I and my colleague are attending United Nations Climate Change Conference in Tianjin, China. Here's an update for you. Opening remarks were made by China's State Councilor Dai Bingguo who explained that Chinese government is treating climate change with great seriousness and has incorporate it into its national economic and social development strategy. Then Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary gave a speech that stressed the need to build on progress made thus far under the UNFCCC process, and encouraged Parties to articulate what could go into a politically balanced set of decisions under both the COP and the CMP at Cancun. She further urged Parties to demonstrate flexibility and a spirit of compromise to reach a balanced outcome, which may not be exhaustive in its detail, but should be comprehensive in scope.
Important highlights during the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG LCA) session which ensued after the opening plenary echoed the need for a more speedy process as the negotiations are progressing very slowly and there is little common ground to actually make decisions in Cancun.
Ms. Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, the Chair of AWG LCA gave an opportunity to different groups of the parties to give an update of their previous meetings, the G77&China group represented by Yemen affirmed the UNFCCC process and stated that we cannot lose more time going around in circles, a comprehensive set of decisions have to be reached in Cancun. Also, two tracks of negotiations should be maintained and that G77 and China will not compromise, they aim for a legally binding, comprehensive and ambitious outcome. The African Group followed, they reiterated the G77 and China position. The priorities for the African Group as asserted by their representative DRC are adaptation, both short and medium term and its effective implementation, mitigation hence the need to focus on the agreement for the second commitment period and REDD+. Finally, capacity building and technology transfer should remain two distinct issues as they is a risk of not concentrating on each of them.
Grenada which represented Alliance of Small Island States expressed fears as many island states have recently been battered by very strong climate disasters such as hurricanes and floods. They called for narrowing the differences to come up with a text that allows for decision making and suggested that parties should immediately break into drafting groups. AOSIS wants a body to be formed to help poor countries to design and implement adaptive actions to reduce vulnerability. Clarity on institution arrangements including insurances and mitigation must be scaled up consistent with the science and MRV for developed countries under the KP.
Lesotho representing Least Developing Countries fully associated with G77&China position and added that it is not wise to leave LDCs to use their strained funds aimed for poverty reduction for adaptation therefore discussions on finance to the LDCs should be more emphasized. 7% of the 1.5% of developed countries GDP should be available for LDCs for climate change issues and also form a technical panel on fund to the LDCs.
On top of that, European Union represented by Belgium expressed their commitment of providing 2.4 billion euros in the 2010-2012 period of Fast Start funding for adaptation and want to establish bodies on enable adaptation and tech transfer.
The Umbrella Group represented by Australia had interesting asks, they want important points extracted from the wordy 70 page negotiating text to effect decision making. The group pointed out that they intend not to renegotiate as they honor the decision made by leaders in the Copenhagen Accord and made it clear that they don’t have the authority to renegotiate.
Most of the remainder of the groups which contained developing countries associated with the G77&China position and made few additions which are somewhat just building on the comments already made by other groups.
Non Governmental organizations also were given a small window of opportunity to give their statements and they urged the parties to continue with the two track UNFCCC process instead of the pledge based approach that is now finding its way in the negotiations.
Also I met some party officials and they gave me insights on enhanced action on adaptation and finance, technology and capacity building drafting group meetings as NGOs are now allowed in these closed sessions. One important highlight on financing was the fact that there are clear no sources laid out by the parties on where these funding will be coming from and to whom they’ll be targeted to so the whole idea of forming an institution dealing with financing could essentially be in jeopardy unless these issues are addressed.
I know a lot of us are wondering on how Tanzania is represented in this meeting, I met Mr. Richard Muyungi (Tanzania) who is co-facilitating drafting group sessions on Enhanced action on mitigation. He told me there are three other Tanzanians Ms. Emelda, Mr. Ningu and one representative from Zanzibar who I have been running up and down with my colleague to see if I can bump into them but to no success thus far though we managed to meet other East African party members. We’ll try again tomorrow.