COP 14 and COP/MOP 4 opened on Monday morning. The opening sessions of SBI 29, SBSTA 29, AWG-LCA 4 and the resumed AWG-KP 6 were held in the afternoon.
COP 13 President Rachmat Witoelar (Indonesia) opened the meeting, describing it as an important “bridge from Bali to Copenhagen.” Delegates then elected Maciej Nowicki, Minister of Environment of Poland, as COP 14 President. He stated that the key goal in Poznań was to articulate a “shared vision.”
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk urged “global solidarity” and said the economic crisis should not dampen countries’ determination to combat climate change.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, said combating climate change was the right choice both from an environmental and economic perspective.
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri highlighted scientific realities and urged consideration of whether limiting temperature rise to 2°C would be sufficient.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer highlighted recent progress and the “assembly paper” from the AWG-LCA Chair summarizing parties’ views.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties agreed to continue applying the draft rules of procedure with the exception of draft rule 42 on voting. Delegates then adopted the COP agenda (FCCC/CP/2008/1 and Add.1) with the item on second review of the adequacy of Article 4.2 (a) and (b) of the Convention being held in abeyance.
On the election of the bureau, President Nowicki said current members would serve until the new bureau is finalized. Delegates agreed to admit the proposed organizations as observers (FCCC/CP/2008/3). President Nowicki will consult informally on voluntary quantitative commitments for Kazakhstan for 2008–2012.
OPENING STATEMENTS: Antigua and Barbuda, for the G-77/CHINA, lamented that the negotiations have not reflected the sense of urgency about climate change and called for progress on the AWG-KP and developed country commitments.
France, for the EU, said the fight against climate change cannot wait for a recovery from the economic recession and stressed that the EU’s goals are clear even if internal debate is taking place on legislation to implement the 20% reduction target for 2020.
Grenada, for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), urged meaningful progress on adaptation and on the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) on non-Annex I communications. He said the AWG-LCA must expedite its work and AWG-KP 6 should agree on emission reduction ranges.
The EU and Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, called for effective work programmes for 2009, and underscored the importance of the Article 9 review for Protocol parties.
The Maldives, for the LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES (LDCs), supported enhancing the financial mechanism under the COP, and highlighted the importance of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) and the need for progress on the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP). Switzerland, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP, highlighted the need to move to negotiating mode and underlined Switzerland’s proposal on financing. Algeria, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said the financial crisis should not delay action and welcomed efforts to improve distribution of CDM projects.
COP President Nowicki opened COP/MOP 4. Delegates adopted the COP/MOP agenda (FCCC/KP/CMP/2008/1) and approved the proposed organization of work.
AWG-LCA Chair Luiz Machado (Brazil) opened the session, and delegates adopted the agenda (FCCC/AWGLCA/2008/14).
LONG-TERM COOPERATIVE ACTION: Chair Machado highlighted the assembly document on ideas and proposals on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan, as well as submissions from parties and intergovernmental organizations (FCCC/AWGLCA/2008/16, MISC.5 and Add.1, and MISC.6). The Secretariat also introduced other relevant documents (FCCC/TP/2008/7-9 and FCCC/AWGLCA/2008/INF.2).
Chair Machado proposed four contact groups on a shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, and technology and financing (including institutional arrangements). A lengthy debate ensued on the merits of establishing a contact group on a shared vision. ALGERIA, with SAUDI ARABIA, BOLIVIA, CHINA, MALAYSIA and EGYPT, opposed this as being premature. However, JAPAN, COSTA RICA, PANAMA, COLOMBIA, BARBADOS, the EU, GHANA and AUSTRALIA supported the contact group. After informal consultations, delegates agreed to establish all four contact groups, with only one session scheduled for the shared vision group.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The G-77/CHINA stressed its proposals on financing and technology, and the need to organize the AWG-LCA’s work in a manner that allows for effective participation. The UMBRELLA GROUP highlighted the need to move to full negotiation mode and discuss legal issues in 2009. Barbados, for AOSIS, called for serious negotiations and a focused work programme with concrete milestones. The EU stressed synergies between the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP and the importance of a shared vision as a statement of political will that translates the Convention’s ultimate objective into a vision of sustainable development. The AFRICAN GROUP stressed that a shared vision also involves sustainable development and adaptation, and called for upscaled funding and attention to climate change-related migration. The LDCs said a shared vision should involve global targets and stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at 350 ppm.
WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2009: Chair Machado noted that the issue of convening an additional session in 2009 would have to be decided in Poznań. He requested Vice-Chair Michael Zammit Cutajar (Malta) to continue informal consultations.
AWG-KP Chair Harald Dovland (Norway) reconvened AWG-KP 6, proposing to hold a strategic discussion in Poznań on the broader picture and to consider all elements of the work programme simultaneously. Delegates agreed to the organization of work (FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/6-7).
OPENING STATEMENTS: The G-77/CHINA expressed concern over slow progress and said conclusions on several agenda items should be adopted in Poznań. Tuvalu, for AOSIS, said the AWG-KP should establish emission reduction ranges, distribute responsibility, and apply simplicity and continuity to means and methodologies. The AFRICAN GROUP urged assessing the impact of mitigation measures on Africa, LDCs and SIDS.
