IFOAM EU at COP21: The issue of process is taking over the negotiations
Negotiators are in for an intense afternoon. At 3 pm the co-chair of the ADP (the main negotiating track) announced that Parties should go for a full first reading of all the articles of both the agreement and the decision today. Indeed time is running out. The plan is that negotiators should have a streamlined text by Saturday afternoon, when the COP Plenary will open, for Ministers to negotiate on Monday. In order to reduce the number of brackets and to clarify political options, facilitators have worked all night on a new text that contains “bridging proposals”. In parallel two high-level envoys of Laurent Fabius, the COP President, were tasked with consulting parties on what should be the negotiations process next week.
There was a bit of progress on clarifying the options for the long term goal (“decarbonisation” or “climate neutrality”. Some of the key principles have now been moved to the preamble rather than in the operational part (human rights, rights of indigenous peoples, need to respect the integrity of natural ecosystems). Financial pledges have now reached more than 80 billion, making it more plausible that the 100 billion a year by 2020 objective could be reached. There are also talks of a five years financial target cycle, which could be linked to a mitigation (review mechanisms) and adaptation cycle. China still seems to see some features of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), as intrusive. Language adopted there will determine to what extent the Paris agreement will actually be legally binding – or not. Loss and damage continues to be a key focus for many developing countries.
But nothing is agreed yet, as the French Presidency just reminded, and negotiators have spent the last three hours attempting to clarify what would be the best process to move forward on the “bridging text”, which also shows the low level of trust between Parties. If progress on the texts continues to be too slow, the danger is that all the key contentious issues get deleted under the pressure of time, and that the agreement will be short and with little substance. But such conferences are always full of drama, and there is still one week to go.
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