Negotiation News

2012 UNFCCC Sessions

27 Nov - 7 Dec 2012 | Doha, Qatar | COP 18 / CMP 8 | SBI 37 / SBSTA 37 | AWG-KP 17-2 | AWG-LCA 15-2 | ADP 1-2

Over two weeks starting 26 November, the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 8) were hosted by the Government of Qatar in the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha. The 9,000 participants included government representatives, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples and the media. The negotiations lasted an entire extra day before Parties finally adopted a package of decisions called the Doha Climate Gateway.

Two of the most important achievements of the Doha Climate Gateway are the formal adoption of the second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol to cover the 8 years from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020, and continued momentum toward a new legally binding agreement for 2020.

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New UNDP publication available!

Taking Stock of Durban: Review of Key Outcomes and the Road Ahead

 

The Durban Climate Conference in December 2011 represented a significant step forward for the United Nations climate change process. Although its outcomes continue to be debated, the Durban Conference could prove to be a game-changing conference for the climate negotiations. Governments adopted a comprehensive package of decisions—including an agreement to initiate a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and the "Durban Platform" to negotiate a long-term, all inclusive future mitigation regime that includes a process to address the "ambition gap" for stabilizing average global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. They also adopted a range of decisions designed to implement the 2010 Cancun Agreements, including launching a new Green Climate Fund and developing stronger requirements for the reporting and review of countries' mitigation efforts. Read more

Taking stock of DurbanCover FRCover SP 

2012 UNFCCC sessions

30 Aug - 5 Sep 2012 | Bangkok, Thailand | AWG-KP 17 - informal | AWG-LCA 15 - informal | ADP 1 - informal

Additional informal sessions were held in Bangkok to assist Parties in furthering the negotiations prior to COP18, which takes place in Doha, Qatar, from 26 November to 7 December 2012.

Governments gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for an informal session of the UNFCCC negotiations from 30 August - 5 September, 2012. The meeting was the first major meeting since the UNFCCC inter-sessional in Bonn, Germany held in May 2012. The Bangkok meeting was organised, primarily with the support of the Government of Qatar, as an informal session without the normal Secretariat services of interpretation and documentation preparation. As a result of this informal status no formal decisions were taken at the meeting in Bangkok butit was an important opportunity for parties to exchange views on the elements required for a successful outcome at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) and 8th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) to be held November-December 2012 in Doha, Qatar.

Informal meetings for three negotiating bodies were held in Bangkok, including the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments fo rAnnex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and a session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

Over 1600 participants came to Bangkok, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples and the media. Without the formal structures of the regular negotiations, teh oranisation of the work in Bangkok took on a more relaxed, but not less serious tone as parties grappled with the numerous outstanding issues that require resolution in Doha.

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14 - 25 May 2012 | Bonn, Germany | AWG-KP 17/AWG-LCA 15 | SBI 36/SBSTA 36 | ADP 1

Governments gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the UNFCCC climate talks from 14 – 25 May, 2012. The meeting was the first negotiating session since a last-minute deal was struck in the final hours of the Durban Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 and Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) last year. Five bodies convened, including the 36th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the 15th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), and the 17th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). Bonn also hosted the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

Numerous meetings also occurred on the margins of the session, including the first Durban Forum on Capacity Building and five workshops that addressed equitable access to sustainable development, clarification of developed country quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets, nationally-appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries, various approaches, market-based mechanisms and increasing the level of ambition. Over 3,000 participants came to Bonn, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples and the media.

With five negotiating tracks meeting simultaneously, parties faced a specific challenge – the organization of work. The last three years of negotiations have established numerous new bodies, mechanisms, committees and other means to discuss and implement activities to address climate change. In Bonn, negotiators needed to organize the massive landscape of overlapping groups to ensure that issues were thoroughly addressed without being weighed down by duplicative or conflicting workstreams. For example, currently adaptation is discussed though several tracks: National Adaptation Plans and Loss and Damage under the SBI, Nairobi Work Programme under SBSTA, Adaptation Committee under the Convention and the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol. Throughout the two weeks, negotiators worked to clarify the various workstreams on adaptation and other topics to avoid confusion and delays. While the organizational issues seem mundane, the decisions on the agenda and chairs will frame deep substantive discussions for years to come.

UNDP side event: Using national investment & financial flows analyses to support climate-finance readiness

UNDP was allocated one official side event during the Bonn sessions (agenda). The opportunity was used to present the results from the Environment & Energy Group's global project, 'Capacity Development for Policy Makers to Address Climate Change'. Under this project, 15 developing countries undertook assessments of investment & financial flows (I&FF) needed to implement priority mitigation and adaptation options Susanne Olbrisch presented UNDP's methodological on I&FF assessments, and representatives from The Gambia and Liberia shared their experiences on how the I&FF work was feeding into broader national development strategies and planning, and laying the groundwork for preparedness for the Green Climate Fund (presentations). Around 50 people attended the event, which was facilitated by Rebecca Carman.

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2011 UNFCCC sessions

29 November - 9 December 2011 | Durban, South Africa | COP 17/CMP 7, SBI 35/SBSTA 35, AWG-KP 16-4/AWG-LCA 14-4

Governments gathered in Durban, South Africa for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference from 28 November – 9 December 2011. Six negotiating tracks were convened: (1) the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17), (2) the 7th Meeting of the Parties for the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 7), (3) the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI) and (4) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), as well as the two Ad-Hoc Working Groups on (5) Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and (6) Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). Over 20,000 participants came to Durban, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples and the media.

The conference took place as the global community faces substantial challenges – economic, political, and social. Climate change conferences in recent years have had impacts beyond the issues under negotiation and the outcome of Durban is no exception. The agreement will help to lay the groundwork for how countries, large and small, deal with the opportunities and challenges of transitioning their economies toward low-emission and climate-resilient development. The way forward that Durban has established will no doubt have impacts on processes such as Rio+20 and other regional and global efforts to bring greater sustainability and stability to the international scene.

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1 - 7 October 2011 | Panama City, Panama | AWG-KP 16-3/AWG-LCA 14-3

In the last meeting before the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Durban, parties met in Panama City from 1 – 7 October, 2011. Two negotiating bodies were convened, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA). Over 1,800 participants came to Panama City, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector and the media.

With COP 17/CMP 7 only seven weeks away, parties spent the Panama session further clarifying their negotiating positions and outlining their expectations for the Durban conference. The discussions centred around two issues: how to establish the mechanisms agreed upon in the Cancun Agreements, such as the Adaptation Framework, Technology Mechanism and REDD+, and political issues, such as the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and long-term finance.

In Panama, Parties shared their priorities, in terms of what should be included in a package in Durban. Developed countries were clear that any comprehensive agreement should contain emissions reductions by all major economies. They stated that the "1992 world" was no longer a sufficient way to address greenhouse gas emissions and that mitigation pledges and actions by both developed and developing countries are necessary. Developing countries, however, emphasized that developed countries must increase their ambition and provide technical, financial and capacity building support across all the areas of the Cancun Agreements.

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6 - 17 June 2011 | Bonn, Germany | SBI 34/SBSTA 34, AWG-KP 16-2/AWG-LCA 14-2

The first full negotiating session under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since the adoption of the Cancun Agreements last December took place earlier this month. The four main negotiating bodies were convened, including the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG‐KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long‐term Cooperative Action (AWG‐LCA), as well as the two permanent Subsidiary Bodies of UNFCCC – the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Technical and Scientific Advice (SBSTA). Informal workshops were held addressing observer participation, research, and mitigation in developed and developing countries. Over 3,500 participants came to Bonn, representing governments, intergovernmental and non‐governmental organizations, academia, the private sector and the media.

