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TWN Info Service on Climate Change  (Nov07/01)

2 November 2007


REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTERIAL IN BOGOR TO PREPARE FOR BALI

An "informal" Ministerial-level meeting on climate change was held in Bogor, Indonesia on 24-25 October.  It provided a forum for officials of some 40 countries to air their views on what should be done at the Bali climate meeting in December.

But it did not come to an agreement on the content of a post-2012 climate regime, nor on the methodology of how the Bali negotiations will be conducted.

The meeting, whose aim was to prepare for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bali meetings, was held on 24-25 October and organized by the Indonesian government with the assistance of the UNFCCC secretariat.

The meeting concluded with a "nearly agreed" time-line for concluding the negotiations by 2009 on the post- 2012 commitment to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). However, there were differences of views among countries on many other issues. A presentation of a summary was made by the Chair of the meeting at the end, but it did not enjoy consensus.

Below is a first report on the Bogor meeting.   A second report analyzing the major issues and differences of views on them will be sent to you in the next edition of Info Service.

This report was published in the South North Development Monitor (SUNS) on 30 October 2007.  It is reproduced here with the permission of he SUNS.  Reproduction or recirculation requires permission of the SUNS (sunstwn@bluewin.ch).

With best wishes
Martin Khor
TWN


REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTERIAL IN BOGOR TO PREPARE FOR BALI
By K. Ayu Sarasvati, Jakarta, 29 October 2007

An "informal" Ministerial-level meeting on climate change held in Bogor, Indonesia last week provided a forum for officials of some 40 countries to air their views on what should be done at the Bali climate meeting in December.

But it did not come to an agreement on the content of a post-2012 climate regime, nor on the methodology of how the Bali negotiations will be conducted.

The meeting, whose aim was to prepare for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bali meetings, was held on 24-25 October and organized by the Indonesian government with the assistance of the UNFCCC secretariat.

Countries whose Ministers or senior officials attended included the United States, Canada, Russia, Portugal (representing the EU), France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, United Kingdom, Poland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Indonesia, China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Maldives, and Saudi Arabia.

The meeting concluded with a "nearly agreed" time-line for concluding the negotiations by 2009 on the post- 2012 commitment to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). However, there were differences of views among countries on many other issues. A presentation of a summary was made by the Chair of the meeting at the end, but it did not enjoy consensus.

At the start of the meeting, the Minister of Environment of Indonesia, Mr. Rachmat Witoelar, who also chaired the meeting, said that there had recently been an unprecedented number of discussions and debates at the highest level on climate change. Many of these have called for decisive action in Bali.

Therefore, it is crucial that the 40 ministers and heads of delegation attending this informal meeting work together to reflect ways and means to achieve an agreement at Bali.

In his message to the meeting, read by Yvo de Boer (the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC), the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon said that during the high-level event on climate change which he convened in New York on 24 September 2007, the world leaders expressed political will to tackle climate change through concerted actions.

They also made a strong call for negotiations to begin on a future comprehensive multilateral framework beyond 2012. Mr. Ban hoped that call will resonate in this informal meeting.

The Secretary General further said that the Bali Conference must be the starting point for intense negotiations driven by an agreed agenda. The negotiations should be comprehensive and inclusive, and should lead to a single multilateral framework that is commensurate with the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Bogor meeting was officially opened by the Indonesian President Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He said that there is no excuse not to address climate change decisively at local, national and international level since today the technology is available, the private sector is much involved in the cause of a low carbon economy, there is greater political will on the part of governments, and there is unprecedented public demand for concrete action now.

President Yudhoyono said that we must be able to work out positive outcomes in Bali. However, the outcomes should not jeopardize social and economic development efforts. The task of environment protection can and must complement the task of socioeconomic development, including poverty alleviation.

"Considering that developed countries are so far ahead of their developing counterparts, and in the light of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability', it is only logical that developed countries should continue taking the lead in significantly reducing carbon emissions," he said.

The President also called upon developed countries to provide resources, environmentally sound technologies and necessary financial support for developing countries, many of which have scant resources for coping with and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

He stressed that the post-2012 regime should strengthen the commitment of developed countries to reduce their emissions. "The major economic powers should be faithful to their commitments under the current and future climate regimes," he said. On the other hand, developing countries should participate voluntarily in reducing their Greenhouse Gas emissions according to their national circumstances.

The President said mitigation and adaptation measures cannot succeed without appropriate and adequate technology. Unfortunately, the development and transfer of climate-friendly technology have not been effectively implemented. He therefore called on the international community to put more emphasis on the need of developing countries to make use of environment-friendly technology in the future regime.

