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Daily report for 17 May 2012

Bonn Climate Change Conference - May 2012

In the morning and afternoon, the opening plenary of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was held. The AWG-LCA opening plenary also convened in the evening, followed by the AWG-LCA contact group. In the afternoon, an in-session workshop took place under the AWG-LCA on developed countries’ quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets and related assumptions and conditions. In the morning and afternoon, a number of contact groups and informal consultations took place under the SBI and SBSTA.


OPENING STATEMENTS: Opening the first session of the ADP, COP 17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane identified the new body as an opportunity to consider what needs to be done beyond 2020. She urged parties to engage constructively and create a credible workplan, prioritizing work in such a manner that the ADP can finalize its work by 2015. She stated that “the time is now to be leaders and take decisive action to save our future.”

Highlighting the ADP as an opportunity to demonstrate that multilateralism does work, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres emphasized that the world made history twenty years ago by adopting the three Rio Conventions and is now in a position to write history again. She indicated that the ADP’s work should be guided by both a short-term view that considers implementation and a long-term perspective that rises to the challenge of the post-2020 world.

Algeria, for the G-77/CHINA, stated that the ADP’s outcome must be in line with the objective, principles and provisions of the Convention and emphasized the importance of progress under the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA. She said the ADP’s work plan must be based on Decision 1/CP.17 (Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action), equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and the relevant provisions of the Convention.

Switzerland, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP (EIG), highlighted the ADP as a turning point in the UNFCCC negotiations. He identified mitigation as the core task, involving all countries in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, while also addressing adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. The EIG called for a solid work plan, agreed in Bonn, that includes milestones and a timetable, and leads to a smooth adoption of the future regime in 2015.

The EU emphasized that their decision to participate in a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was taken in the context of the wider package in Durban that leads to transition toward a single global agreement. He said a new protocol would be the most effective form of such an agreement, and identified the need to discuss how the new protocol can allow sustainable development at the same time as delivering the necessary emission reductions by all parties. On the mitigation workplan, the EU identified the process of closing the mitigation gap as an iterative one whereby the gap is assessed, options to increase ambition are identified and the appropriate decisions are taken.

Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, underscored the Durban Platform as a universal platform to take international efforts on climate change forward by providing a “common ground” for all countries. He suggested focusing the work in Bonn on defining the ADP’s work plan and added that the establishment of low-carbon development pathways is key to addressing climate change without sacrificing economic growth or development.

The Gambia, for LDCs, highlighted that the ADP’s mandate provides an opportunity to enhance the mitigation ambition and adopt a new protocol under the Convention applicable to all, taking into consideration equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. He suggested identifying deliverables for each COP in the context of a three-year programme that would allow incorporating inputs from, inter alia, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. He underscored that the work of the ADP must not be seen as an opportunity to postpone action, and stressed the importance of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. 

Nauru, for AOSIS, expressed hope that the ADP would demonstrate a “sober, serious and determined sense of urgency and ambition.” She called for a mitigation work programme that makes strides in closing the recognized mitigation ambition gap.

Swaziland, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said the establishment of the ADP should result in a strengthened multilateral, rule-based climate change regime, emphasizing the need for significant scaling up of developed country mitigation ambition.

Egypt, for the ARAB GROUP, stressed that negotiations under the ADP must seek to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Convention. He also emphasized the need to respect, and not renegotiate, the principles that govern international action. 

Papua New Guinea, for the COALITION OF RAINFOREST NATIONS, stated that an international legal instrument is needed now, as 2020 is too late. She underscored the important role of REDD+ in the new regime. India, for BASIC, said that the full elaboration of the ADP’s work plan will be possible only after the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP have concluded their work and that an outcome should reflect the historical responsibility of developed countries.

Tajikistan, for MOUNTAINOUS LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, said a new legally-binding agreement must build upon the Convention’s principles and suggested that a contact group be formed to get work underway. CHILE, for several Latin American countries, said the results of the ADP should take the form of a protocol or some other legally-binding instrument under the Convention, and underscored the importance of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for COMIFAC, said the new working group should lead to the adoption of a new binding accord and that the ADP should treat adaptation and mitigation “on equal footing.”

Honduras, for SICA, said: adaptation is the priority for the majority of developing countries, in particular for the most vulnerable ones; the ADP outcome must be based on the Convention’s provisions and principles, including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. Argentina, for a number of countries, emphasized that an ADP outcome should be in accordance with the Convention’s principles, recognizing the different nature of developing and developed countries’ obligations. He added that developing countries’ voluntary NAMAs are related to the provision of finance, technology and capacity building, and suggested that the ADP’s work plan first focus on the scope of the work, including on guiding principles.

