The mood of the negotiations was already set by the fifth day. The two hot topics of the COP agenda, post-2012 commitments and the adaptation fund. Most felt that this year’s climate change meeting would see the beginning of setting the modalities and structure of the adaptation fund and also the initial debate of the post 2012 commitment period.
For a backgrounder on the negotiations read our previous post here
For factsheets on climate change and the negotiations click here
When asked about the US position, many participants mentioned the US mid-term elections with a change in leadership of both houses of parliament expectations have been raised among the climate policy community. The only people not talking about this was the US, there has been no change in their stance. The United States is not party to the Kyoto Protocol, and is therefore not subject to mandatory green house gas emission reduction commitments. The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012. The big agenda item for the conference is getting the US and Australia on board.
The Group of 77 (G77), the largest bloc representing developing countries has put up a united front where the adaptation fund is concerned. Most G77 countries have supported the Philippines proposal of having the operational entity of the adaptation fund accountable to the COP/MOP’s authority.
The Philippines, for the G-77/CHINA, said the fund’s principles, governance structure and modalities should be agreed before deciding on institutional arrangements, and stressed that the fund should be accountable to the COP/MOP. Tuvalu, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States(AOSIS), welcomed discussion on the fund’s modalities and emphasised full cost funding for adaptation projects to assist the most vulnerable developing countries.
Bangladesh, for the Least Developed Countries (LDC), the group who will bear the biggest cost of climate change said the fund should be managed by an executive body such as the CDM Executive Board with regional representatives including LDCs.
Japan, Norway and Switzerland said the GEF is best placed to manage the Fund. The EU urged further consideration of the Fund’s governance structure and early start.
Read ‘Miscalculation’ [Down To Earth – April 30, 2006] for more on some of the controversy surrounding GEF.
According to some delegates, during this year’s COP, the adaptation fund’s operational entity has now caused a rift among the developed and developing countries. Most developed countries want GEF to become the operational entity. The developing countries oppose this idea, stating that GEF performance in the past has not been appropriate and if it is made the operational entity they may never see the funds.
The Russian proposal on voluntary commitments met staunch opposition from the G-77/China in plenary, even though some suggested that a number of developing countries may privately be somewhat sympathetic
European Union (EU)
The EU delegates seem to be keeping a low profile so far; indicating that there is no change in their stated position and it is same as it was in the previous climate change meetings. However, some participants observed that there is always a difference in the stated and political positions.
The difference between the stated and political position would be clear when the high level segment begins next week. All the participants are now eagerly waiting for this segment, where the real action lies.
Managing director, Oxford Climate Policy
“The developed nations would not like to talk about eligibility of who gets the adaptation fund and the institutions that are going to implement it. The only positive thing is that G77 has a united position where the entire issue is concerned. This is very impressive. India is also lending support to G77 for this, though in a subtle manner. As for the post 2012 commitment period, everybody is hopeful. I was talking to the COP president and he said that he is optimistic where the US stand is concerned. UK also thinks that there is still a way to get the US on board. The most funniest thing that has happened during this COP was a workshop of the developed countries with IPCC where they discussed the basics of climate change.”
Scientific Adviser, Caribbean community, Climate Change Centre, Belize
“The last week saw a whole lot of meetings that set the basis of the next week’s action. The convention has always been heavily sided towards mitigation. But the developing countries need adaptation also. This issue is now being taken up and this year’s meeting is an indication of that. We should be starting the adaptation fund as soon as possible. Africa is asking for a special adaptation fund, but this to many seems an impossibility. The main constrain to the adaptation fund is the resources. Linking it to CDM is a good idea, but how much funds would it generate?
Moreover, it should not be linked to the ODA(Overseas Development Aid). Then there is a big concern about its management. We would like a simple mechanism adopted where this fund is concerned rather a complex one that involves organisations like GEF.”
Brent M Swallow
Leader of environmental services theme,
World Agro forestry Centre, Nairobi
“This COP is seeing a lot of talk on agroforestry but no substantial results seem to be coming out especially in the context of its use in the clean development mechanism. There are still lot of procedural modalities that need to be worked out. However, steps should be taken to resolve the bottlenecks as CDM benefits can make agro forestry profitable.”
“The conference is a major event, and reaching a decision is not easy. The European Union is resolute in it’s the maintenance of the current system. But its expansion means reaching a unanimous decision and making internal policy changes are difficult tasks. The US remains unwilling to change its hard line stance. At the beginning of the Nairobi conference, the US representative advised that while Bush remains in power, the US’ position on the Kyoto Protocol will not change.”