UNFCCC Parties Agree on Negotiating Text for 2015 Agreement

View of the dais at the opening plenary
View of the dais at the opening plenary

By Theophilus Ikpome

At the eighth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-8), delegates agreed on a text that will serve as the basis for negotiating a new climate change agreement. This new agreement is anticipated to be adopted at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015.

Held from 8-13 February 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, the ADP meeting focused primarily on workstream 1 of its mandate: developing the text for “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 by 2020. At the Lima Climate Change Conference in December 2014, the Conference of the Parties (COP) requested the ADP to intensify its work, with a view to delivering a negotiating text by May 2015.

For the majority of their work at the Geneva Climate Change Conference, negotiators met in a contact group format. The ADP contact group focused the first three days of its work on adding proposals to the draft elements text, which had been annexed to the Lima Call for Climate Action. Originally 39 pages, the elements text grew to 86 pages after all parties’ proposals had been incorporated.

As many parties felt more time was needed to fully understand and contemplate the large number of new proposals presented, the Group was hesitant to begin work on making the text more concise, though some parties had hoped to achieve more progress on streamlining. Discussions then turned to the structure of the agreement, market and non-market mechanisms, and “cycles,” i.e. the timeframes to be used within the agreement. At its next meeting, ADP 2-9, scheduled to take place from 1-11 June 2015 in Bonn, Germany, parties will resume work on streamlining and start substantive negotiations.

On Friday morning, parties discussed the best way to approach the ADP’s work in Bonn, and ADP Co-Chairs Daniel Reifsnyder and Ahmed Djoghlaf indicated that they would release a scenario note in advance of the session. In the afternoon, parties re-convened in plenary and officially agreed to the “Geneva text,” which will be edited, translated and communicated to parties in the first quarter of 2015. It was also announced that two additional ADP meetings, both to be held in Bonn, will take place in advance of the Paris Climate Change Conference: from 31 August – 4 September 2015; and from 19-23 October 2015.

During the week, parties also discussed workstream 2, enhancing pre-2020 ambition. On Tuesday, a session on the technical examination process (TEP) demonstrated parties’ eagerness to move into an implementation phase, where the knowledge gained from the relevant institutions can be translated into policy changes and progress on the ground. Many parties put forward suggestions for future technical expert meetings (TEMs), and ideas for formalizing the collaboration of relevant institutions, such as a dedicated task force or liaison group, were floated. ADP’s mandate includes recommending to COP 21 how to move forward with the TEP.

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