The EU called for a global and comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen that builds on and broadens the architecture of the Kyoto Protocol. She expressed readiness to move to full negotiation mode while noting the need to maintain flexibility in planning work.
The UMBRELLA GROUP stressed critically relevant work on the AWG-LCA, the Article 9 review and REDD, and proposed joint sessions for the two AWGs.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION called for an international methodology to measure and analyze the impacts of mitigation measures. INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE opposed the CDM as a violation of indigenous peoples’ rights.
ANALYSIS OF MEANS TO REACH EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS: Delegates agreed to hold informal consultations on the flexible mechanisms, co-chaired by Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica) and Nuno Lacasta (Portugal), and on LULUCF, co-chaired by Bryan Smith (New Zealand) and Marcelo Rocha (Brazil).
SPILLOVER EFFECTS: SAUDI ARABIA said Protocol Articles 2.3 and 3.14 (adverse effects) should govern future actions, and that the AWG-KP should address possible funding, insurance and technology transfer arrangements to minimize adverse impacts on developing countries.
The EU, supported by BRAZIL, stressed that both positive and negative consequences should be considered. ARGENTINA and BRAZIL said mitigation measures should be compatible with WTO rules. BRAZIL also raised concerns about the robustness of the science on indirect effects of biofuels production. NEW ZEALAND highlighted, inter alia, effects on food production and competitiveness and noted that the outcome of the WTO Doha Round could have significant effects on climate change issues.
A contact group was established, co-chaired by Jennifer Kerr (Canada) and Kamel Djemouai (Algeria).
Delegates adopted the SBI agenda (FCCC/SBI/2008/9) with the item on information contained in non-Annex I national communications held in abeyance.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The G-77/CHINA said the Adaptation Fund must be fully operationalized with sufficient and predictable resources, and stressed the principle of direct access. She welcomed work on implications of response measures and urged reinstating the CGE.
The EU highlighted progress on technology transfer under the SBI and SBSTA. The UMBRELLA GROUP emphasized agenda items on national communications and guidance to the GEF.
The Bahamas, for AOSIS, called for enhancing a supporting framework for national communications, and a capacity building framework. The AFRICAN GROUP urged greater predictability of financial resources.
The LDCs supported a faster process for implementation of NAPA projects and called for adequate and predictable funding for non-Annex I communications. He said the GEF replenishment should be increased and LDCs should have access to the Adaptation Fund.
NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AND GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY DATA FROM ANNEX I PARTIES: The SBI noted information on these issues (FCCC/SBI/2008/12, Corr.1 and FCCC/SBI/2008/INF.7).
The SBSTA adopted its provisional agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/7).
OPENING STATEMENTS: Belize, for AOSIS, underlined the need to discuss risk assessment and management. The G-77/CHINA stressed capacity building and demonstration projects on technology transfer. The LDCs said the NWP should be advanced through accumulation of practical experience. The EU called for the continuation of the NWP, constructive work on REDD and consideration of technology transfer issues with the SBI. The AFRICAN GROUP expressed hope that the EGTT’s activities would accelerate technology transfer to Africa. The UMBRELLA GROUP called for progress on methodological aspects of carbon capture and storage.
NAIROBI WORK PROGRAMME: SBSTA Chair Helen Plume (New Zealand) reported on the implementation of the NWP and relevant technical papers (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/9, 10, 12, INF.5, FCCC/TP/2008/3-4). UNEP described progress made on a global adaptation network to support the NWP and the CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY described the preliminary findings of the Ad hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change.
The WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION highlighted its Third World Climate Conference to be held in August 2009. PANAMA, supported by CHINA and INDIA, proposed an expert group on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation. JAPAN said an expert group was not yet necessary. A contact group will be co-chaired by Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Don Lemmen (Canada).
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: EGTT Chair Jukka Uosukainen (Finland) reported on the EGTT’s work (FCCC/SB/2008/INF.5-8). He highlighted the preliminary findings on performance indicators and the strategy paper on long-term perspectives.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates were voicing a range of hopes, fears and expectations on the opening day of the Poznań conference. Many recognized that the meeting was a halfway point on the road from Bali to Copenhagen, meaning that few concrete outcomes could be expected. However, there was also a sense that some forward momentum would be needed. “Focus” and “urgency” were two commonly-used words, with many hoping for signs of progress in the AWG-KP talks on the “big picture” and in the AWG-LCA’s discussions on the “assembly paper” and a shared vision.
Many delegates in the AWG-LCA opening session on Monday afternoon seemed singularly unimpressed by the dispute over whether to form a contact group to discuss a shared vision. “I thought we had agreed on this already,” said one. “Can you believe that there was no shared vision on forming a contact group on shared vision?” asked another. However, several participants observed that the issue is already set to be discussed in a workshop and ministerial roundtable, asking whether it needed a contact group just yet.
The heavy agenda and multiple formal groups meeting in Poznań were also weighing on some delegates’ minds. “I’m not ruling out a successful meeting, but it won't be easy with six formal bodies taking place here,” said one observer.