COP 18 Doha Mid Week One

Negotiations began here at COP 18 in Doha on Monday with a closing speech by the outgoing South African Presidency- Maite Nkoana - Mashabane, who referred to Durban as a ‘shining example,’ and called on Parties to ‘stay true to the legacies of Durban.’ Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, opened COP 18 by highlighting the following:

  • This conference is an Asian COP, and unique in the way it will usher in efforts from previous Asian COP’s - notably Kyoto and Bali.
  • COP 18 will move the Bali Action Plan from plan to action
  • It will make history as it will finish on a Friday-the 1st time for a COP

Monday featured opening statements by Parties and negotiating groups on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Action Plan and the Durban Platform.

Throughout the day there were opening plenaries for the COP, SBI, and SBSTA, which didn’t yield too many new issues or new positions from Parties to seasoned COP observers. Many attributed this to negotiators justgetting oriented to the vastness of the Qatar National Convention Centre (its jumbo-sized) and perhaps jet lag.

On Tuesday, however, the opening of the AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA’s took place and IETA’s Katie Sullivan gave the opening statement in the KP on behalf of business and industry and IETA’s Jeff Swartz gave the opening statement in the LCA. Those statements can be downloaded here (LCA )(KP ).

The KP is at a critical crossroads, with Australia recently joining the EU-27 plus eight other Parties (Croatia, Iceland, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Norway, Ukraine and Switzerland) who willtake part in a second commitment period (CP). Not even the country which bears the name of the Protocol will sign onto its future, joining Canada, and Russia.  The USA never ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Throughout Doha, many discussions will focus on a second CP and what would work for both OECD and non-OECD countries. However, many of these discussions will take place behind closed doors and not reflected necessarily in the formal sessions of the COP/CMP.

On the other hand, the AWG-LCA may be where the real ‘Doha drama’ takes place as the Umbrella group of countries (the Group is usually made up of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the US ) and the EU stated in the opening segment of the LCA that the issues under the Bali Action Plan should be wrapped up and put into future bodies (e.g. SBSTA) and the LCA should close here in Doha. In contrast, however, developing countries led by the G77+China have stated that there are significant elements of the Bali Action Plan that have not been resolved (e.g. finance) and it should not close until those issues have been placed into separate bodies or solved here in Doha.

At the same time, the discussions led by the Chairs’ of the ADP (Durban Platform) have recognized the fact that certain issues from the AWG-LCA may need to be taken up under the ADP in the future, and Parties are making statements in the ADP addressing that(this is called ‘shared vision’).

Tuesday was also Gender Day at COP 18, with a full schedule of side events focused on gender equality and issues facing women in climate change. One of the most notable activities took place in the SBI, whereby Parties decided to put together a draft decision on gender and including women in climate change. As a result, the SBI suspended its session to allow that procedure to be drafted before it meets again.

Wednesday has taken off with discussions on the future of the CDM, a framework for various approaches including new market mechanisms, and Poland nominating itself to host next year’s COP 19. Stay tuned for our next blog post which will be released on Saturday Dec. 2. 


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