BINGOs suggested strengthening the avenues for the business and private sector to contribute to the ADP’s work in areas such as finance, innovation, MRV, and new market mechanisms.

Climate Action Network, for ENGOs, urged increasing mitigation ambition through, inter alia, closing loopholes, eliminating fossil subsidies, and adopting an ADP work plan with milestones.

ICLEI, for LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES, underscored that there is a “dangerous gap” between now and 2020 that needs to be addressed by increasing mitigation ambition. He highlighted the key role of local governments in successfully implementing climate change policies.

WOMEN AND GENDER CONSTITUENCY cautioned against exacerbating gender inequalities and identified the need to integrate human and social dimensions into the climate change negotiations. She suggested a workshop on gender equality.

YOUNGOs said: the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is not negotiable; the integrity of the Convention should not be undermined; and closing the ambition gap should be a priority for the ADP. 

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: Reconvening the ADP plenary in the afternoon, COP Vice-President Robert Van Lierop (Suriname) explained that intensive consultations have taken place before and during the Bonn meeting concerning the Chairs of the ADP. He noted, however, that the issue remains unresolved and urged parties to be flexible and agree on nominees for the Chair and Vice-Chair so that the ADP can begin its work as soon as possible. He also explained that a proposal has been made to elect the Chair at this session and continue consultations on the election of other officers until Doha. Groups have until noon on Friday, 18 May, to consult on this proposal.


PLENARY: In the evening, the AWG-LCA plenary convened. AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb reported that agreement on the agenda and the way forward had been reached during informal consultations. He highlighted the Bali Action Plan as the original mandate of the AWG-LCA and parties’ appreciation of the significant work done since its adoption. He stressed that there was no desire to renegotiate what has already been agreed and noted that there are clearly mandated tasks from COP 17 for the AWG-LCA to complete this year.

AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb reported that the specific elements of the agreement that has been reached were to: adopt the agenda with a footnote stating that items on the agenda enjoy different levels of progress through decisions adopted by COP 16 and 17, and some items may not need further work under the AWG-LCA taking into account the progress made; proceed in the single contact group and rapidly launch spin-off groups to consider tasks mandated in Durban; and evaluate progress through the single contact group to decide where additional spin-off groups are needed. AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb also said he will consult informally on Annex I parties whose special circumstances have been recognized by the COP.

Parties then adopted the agenda with a footnote (FCCC/AWGLCA/2012/L.1) and agreed to establish a single AWG-LCA contact group.

CONTACT GROUP: In the evening, the AWG-LCA contact group convened, chaired by AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb. Parties debated whether spin-off groups would only focus on the implementation of tasks mandated by COP 17 or if they should adopt a broad-based approach and also consider related issues under a particular agenda item. Agreement was finally reached to launch spin-off groups on tasks mandated by COP 17, including on: shared vision; developed country mitigation; developing country mitigation; REDD+; sectoral approaches; various approaches, including markets; and Review. Progress made and the need for spin-off groups on other issues will be discussed in the contact group.

IN-SESSION WORKSHOP: In the afternoon, the AWG-LCA in-session workshop on clarification of developed country parties’ quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets and related assumptions and conditions took place, facilitated by Andrej Kranjc (Slovenia).

The Secretariat introduced the updated technical paper (FCCC/TP/2012/2) on assumptions, conditions, commonalities and differences in approaches concerning developed country quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets, and comparison of the level of emission reduction efforts.

The EU provided an overview of their emission reduction pledge, highlighting that mitigation by developed and developing countries forms the cornerstone of 2020 reductions to limit global temperature increase to below 2°C.

The US clarified their pledge of reducing emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and provided an overview of domestic emission reduction initiatives, highlighting the transport sector.

NEW ZEALAND explained that his country is prepared to take on an emission reduction target of 10-20% below 1990 levels by 2020, if there is a global comprehensive agreement that would have to meet a number of conditions.

AUSTRALIA presented on their 2020 pledges and low-carbon emissions strategy. He said a 5% reduction below 2000 levels is unconditional, a reduction of 15% is subject to strict conditions and a reduction of 25% is contingent on comprehensive global action.

CANADA discussed an emissions reduction target of 17% from 2005 levels by 2020 highlighting a domestic sector-by-sector emissions reduction plan.

SWITZERLAND provided an overview of their unconditional reduction target of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and highlighted that the commitment could be increased to 30% subject to comparable commitments by developed countries and adequate contributions from economically more advanced developing countries in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

NORWAY encouraged countries that have not yet communicated their pledges to do so and explained their 30% target relative to 1990 levels by 2020, which can be increased to 40% if major emitting countries agree to commitments that would limit global warming to 2°C, focusing on manufacturing, transport and petroleum sectors.

AOSIS presented on assessing the scale of the ambition gap through common accounting rules and expressed concern that more effort is needed for a number of countries to meet their current pledges.

