TWN Info Service
on Climate Change (Nov09/07)
Please find below
a report on the informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in
With best wishes,
attack downgrading of
New York, 20 November 2009 (Meena Raman)- Developing countries attacked the downgrading of expectations at the forthcoming Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held next month, at an informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday.
Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, said news reports had recently portrayed
However, the Chair
of the G77 and
For the G77 and
At the end of the
2-hour session, Ban acknowledged the deep concerns of the G77 and
However, as the
meeting ended, the mood among many delegates, at least those from developing
countries, was that there would be a setback in
The informal meeting was convened by the President of the General Assembly to hear a briefing by Ban, a senior representative of the Government of Denmark, (which is hosting the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC ) as well as Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. The purpose of the meeting was to brief UN members on the status of the ongoing negotiations under the UNFCCC in the run-up to the Copenhagen COP which will be held 7-18 December.
President of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki of Libya, hoped that the informal meeting would throw light on the status of the negotiations leading up to the Conference of Parties (COP) that will inspire and advice on how best to move forward for a successful outcome in Copenhagen.
Abdalhaleem Mohamad of Sudan, speaking for the G77 and China, said that
the Group had expected that the Copenhagen Conference will produce the
final and detailed outcomes of the working group on the Kyoto Protocol
as well as the working group on long-term cooperative action (under
the UNFCCC, both being distinct tracks). The mandated deadlines for
concluding the work of these two groups is the COP in
The Group stressed that there is need to have conclusions as soon as possible because of the increasingly disastrous situation on the ground regarding climate events. The victims are mainly from developing countries.
The Group was extremely disappointed that the Copenhagen Conference did not seem to be able to result in the final outcomes and is a major setback. Parties should not pretend otherwise by using words such as a “legally binding political declaration”.
For the Group, the
most important outcome of
The working group on Kyoto Protocol has been working for four years. Yet there has been very slow progress. On top of this, the Group is very concerned by the indications that many members of the Kyoto Protocol want to move away from this Protocol and move towards another agreement whose nature is not understood.
There is a danger
of a downgrading of the commitments of developed countries from an internationally
legally binding commitment in the Kyoto Protocol to an inferior agreement
involving each country pledging its national programme, with no aggregate
figure for Annex I countries overall, and which is not legally binding.
It was also very disappointed with the very low overall reduction figure
arising from the national announcements from developed countries so
far, which is only 16-23 percent if we do not include the
[Annex I countries refer to developed countries listed in the UNFCCC that have internationally binding legal commitments to reduce emissions. The specific targets and distribution of burden among developed countries are set out in the Kyoto Protocol]
The main impasse
that has led to downgrading of expectations in
The G77 and China
asked if the Secretary General and the Denmark representative can assure
the Group that the present (UNFCCC) Annex I Parties that are members
of the Kyoto Protocol will remain in the Kyoto Protocol and will make
adequate commitments of at least 40% cut by 2020 (based on 1990 levels),
and will finish the negotiations in the Kyoto Protocol track by the
time Copenhagen is concluded. Without such an assurance, it will be
hard to see how
The second issue
of concern is finance and technology. The G77 and
It wanted an assurance
from the UN Secretary-General and the
The G77 and
It said there is also the question of adaptation. Developing countries need a more effective instrument to counter the effects of climate change and adequate finances. A recent UK-based study says that at least USD500 billion a year is needed for adaptation.
The Group said the
Copenhagen Conference must not end only with mere rhetorical political
statements. There must be concrete commitments from the developed countries
on their emission reduction figures, and commitments on finance, as
well as decisions to establish a finance mechanism and a technology
mechanism. It hoped that whatever outcome there is in
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said that reading the latest news reports,
one might think that
said that political momentum was building almost daily. In recent days,
U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao promised to work
together to reach an agreement in
said that outlines of agreement were shaping up on difficult issues
of adaptation, technology and capacity building and that there was convergence,
as well, on reducing emissions from deforestation.
message was for Parties to stay positive and stay engaged and come to
First, there is need for ambitious mid-term mitigation targets from industrialized countries. Secondly, there is need for ambitious mitigation actions by developing countries that go beyond “business as usual”. Third, is the need for financing and technology. Fourth, is the need for an ambitious adaptation package to assist the most vulnerable.
