TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Feb10/05)
4 February 2010
Third World Network

Developing countries express concerns about Accord process
Published in SUNS #6856 dated 4 February 2010

Geneva, 3 Feb (Meena Raman) -- Several developing countries are understood to have expressed their concerns about the Copenhagen Accord, or the manner in which the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat or the UN Secretary-General and the Danish Prime Minister have written to them about the Accord.

The concerns were raised in separate letters that the countries have written to the various persons concerned.

The Copenhagen Accord arose from a meeting of 26 heads of government convened by the Danish Prime Minister in Copenhagen, on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in December. The Accord was presented to the COP in a final plenary and was "taken note of" but not adopted, after several developing countries criticized the un-transparent process by which the Accord came about.

Venezuela has expressed its alarm at the attempt by the Danish Presidency of the Copenhagen COP to "distort the will of the majority of countries."

The Venezuelan government conveyed its views via a letter on 14 January from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros, to the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Mr. Yvo de Boer, expressing his deep concern at the "unsuccessful outcome of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, held in Copenhagen."

Mr. Moros said that the Danish government, which chaired the COP, acted as the spokesperson for the big powers and "tried with trickery and deception, to garner the support already not received" within the Copenhagen Conference of Parties.

He expressed alarm at the attempt to "distort the will of the majority when the Permanent Mission of Denmark, via its note verbale dated December 30, promoted among Parties the endorsement of a document that the COP only took note of and therefore, was not adopted."

The Venezuelan letter said that this initiative by the Danish Presidency seriously affects the multilateral system on climate change and "introduces a dangerous precedent that seriously alters the expressed will of the COP and affects the neutrality and credibility that should be ensured by its President".

Mr. Moros also stated that the Danish Presidency, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Rasmussen, has no mandate or responsibility to try to ignore the decision of the COP15 and to encourage endorsements of a document that was not approved.

This unfortunate initiative undermines the confidence in the current Presidency, and undermines the transparency that should characterize multilateral negotiations, he added.

"We feel compelled to remind [that] the Executive Secretariat does not have a mandate to facilitate any initiative designed to support the erroneously called Copenhagen Accord', which was not adopted at the COP and should not be considered as a basis for the negotiation of a future legally binding instrument," further said the letter.

The Pakistan government has sought clarification on the Copenhagen Accord. The Pakistan Mission to the United Nations in New York wrote to the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations, Carsten Staur, who had sent a note-verbale dated 30 December 2009 to all Parties to the UNFCCC, inviting them to associate with the Copenhagen Accord.

In a letter dated 29 January, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said that Pakistan joined the consensus to take note of the Copenhagen Accord in the spirit of constructive engagement, "despite our serious reservations on the process."

The letter said that "a series of communications and pronouncements, claims and counter claims by various Parties and the Secretariat (of the UNFCCC) have added more to the confusion surrounding the process, its substance and status."

"In order to better understand the Accord, its implications and to be able to give a serious and well considered response to the invitation to associate with the Accord", Pakistan sought clarification on the various aspects of the Accord.

It raised eight questions that included the following:

-- What are the existing guidelines for measuring, reporting and verifying the developed countries' quantified emission reductions commitments as contained in paragraph 4 of the Accord (which relates to mitigation by developed countries)?

-- In relation to the mitigation actions by developing countries as referred to in paragraph 5 of the Accord where Parties are to indicate their actions in Appendix II by 31 January 2010, Pakistan wanted to know which developing countries are to indicate their mitigation actions. Are all developing countries who wish to associate with the Accord required to do this and does this include both unsupported and actions to be supported (by developed countries)?

-- What would be the nature of international consultation and analysis for non-supported actions? Who will develop the guidelines for the international consultation and analysis? Would it be a domestic process?

(Paragraph 5 of the Accord in this regard states that "non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected.")

-- Given that the measurement, reporting and verification (of the nationally appropriate mitigation actions) in accordance with the Bali Action Plan should also apply to the provision of finance and technology, what is the link between the registry for supported mitigation actions and the financial mechanism of the Convention?

(Paragraph 5 of the Accord also states that "nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support.")

-- It asked if its understanding was correct that the provision of funding and technology would be automatic to support and enable actions that are recorded in the registry.

-- What is meant by "effective and efficient fund arrangements" for channeling the funding on adaptation as mentioned in paragraph 8 of the Accord?

-- Is there any existing definition of "most vulnerable developing country"?

(Paragraph 8 of the Accord states that "Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa.").

-- Since the mobilization of the US$100 billion is in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, does it imply that financing for adaptation actions during this period (2012-2020) will be in addition to the US$100 billion?

(Paragraph 8 of the Accord also states that "In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.")

Pakistan said that the clarification in relation to the above would "enable countries like Pakistan to consider the request to associate with the Accord."

According to press reports from New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has also written a letter to the UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon, objecting to some parts of a letter that the Secretary-General and the Danish Prime Minister had co-written to the heads of government of the 26 countries that had participated in the small meeting in Copenhagen.

The joint letter by Ban Ki-Moon and Rasmussen had contained a paragraph that said that the Accord would be "an essential first-step in a process leading to a robust international climate treaty".

The Indian Prime Minister's response was to reject this premise of the Rasmussen-Ban letter and to stress that this was not the understanding of the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) at Copenhagen.

According to diplomatic sources, the Saudi Arabian government has also written to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary questioning the role of the Secretariat in asking member states to inform the Secretariat if they would "associate" themselves with the Accord.

Since the Accord is not a document produced through a UNFCCC process, Saudi Arabia felt that it would not be appropriate for the Secretariat to take on this role, said the sources.

Cuba has also written a similar letter to the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. +