Following the presentations, parties discussed, inter alia:  regional cap-and-trade initiatives, supplementarity of market-based mechanisms, level of ambition, conditionalities on moving to the upper range of the pledges, accounting for LULUCF and the ability of parties to meet their targets.


LOSS AND DAMAGE (SBI): Informal consultations on loss and damage continued in the morning and were open to observers.

The G-77/CHINA, the AFRICAN GROUP, LDCs, AOSIS and the US said that cross-cutting issues under the three thematic areas of the work programme need to be addressed in a holistic manner.

The G-77/CHINA suggested that a draft decision text should be annexed to the SBI conclusions. AOSIS called for discussion on risk management and the impacts of slow-onset events. The US said it is important to consider biophysical risks together with socio-economic vulnerability and proposed using a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches. She stressed the need to bridge the gap between data users and data providers. The EU highlighted that inaccurate communication of risks can lead to inadequate responses. 

AUSTRALIA stressed the link between discussions on loss and damage and national adaptation plans (NAPs) and, supported by the US, proposed that regional meetings focus on risk reduction, retention and transfer. 

Draft conclusions will be prepared and the negotiations will continue.

NATIONAL ADAPTATION PLANS (SBI): Informal consultations on NAPs took place in the afternoon and the meeting was open to observers.

Co-Chair Addulla introduced the draft text, prepared based on parties’ submissions and interventions. He summarized the draft text, which includes, inter alia: facilitation of country-driven NAPs; streamlining the LDC Fund to support the NAP process; the use of national and regional centers and networks; and sharing of best practices in adaptation.

Parties then proposed additions to the text which included implementation, support programmes and guidance on finance.

Some parties requested streamlining the text, the consideration of which will continue at the next meeting.

FORUM ON RESPONSE MEASURES (SBI/SBSTA): In the afternoon, SBI Chair Chruszczow and SBSTA Chair Muyungi opened the joint SBI and SBSTA forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures.

Parties shared views on how to organize the work of the forum. Argentina, for the G77/CHINA, called for a clear set of modalities for the operationalization of the forum and work programme, including, inter alia: assigning specific tasks and activities for the rest of the year and creating an outline schedule for 2013 to address the specific needs and concerns of developing country parties. South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed economic and social impacts of trade and trade-related measures adopted by developed countries.

The US, supported by AUSTRALIA, suggested that parties focus discussions on how to undertake the consolidation of response measures issues. The EU suggested that a forum take place in an open context to include non-parties, such as civil society and experts. AUSTRALIA said work should focus on substantial points of convergence on issues to be addressed in the work programme.

CHINA stressed the importance of the forum to minimize or prevent the negative impacts of response measures, and expressed concern with the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. SAUDI ARABIA suggested exchanging information through, inter alia, workshops. Parties agreed to share further views on the way forward and submit information to the Secretariat for further guidance.


The corridors were once again buzzing with speculations and murmurs of anticipation about the Chairs of the ADP and other outstanding nominations.

After enthusiastic opening statements under the ADP in the morning, work under the new body in the afternoon was confined to a brief announcement that consultations on its Chairs remain inconclusive. By the end of the day, parties had not made significant progress on the selection of the Chairs and rumors circulated on the reasons for the deadlock and the possible ways forward. Some speculated that one of the candidates was only willing to accept the position of Chair and not Vice-Chair, while others mentioned that the idea of having two Co-Chairs had also been raised.

“To be honest it’s unlikely that a decision will be made in Bonn,” predicted one delegate, who expressed disappointment at the delay. Those eager to start working stressed that the selection process does not necessarily need to delay negotiations as substantive work could be launched regardless. One delegate even suggested that the COP President provisionally chair the body until a decision has been reached. Others, however, felt that at least one Chair must be appointed before work of the ADP begins.

On the Green Climate Fund Board, things were apparently not looking so green as the announcement was made that the Board’s first meeting, scheduled for the end of May, was postponed pending the process of nominations. According to one delegate, although most groups have nominated their proposed Board members, others have chosen to go way beyond the call of duty and nominate more than their share of the composition. “There will be trouble, but I guess we will just have to see until all have submitted nominations,” said one high-level delegate.

As the AWG-LCA contact group closed its meeting late in the evening, the fate of the leadership of the ADP hung in the air, like the GHG emissions that continue to fuel the climate process.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <> is written and edited by Asheline Appleton, Joanna Dafoe, Cherelle Jackson, Elena Kosolapova, Kati Kulovesi, Ph.D., and Eugenia Recio. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). General Support for the Bulletin during 2012 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute – GISPRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022, USA. The ENB Team at the Bonn Climate Change Conference - May 2012 can be contacted by e-mail at <>.