The fifth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 5) and the seventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG-KP 7) begin today and will continue until Wednesday, 8 April 2009 in Bonn, Germany.
At its fifth meeting, the AWG-LCA is expected to concentrate on a note prepared by the AWG-LCA Chair to focus the negotiation process on the fulfillment of the Bali Action Plan and on the components of the agreed outcome (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/4, Parts I and II). The AWG-LCA will also convene three in-session workshops on sub-paragraphs 1(b) i and ii of the Bali Action Plan (mitigation by developed and developing countries), response measures, and mitigation in the agricultural sector.
At its seventh session, the AWG-KP will seek to adopt conclusions on the aggregate scale of emission reductions by Annex I parties beyond 2012, and reach conclusions on a draft amendment text related to further commitments. The AWG-KP is also expected to take up all issues identified for consideration in 2009 in paragraph 49 of its conclusions from the sixth session (FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/8). Issues in paragraph 49 include: aggregate scale of Annex I parties’ emission reductions; parties’ individual or joint contributions to the aggregate scale; mitigation potential; flexibility mechanisms; land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); greenhouse gases, sectors and sources; potential consequences of tools, policies, measures and methodologies; aviation and maritime bunker fuels; and legal matters. The agenda also includes a workshop on the scale of emission reductions (which took place in Bonn on Friday, 27 March) and a workshop on potential consequences.
PRESENTATION OF THE CHAIRS’ TEXTS: On Friday, 27 March, the AWG-LCA Chair Michael Zammit Cutajar (Malta) presented his document on the fulfillment of the Bali Action Plan and components of the agreed outcome (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/4, Parts I and II). AWG-KP Chair Harald Dovland (Norway) presented his notes on the flexibility mechanisms (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/INF.2), LULUCF (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/INF.1), amendments pursuant to Protocol
Article 3.9 (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/3) and elements of text related to issues in paragraph 49 (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/4).
AWG-KP EVENTS: On Thursday, 26 March, the AWG-KP held in-depth consultations on emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms, and on LULUCF.
On Friday, 27 March, the AWG-KP convened a workshop on the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I parties. The objective was to discuss informally issues related to Annex I parties’ further commitments, including quantitative emission reduction to be achieved and limitation objectives (QUELROs). The workshop focused on issues such as the identification of the aggregate scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I parties; joint and individual contributions to the aggregate scale; and implications of issues such as the duration of commitment periods.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 192 parties. In December 1997, delegates at the third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission reduction targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005, and now has 184 parties.
The first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 1) met in Montreal, Canada in 2005, and established the AWG-KP on the basis of Protocol Article 3.9, which mandates the consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period. In addition, COP 11 agreed in Montreal to consider long-term cooperation under the Convention through a series of four workshops known as “the Convention Dialogue,” which continued until COP 13.
BALI ROADMAP: COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 took place in December 2007, in Bali, Indonesia. The focus of the Bali conference was on long-term issues, and negotiators spent much of their time seeking agreement on a follow-up to the Convention Dialogue. These negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Bali Action Plan, which established the AWG-LCA to focus on four key elements of long-term cooperation identified during the Convention Dialogue: mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The Bali Action Plan contains a non-exhaustive list of issues to be considered under each of these areas and calls for articulating a “shared vision for long-term cooperative action.”
The Bali conference also resulted in an agreement on a two-year process, the Bali Roadmap, which covers negotiation “tracks” under the Convention and the Protocol and sets a deadline for concluding the negotiations at the Copenhagen conference in December 2009. The two key bodies under the Bali Roadmap are the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP, which held four negotiation sessions in 2008: in April in Bangkok, Thailand; in June in Bonn, Germany; in August in Accra, Ghana; and in December in Poznan, Poland.
During COP 14 in Poznan, AWG-LCA 4 continued discussing all the key elements of the Bali Action Plan and held an in-session workshop and ministerial roundtable on “a shared vision.” It mandated the AWG-LCA Chair to prepare a document for consideration by AWG-LCA 5 that would focus negotiations on the fulfillment of the Bali Action Plan, and a negotiating text for AWG-LCA 6 in June 2009. AWG-KP 6 held a strategic discussion of all elements of its work programme and decided that in order to finalize agreement on Annex I parties' further commitments at COP/MOP 5, the AWG-KP needs to consider in 2009 the aggregate scale of emission reductions by Annex I parties, the contribution by parties individually or jointly to the aggregate scale, as well as other issues identified in what is known as paragraph 49. AWG-KP 6 also requested the AWG-KP Chair to prepare four notes for consideration at AWG-KP 7 on the flexibility mechanisms, LULUCF, amendments pursuant to Protocol Article 3.9, and elements of text related to issues in paragraph 49.
COMMUNITY-BASED ADAPTATION WORKSHOP: The Third International Workshop on Community-Based Adaptation was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 18-24 February 2009. The event consisted of three days of field visits to observe community-based adaptation initiatives first hand, followed by three days of interactive discussions in Dhaka. The aim of the event was to share the latest developments in adaptation planning and practices at different levels and disseminate knowledge among stakeholders with a view to integrating adaptation into national and international development programmes.
CLIMATE RISK ASSESSMENT WORKSHOP: The UNFCCC Workshop on Integrating Practices, Tools and Systems for Climate Risk Assessment and Management and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies into National Policies and Programmes was held from 10-12 March 2009 in Havana, Cuba. The workshop aimed to identify successful examples of using tools and integrating climate risk assessment and management and disaster risk reduction into national policies and programmes. It generated a number of recommendations regarding climate-related hazards, sectoral and national planning. The workshop report will be presented to the thirtieth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice.
INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS ON CLIMATE CHANGE: The international scientific congress on climate change, “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions,” took place from 10-12 March in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was organized by the International Alliance of Research Universities and aimed to provide a summary of existing scientific knowledge two years after the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in the run-up to COP 15. The conference concluded, inter alia, that according to recent observations, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or worse) are being realized and that avoiding dangerous climate change requires rapid, sustained and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action.