AWG-LCA plenary

Delegates during the AWG-LCA plenary (Source: IISD)

Week two of the negotiations in Durban began with the AWG-LCA plenary meeting Monday morning to explore the “amalgamation document” proposed by Chair Reifsnyder. Numerous contact groups and informal consultations followed on various topics such as the voting process, CDM, finance, market approaches, adaptation and funding, where they considered draft decisions texts.

During the AWG-LCA plenary, Reifsnyder noted that delegates must determine how they are to manage those issues that are unlikely to reach an agreement.  Party delegates made statements and expressed their thoughts and concerns about the proposed document. A new amalgamation document will be issued on Wednesday.

The second wave of participants attending the last week of the conference sent a fresh burst of energy that was felt throughout the venue. Dialogue intensity increased but was still out of sync due to differing priorities in regards to mitigation or adaptation response measures. However with countries such as China and Brazil beginning to outline their conditions for participation in a legally binding climate agreement, the road to a positive outcome is hopefully being laid. 


High Level segment kicks off

UN Secretary General BAN Ki-Moon, COP President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and South African President Jacob Zuma. (Source: IISD)

Tuesday marked a shift in pace for the negotiations as heads of government and Ministers arrived for the start of the Joint High- Level Segment of COP- 17 and CMP- 7.  COP president Nkoana- Mashabane opened the secession.  In the afternoon heads of states and government, regional representatives, and international organizations addressed delegates.  Contact groups and informal consultations met through out the day and into the night with the aim of reaching core elements and draft decisions to support the political negotiations of ministers.  Discussions focused on several issues, including the CDM, the Adaptation Fund, LULUCF, REDD+, finance, response measures, legal options, sectoral approaches, market approaches, adaptation and the Review.

Adaptation and Finance were described as critical issues throughout the day.  Considering national adaptation plans, delegates discussed whether the Secretariat should establish a database.  Many developing countries supported the idea, while a number of developed countries raised concerns about the cost.    Delegates considered two newly revised CMP decision texts on the Report of the Adaptation Fund Board and Review of the Adaptation FundAlso discussed was the composition of the Adaptation Committee.

Later in the day the COP Presidency also announced that they would now elevate the Indaba meetings to ministerial level.  In the evening, the UNFCCC Secretariat launched “Momentum for Change,” a new initiative celebrating adaptation and mitigation success stories.

Statements made at the opening of the High-Level Segment


UN Secretary-General press briefing – 6 Dec 2011

The Prime Minister of Norway, UN Secretary General, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia

The Prime Minister of Norway, UN Secretary General, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia during the high-level segment (Source: IISD)

Throughout the day on Wednesday, national ministers and representatives addressed UN delegates in a joint high-level segment.  The AWG-LCA contact group received a new amalgamation text for discussion and consideration. In addition, contact groups and informal consultations met throughout the day and into the night on several issues, including the CDM, adaptation, the Adaptation Fund, finance, technology transfer, and Annex I emissions reductions, amongst others.

The high-level segment continued throughout the day and into the night, without yielding many solid results. However, the contact groups and informal consultations moved forward some of the major issues. 

AWG-LCA Chair Daniel Reifsneyder presented his brief summary of issues to be presented to ministers for decision (FCCC/AWGLCA/2011/CRP.38).  Following little movement in the contact group on the amalgamation document, Reifsnyder suggested that ministerial input may be required to take forward discussions.  There was also suggestion of a work programme on common accounting rules, drawing from the on-going work on clarifying the pledges.

The amalgamation document addresses four areas for mitigation by developing countries: level of ambition; biennial update reports; ICA; and the Registry, noting more work is needed on all areas.  Reifsynyder noted that REDD+ finance and technology transfer needs continued work in informal groups.  Though, there was advancement on the Adaptation Committee.  It was duly noted that the issue of legal options will be taken up by the Indaba process.

The contact group on Annex I further commitments focused on two issues: 1) the transformation of pledges into QELROs; and options for addressing surplus, and 2) carry-over of AAUs.  On the LULUCF, co-facilitator Rocha (Brazil) reported that parties have resolved technical issues on flexible land-use and natural disturbances.  Additionally, for forest management, the text is clearer and an option on baselines, as proposed by the African Group was incorporated. On behalf of AOSIS, Saint Lucia, supported by Papua New Guinea, called for an AWG-KP output that has ratifiable amendments to the Kyoto Protocol; its Annex B will be applied provisionally. Finally, Bolivia highlighted the need to increase ambition levels through political will. 

By the end of the day, The EU as a bloc noted progress in all areas and made a clear offer to uphold a second commitment period that is ratifiable.

G-77/China delegates

G-77/China delegates consult on capacity building (Source: IISD)

On Thursday, the high-level segment continued as ministers and their representatives addressed delegates.  In the president’s informal Stocktaking plenary, AWG-KP Chair Macey said that while political guidance will be needed to reach conclusions, further technical progress could be made.

Contact groups and informal consultations met throughout the day, with most continuing into the night to finalize draft decisions on several key issues, including Annex I emissions reductions, mitigation, Kyoto Protocol amendments, the CDM, the Adaptation Fund, finance, response measures, sectoral approaches, market and non-market approaches, national adaptation plans, technology transfer and capacity building.

With the final day of negotiations approaching, ministers had a flurry of bilateral meetings, followed by a political Indaba that went into the night.  COP President posted iterations of the “big picture” papers.  In the corridors, some observers scanned updates of the Indaba papers, including options for the future of the Kyoto Protocol; some delegates despaired that complexity was taking over and an ambitious outcome would be impossible in the time remaining.  On a more positive note, one relieved delegate said “we are finally making progress on the GCF.” 


Materials made available at the Ministrial Indaba on 8 December:

Youth delegates occupy COP 17

Youth delegates occupy COP 17, calling for a strong outcome in Durban (Source: IISD)

On Friday, the COP President presented the draft decision text for the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP at a ministerial Indaba. Informal consultations continued to take place on the issues of national adaptation plans, the Clean Development Mechanism, and response measures. Closing plenaries began for the COP and the COP/MOP to adopt decisions by the SBSTA and SBI. However, the plenaries were temporarily suspended pending ongoing negotiations. The plenary was scheduled to reconvene on Saturday morning. The Indaba continued to meet until 4 AM to work through unresolved issues.

In other news, the Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, was removed from the COP17 conference centre and banned from re-entering the building following two hours of protesting with other Greenpeace activists. Naidoo had his UN accreditation badge removed and was escorted from the premises. Several Greenpeace activists had been arrested earlier in the day for attempting to climb off of a building to hang a banner saying “Listen to the people, not the polluters”, suggesting that the climate negotiations were being held hostage by a handful of large polluting organizations serving on delegations. The banner hanging was one of many actions staged over recent days by environmental groups attempting to call on leaders to agree to a just deal at COP17.

 Materials made available at first Indaba:

Materials made available at midnight Indaba: