structured in 26 articles; and 11 pages on a draft decision comprising both workstreams 1 and 2. However, some parties felt that rather than focusing on earlier found convergences and bridging proposals emerging from ADP 2-10, the draft agreement in the non-paper left a large number of crucial substantive decisions to be made after Paris, or simply “forgotten.”
As a result, ADP 2-11 began in an atmosphere of trepidation. Many were anxious to see how the ADP Co-Chairs’ non-paper would be received, given that some parties had already characterized it as a “non-starter.” In spite of its brevity, some had hoped that this text would provide a framework for focused negotiations. Instead, as one observer noted, the Co-Chairs’ text caused parties to lose faith that their issues would even be considered. Several parties suggested the text was a trade-off, achieving both clarity and conciseness at the expense of comprehensiveness, the “hallmark of party ownership.” But not all parties were willing to work on the basis of the Co-Chairs’ text. To restore party ownership of what many considered an “unbalanced” text, delegates engaged in a complex re-compilation operation.
GOING BACK TO THE START?
Even though parties agreed to make only essential “surgical insertions” into the Co-Chairs’ text, many used the compilation process as a means to re-introduce their long-held positions into the text. Several observers noted that the compiled text reversed compromises achieved at ADP 2-9 and 10, reverting to the positions enshrined in the Geneva negotiating text, saying “it is as if ADP 2-9 and 10 never happened.”
The outcome of this process was a significantly swelled negotiating text, comprising a 31-page draft agreement and 20-page draft decision text on workstream 1, both with multiple options and a wide range of contrasting ideas. The text on workstream 2 was included in a separate eight-page document.
At ADP 2-11 parties did not make the shift from compilation, streamlining and consolidation, to actual text negotiations. So while many welcomed the restoration of parties’ ownership of the text, even more worried that delegates in Paris had been saddled with an impossible task.
Others emphasized, as a tangible outcome from ADP 2-11, that the structure of the agreement remained largely unchanged from the Co-Chairs’ non-paper. “It may seem like a small detail,” said one observer, “but the bones of the agreement are in place regardless of how much flesh was added.” Even though the text leaving ADP 2-11 is much shorter and better organized than the Geneva negotiating text, all agreed that it was far from a good basis for negotiations in Paris.
The troubles of ADP 2-11, however, were not limited to the swelling of the negotiating text and to the loss of consensus capital. The meeting was also characterized by a high degree of procedural wrangling. Parties struggled to agree on a mode of work that would rebuild trust in the Co-Chairs, the process and the text, and sufficiently increase the pace. But with as many as nine spin-off groups considering different elements of the text, several lamented that the fragmentation of the negotiating process had made it increasingly hard to see the big picture. Even at ADP 2-10, some parties had raised concern that the fragmented mode of work in spin-off groups needed to be adjusted so to provide “more centralized” negotiating space. Throughout ADP 2-11, views differed on whether, at this stage of the negotiations, spin-off groups are an effective means to work towards the Paris agreement.
Transparency was another area of contention. In spite of some parties’ pleas, the spin-off groups were closed to observers. This left many disgruntled civil society representatives at the conference site venting their frustration through social media. Some suggested the “secretive approach” could not be justified, recalling that the Kyoto Protocol had largely been negotiated in a plenary setting and that civil society plays an important role in assessing progress, holding parties accountable and in assisting parties in the negotiation process. It was finally agreed that this would be rectified at the ADP session in Paris, with observers allowed into spin-off groups unless a party objects.
NO ONE EVER SAID IT WOULD BE THIS HARD
Leaving ADP 2-11, many delegates concurred with Laurence Tubiana, who spoke for the incoming COP 21 Presidency, that the text produced at this session was far from what parties had hoped to have in their hands ahead of negotiations in Paris. Some feared that, having failed to capitalize on the momentum of earlier sessions, focus would now shift to less transparent political, rather than text-based, negotiations.
It is increasingly important for the political level to provide guidance to the technical negotiations, by identifying political trade-offs and crafting compromises, as technical negotiations have clearly struggled to pave the way forward. Yet many in the text-based negotiations worry that the political level has less experience with the technical intricacies of the process and may trade off hard won compromises if they end up having the craft the final agreement themselves.
Fearing turbulence ahead, in the closing hours in Bonn delegates explored possible pathways to Paris. Most parties did not support mandating the ADP Co-Chairs to engage in another revision of the text, preferring to retain their regained ownership. Parties decided instead to request the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper that would identify duplications and streamlining opportunities, “without changing the content of the text.”
How parties will work on this text in Paris, amidst Heads of State and ministerial engagement, remains to be seen. While Heads of State have only been invited to a brief session in advance of COP 21, some wondered whether as “ministers come in, negotiators will have to go out.” Sentiments at ADP 2-11, however, was that political will still exists to reach a deal in Paris, but how ambitious the deal will be, and whether it will be ready for implementation remains in question.
Almost no time at ADP 2-11 was spent addressing the decision text necessary to flesh out the hoped-for concise agreement. The Paris package is meant to constitute of both agreement and decision text. Some had hoped for a virtuous cycle in which the details on the “how” would be captured in decision text, thus allowing the agreement only to focus on the “what,” with parties able to make compromises within the agreement text, once assurances on how issues were being dealt with in the decision text were elaborated. Instead, at ADP 2-11 a vicious cycle continued to inhibit progress, as parties were loath to remove anything from the agreement without knowing what would be in the decision text, but also found it difficult to work on decisions without knowing what would be in the agreement.
Delegates were painfully reminded of the urgency for an ambitious agreement in the closing moments of ADP 2-11. Reporting that Hurricane Patricia was about to hit its coastline with unprecedented strength, Mexico, described the government’s desperate work to move coastal populations out of harm and made an emotional appeal for all parties to set aside their differences and focus on the work ahead. While delegates expressed solidarity with the affected populations, many in the room reflected on the increasing chasm between the international climate policy-making process and the mounting real-world impacts of a changing climate.
Leaving Bonn 20 years after the adoption of the Berlin Mandate for the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol, and ten years since its entry into force, parties to the climate regime are still struggling to find a clear path to address the greatest challenge to ever face humankind. The Paris Climate Change Conference is supposed to light the way for governments to finally deliver an effective global response to this epochal challenge. ADP 2-11, however, demonstrated that parties remain far from reaching any agreement. They now have but five weeks to consider their options ahead of Paris, including opportunities to engage at the political level at the pre-COP convening from 8-10 November, in Paris, France. During the closing plenary, the French presidency urged parties to prepare for Paris “using all possible consultations that they can create among themselves.” As one seasoned observer noted “turbulence is more of a problem when you are coming in for a landing.” One can hope that, despite a bumpy ride, the process will find a safe landing on a Paris agreement.
Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD. Volume 12 Number 651 | Monday, 26 October 2015