After little progress in the April Bangkok session, many parties were anxious to move forward in June. The hard‐fought battle over the AWG agendas in Bangkok allowed the AWG‐LCA and the AWG‐KP to move into smaller negotiating groups quickly in Bonn. The Subsidiary Bodies, however, which were meeting for the first time since Cancun, repeated the experience of the AWGs in Bangkok and stalled for much of the first week over their respective agendas. Parties disagreed on agenda items passed to the Subsidiary Bodies from the Cancun Agreements (e.g., monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)), as well as new items proposed by parties since the Bangkok negotiations, notably the impacts of climate change on water and agriculture. The impact of response measures also was debated, with parties agreeing to hold an SBI/SBSTA joint forum on the topic.

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3 - 8 April 2011 | Bangkok, Thailand | AWG-KP 16/AWG-LCA 14

Governments reconvened in Bangkok, Thailand, for the ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. This session was the first meeting of the AWGs after the Cancun Agreements were adopted at COP 16/CMP 6 in Cancun, Mexico. In the three days before the official negotiations, parties participated in three one-day workshops mandated by the Cancun Agreements. The workshops addressed 1) developed country mitigation pledges, 2) developing country nationallyappropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and 3) the Technology Mechanism under the Convention. In a collaborative and open exchange, parties presented their activities and views on the different topics.

Within the main negotiating body under the Convention, many governments came away from Bangkok expressing a sense of frustration with the progress made at the session. Negotiations under the Convention stalled over what the agenda and focus of work should be in 2011—between taking forward the implementation elements of the Cancun Agreements (such as the NAMA registry and Adaptation Framework) and going back to the Bali Action Plan to address those issues that Cancun failed to resolve (such as work toward a legal treaty under the Convention).

Most developed country parties stated that the agenda should be based on the elements of the Cancun Agreements and provide a structure for discussing the implementation arrangements of the mechanisms established at COP 16/CMP 6. The G77 and China argued that an agenda based on the Cancun Agreements would be incomplete and should instead include the elements of the Bali Action Plan that were not addressed in the Cancun Agreements. The result of these discussions was that negotiations in 2011 will progress with a combination of both implementation of the Cancun Agreements as well as work on those issues not resolved in Cancun.

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2011 Transitional Committee for the Design of the Green Climate Fund sessions

 

16 - 18 October 2011 | Cape Town, South Africa | TC4

The Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) met for its fourth and final meeting on 16-18 October 2011 in Cape Town (TC4). The meeting followed three initial meetings of the TC already held in 2011 as well as technical workshops. The TC is made up of 40 representatives of governments (25 developing and 15 developed countries) and is tasked with presenting operational documents on the GCF to the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban in December 2011.

Governments arrived in Cape Town with a tall order: to forge consensus on both technical and political elements of the GCF. While there was some consensus on technical issues, TC4 did not deliver at a political level. Under its mandate from Cancun, the TC had been working toward a 5-10 page governing instrument for the GCF, accompanied by a list of recommendations for setting up the Fund, which could be adopted by consensus among its members and then forwarded to COP17 for adoption. While the meeting did produce this document—with very few areas of divergence at the technical level at the very end—TC4 did not adopt the document by consensus. Instead, the Committee's report states that it considered the document and forwards it to the COP for consideration and adoption. In essence this means that COP17 will have to debate the GCF governing instrument without the comfort of knowing it was endorsed by the TC.

This political failure was largely a result of opposition from the USA and Saudi Arabia. In the final hours of TC4, the Co-Chairs presented the document to the Committee for consideration. The vast majority of members (all bar two) reflected that the proposal was a solid compromise document and a good foundation for the operationlisation of the GCF. However, the USA voiced concerns about the close relationship between the GCF and the COP proposed in the Co-Chairs' document, as well as that the GCF needed to be part of a "balanced outcome" in Durban and therefore not wanting to prejudge the COP negotiations by endorsing it in Cape Town. Essentially, this indicates that the USA wishes to retain the GCF as a bargaining chip in Durban, rather than pre-agreeing and endorsing it at TC4. Many other TC members were disappointed by this outcome and voiced so on the floor.