The meeting was organized around three agenda items: Building Blocks for a Future Framework; Ensuring Delivery of the Building Blocks; and the Way Forward (Bali Road Map).

On the first item, participants mainly discussed four building blocks for future action: mitigation, adaptation, technology, and investment and finance. While agreeing to these four "building blocks" as the minimum elements for a future framework, some countries proposed the addition of other building blocks.

Some developing countries, for instance, asked that sustainable forest management and land use issues be added as another element, while Japan wanted the issue of energy security to be discussed. Yet other countries said that the emission from aviation and maritime sectors also need to be discussed.

Several developing countries highlighted the issue of equality in burden sharing based on per capita entitlements to emission, and the need to adhere to the principle of tackling climate change based on common but differentiated responsibility. The developing countries stressed that to that end, the developed countries listed in Annex 1 (of the UNFCCC) need to continue to take the lead and fulfill their commitments.

There was a general agreement that negotiations on a future framework should be launched at Bali, with 2009 as the end-date for concluding the negotiations.

There was no consensus on other issues. Some developing countries pointed out that the negotiations should not be about establishing a new framework, but should be on establishing targets for the second period of commitments, in which the Annex I countries (developed countries) would have to further reduce their greenhouse gases.

There was a suggestion by some developing countries to set a time frame for the second period of commitment, for instance, 2012-2020.

On the process for the negotiations, the UNFCCC's Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer suggested three options: continue in an informal process; establish a negotiating process in a new body under the Conference of Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC; or establish a fully integrated process in a new body under the COP and the COP/Meeting of the Parties (of the Kyoto Protocol).

Some developing countries voiced the view that there is no need to reinvent the wheel and that we should not be negotiating a new convention or a totally new regime. Instead, an ad hoc working group should be formed to work on Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol to formulate the second phase of commitments of emission reduction by Annex 1 countries.

Meanwhile, said these developing countries, the four building blocks are already under the UNFCCC, and what is needed is enhancement of implementation, and not a new framework.

Some other countries favoured establishing a negotiating group under the COP, in order to make sure that all countries are "on board". (They were referring indirectly to the United States and Australia, which are members of the UNFCCC but not the Kyoto Protocol).

Some developing countries cautioned against making linkages with processes outside of the UNFCCC, especially in processes where developing countries are not represented.

Towards the end of the meeting, the Chair made a power-point presentation of "Chair's summary notes".

On "building blocks for a future framework", the Chair said that there was a "general agreement" that the four building blocks are at the core of a post-2012 framework, and they need to be built upon and expanded, and that equal weight should be given to adaptation and mitigation and special issues such as deforestation and forest degradation.

He said that there was need to continue to work within the current framework, i. e. the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. There was also need to give content to the "common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities" principle in the design of a post-2012 framework.

The Chair said that Annex I parties accept that they should continue to take the lead. There is need to respect economic growth objectives, which is best done by taking sustainable development as the central objective, making best use of co-benefits and managing unintended consequences of response measures.

He added that there is an "aim at broader engagement by developing countries through incentives and further developing the concept of sustainable development policies and measures."

There is also an agreed aim of completing work on a post-2012 framework by 2009 and to assure the continuation of the Clean Development Mechanism beyond 2012.

On "how to deliver the building blocks", the Chair's Notes said that there was a broad consensus on the need for a Bali roadmap towards a "comprehensive multilateral framework beyond 2012", and that the Convention and Kyoto Protocol provide the framework, with no need to reinvent the wheel.

There is need for a process under the Convention, in addition to the Kyoto Protocol ad hoc working group, to advance work on the building blocks. There is need to foresee both informal exchange of views and formal negotiations.

Another point made by the Chair is that two tracks can be distinguished: firstly, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the future commitment of Annex 1 countries under the Kyoto Protocol, and secondly, a New Convention process. In addition, the result of other parallel process such as the G8+5 should be brought in.

The president of the COP may also establish a contact group and conduct "complementary consultations" in Bali, said the Chair's notes.

After this presentation of the Chair's summary notes, there were many comments, with some participants implying that the summary did not enjoy consensus, and some disputing the claim that there was "general agreement".

Notably, developing countries again cautioned against parallel process outside the UNFCCC being brought in without consulting parties. Developing countries also reminded that a new working group under the Conference of Parties does not mean that developing countries should commit to emission reduction.

Since this is an informal meeting, and not a negotiating forum, the meeting ended with no conclusion. Minister Rachmat Witoelar said that what is important was that countries have openly discussed the issue based on trust and that would be the basis for the Bali meeting.

NOTE:   The author is an Indonesian expert on environment and sustainable development issues who was an observer at the Bogor meeting. Another report of this meeting will be in a future editions of the SUNS.

 


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