In the short-term, the developed world should provide roughly $10 billion dollars in fast-track funding annually over the next three years. With this money, there can be a jump-start to low-emission growth in developing countries, limit deforestation and finance immediate adaptation measures. Over the medium term, this needs to be scaled up substantially and has been estimated at $100 billion annually through 2020. Fifth, there was need to create a transparent and equitable governance structure to manage and deploy these resources. It must give all countries a voice. And it must provide for stronger monitoring, reporting and verification of both mitigation and financing.
Yvo De Boer, the
Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said that the signs for
These, he said ,are the key components of a Copenhagen deal that need to be captured and safeguarded, possibly by means of decisions. A set of decisions needs to include ambitious targets for industrialised countries on an individual basis; short-term finance; a cost-sharing formula for industrialised countries on long-term finance; as well as the nature of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries.
The decisions also
need to include a deadline for negotiations towards a legally binding
instrument in 2010. The decisions also need to unleash prompt implementation
of adaptation actions; technology cooperation; action on deforestation
in developing countries; and capacity-building, which needs to be enabled
with short-term finance on the table in
The Copenhagen Agreement would capture the progress in the negotiations and provide the basis for the next. There has to be concrete targets for actions that are binding and agreement on finance. Developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions and in providing finance. There is need for numbers., he said.
There should be
a mandate for a legal outcome and a deadline for conclusion, sooner
rather than later. It should have solid content on all the
It will be binding
and not be the usual political declaration, even if Parties cannot hammer
out a legally binding agreement. It would be a formal decision among
all Parties that includes precise language on all aspects of the
It should build
on the Kyoto Protocol and incorporate all the essentials. Global emissions
must peak by 2020. The EU can do 30 per cent reductions by 2020 provided
other developed countries do comparable efforts and developing countries
also contribute. A deal on financing is a central part with significant
scaling up. Parties could work towards $33-74 billion by 2020, as the
EU considers the proposals by the G77 and
The EU said there is need for a high-level forum to provide the overview of international sources of climate financing. Proposals for a framework on adaptation are also important. Incentives should be provided for the private sector. Research and development should be scaled up, and safe and clean technologies diffused. There is need for carbon markets based on robust cap and trade systems, including a reformed Clean Development Mechanism, and sectoral crediting and trading in developing countries.
AOSIS also expressed disappointment and extreme concern over the lack of ambition from developed countries in mitigation and finance. In mitigation, the pledges to date of the developed countries represent 12 to 19 per cent below 1990 levels, far from the more than 45 per cent reductions required to restrict long-term temperature increases to well below 1.5 degree C above pre-industrial levels. What is required are global reductions in excess of 85 per cent by 2050 and commensurate with individual reductions.
Adequate financing proposals have not been forthcoming, making it difficult for countries to take action. On the information about initial fast start financing, although AOSIS weclomed this initiative in principle, it falls short of what is eventually required. What about longer term financial needs? Does fast start also mean fast end or will it mean fast start and grow?, it asked. There is also a continuing attempt to shift the burden of responsibility to developing countries, in violation of the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan. Developed countries continue to try to erase the distinction between the differentiated responsibilities of developed countries and developing countries actions, enabled and supported by finance and technology. The attempt includes getting developing countries to adhere to new and broad reporting and verification procedures similar to those of developed countries and to get some “emerging economies” to adhere to emission reduction targets which are not part of the Bali Action Plan nor are they in the UNFCCC provisions.
Following the interventions,
Ban said that he had heard the deep concerns of the G77 and