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11 - 13 September 2011 | Geneva, Switzerland | TC3

The Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) met for its third meeting on 11-13 September 2011 in Geneva (TC2). The meeting followed two initial meetings of the TC already held in 2011 as well as a technical workshop. The TC is made up of 40 representatives of governments (25 developing and 15 developed countries) and is tasked with presenting operational documents on the GCF to the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban in December 2011.

In advance of TC3, the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the committee produced an initial outline of the final “GCF Instrument” that could be endorsed by COP17. This outline did not contain operational material and so the purpose of TC3 was to begin to populate this document, while also agreeing on next steps given the short time before the COP in December.

Many delegates came away from TC3 surprised by the amount of progress made at the meeting. Only a small amount of time was devoted to procedural issues surrounding the TC process. Instead there were rich exchanges of views on substantive design issues. Moreover, toward the end of the meeting the Co-Chairs, Vice-Chairs, and Co-Facilitators were able to table an initial draft document with substantive material plugged into the various sections of the outline they circulated before the meeting. The TC agreed that these officers of the TC should continue to build on this and bring a full draft text to TC4.

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12 - 14 July 2011 | Tokyo, Japan | TC2

The Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) met for its second meeting on 13-14 July 2011 at the UNU in Tokyo (TC2). The meeting followed the first TC meeting held in Mexico City in April 2011, and a technical workshop held in Bonn in June 2011. The TC is made up of 40 representatives of governments (25 developing and 15 developed countries) and is tasked with presenting operational  documents to the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban in December 2011.

Many delegates came away from TC2 with a more positive spirit than earlier meetings of the TC, perhaps due to positive impressions about the skilful chairing. The meeting was mainly a tabling of options and members listening to each other's positions, leaving focussed negotiations on key issues to TC3 and TC4.

A wide range of procedural and technical issues (briefly outlined below) were addressed at the meeting. Perhaps most significantly, TC2 set in motion an agreed process for the development of a single framework document or "instrument" for the GCF for adoption in Durban. In its remaining meetings the TC will now focus on developing this short (20-25 page) document. It will also develop a mandate for the future GCF Board to flesh out the finer details of the Fund.

The day immediately before TC2, a workshop was held on lessons learned from existing funds and institutions. While the workshop was a useful exchange of information on these funds, there was not a significant transfer of this into discussion at the actual TC meeting, and the funds that presented largely remained as descriptions of existing practices. The GEF and IDA presentations were of particular interest for UNDP and are available at http://unfccc.int/cancun_agreements/green_climate_fund/items/5855.php.

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28 - 29 April 2011 | Mexico City, Mexico | TC1

In accordance with the Cancun Agreements, representatives of 40 governments convened in Mexico City from 28-29 April 2011 for the first meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC) for the design of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As decided in the Cancun Agreements, the mandate of the TC is to design the GCF with a view to providing operational documents for adoption to the 17th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa, in December 2011.

The 40-member committee is comprised of 25 developing country and 15 developed country members. Observers from civil society, academia, and intergovernmental organizations are also able to sit in on open meetings of the TC (see Annex 1 for membership list). The selection of the countries to represent the different regional groupings significantly overran the January 31 deadline and often involved difficult regional consultations and compromises between countries. As a result of this delay, only seven months remain for the committee to do its work prior to Durban.

Prior to the formal opening of the meeting, governments held consultations in Mexico City on the nomination of a Chair/Co-Chairs for the TC. These consultations resulted in the election of Mr. Ernesto Cordero (Minister of Finance, Mexico), Mr. Trevor Manuel (Minister in the Presidency, South Africa), and Mr. Kjetil Lund (Vice-minister of Finance, Norway) as co-chairs. This was despite Mr. Manuel not being present at the meeting itself. Mr. Cordero and Mr. Lund alternated in the chairing of sessions at the meeting, in consultation with Mr. Manuel. In addition, at the end of the meeting, developing countries supported the proposal for the addition of a Vice-Chair from the Asia region—a proposal that will be considered at the next meeting.

Download the UNDP summary in English.