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Executive Secretary with Civil Society Session

November 5, 2009

During every session, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (in this case Mr Yvo De Boer) will have a session with the civil society on his point of view about the negotiation. Also an opportunity for the civil society and especially the major groups to share or seek clarification on what has happened so far or going to happen.

So for the session here in Barcelona, before the civil society session, the youth (with 350) and TckTckTck movement (under GCCA) decided to hand over a significant instruments to Yvo to remind him of the target we are asking for and how much time we have respectively.

It was a great picture opportunity as shown:

TckTckTck, Yvo de Boer, Barcelona Climate Talks - UNFCCC

And thanks to Sena for scripting what happened during the session. The first part below is a sum up of what happened. And for those who has time, read further down below for a fuller transcript.

Happy Reading!

Warm Regards,

Wilson (From Barcelona…with Love)


In a Nutshell:

Barcelona Climate Talks - UNFCCC meetings

  • I would have deserved to be attacked much more strongly
  • but: I am not advocating to postpone, I am advocating to take all the decisions we can
  • I cannot see how it is physically possible to craft a full legally binding treaty
  • time in Copenhagen is constrained
  • Denmark wants to have high level segment with head of states
  • but that means: we will have to close the building on Thursday night (second week) for security check
  • so: work has to be done by the end of Thursday
  • on the other side: it’s good t
  • not a fully fletched treaty
  • I see: a set /package of decisions, as we have seen at COP6bis or in Montreal
  • one overarching decision that sets a long-term goal, identifies key principles and is followed by 4 annexes:

o        first annex: with A1 reduction targets

o        second annexes: what will NA1 countries do

o        third annex: individual financial contributions

o        fourth annex: formula how costs will be shared in the future, so that this does not have to be renegotiated

  • additionally: several individual COP decisions on the building blocks, which also flesh out the bodies to be established and the architecture of these institutions

o        this enables a fast start

  • finally: a clause spelling out that negotiations on a legal instrument shall be concluded after X months
  • these decisions will hold countries politically accountable
  • IN THE KP track:

o        second commitment period, reductions targets of the COP decisions for Kyoto Parties will be mirrored in the KP amendments

Barcelona Climate Talks - UNFCCC meetings


Wed 4.11.2009 Yvo with stakeholders

I’m happy that farmers are here. You have been kind with me in the Media. I deserve to be attacked much more strongly – my expectations for Copenhagen are now different than finalizing a legally binding treaty.

There’s a big difference in postponing a decision and taking a decision on what we can. I do not see how it is physically possible to craft a fully fledged legally binding treaty, and secondly our time in Copenhagen is constrained at the other end. Danes want a heads of state session in the end. That comes with a price, physical time price, we’ll have to close conference center Thursday night for security. The time of thu evening onwards is being taken.

What does pussy-footing amount to? What I see is a set of decisions: as we’ve seen in Montreal and COP-6 bis in Bonn, a packet of forward looking decision. Overarching decision that encompasses the BAP, long-term goal, targets, engagement, shared vision etc. That and 4 annexes: i) a list of individual reductions for developed countries for 2020 ii) reflection on what major developing countries are doing, what they put in place and how they deviate, x % iii) “start funding” and the actions done with that iv) formula of how the cost of adaptation and mitigation are divided among developing countries (Montreal Protocol type). Decisions that describe how the possible new bodies function.

All of this should be negotiated into a legally binding instrument by 20XX.

Under the KP: a decision which would constitute second period. Photocopy targets from LCA into this. Operational continuation of the KP: it took 8 years for the entry into force, we cannot wait a new period like that.

“You can also play like LCA COP decisions are legally binding and have entered into force before they actually are, there are options there.”

Out of Barcelona an indication on what the package could look like. Effective heads of state level usage. Set of decisions. Firstly, the G77 is not ready for a new instrument under the Convention. Secondly, US legislation will not finalize before Copenhagen. Set of decisions will help the parties to see how the legally binding treaty would function, it is transitional period.

David: politically accountable, what is your definition? Politically binding does not mean much, we feel.

In my country soft drugs are illegal, but you can buy them in shops. Public spending is limited by law…but they are being crossed all over in EU. And there is a prime minister who has issued non-compliance with KP, but I haven’t seen his picture in a search warrant in airports.

Politically binding is meaningless legally, but politically, in accountability of politicians, it can mean a lot.

Gender text in shared vision?

Trade unions are deeply disappointed if there’s no legal treaty. We try to persuade coal dominant areas…participation of labor unions and local groups… bla blaa blaa

I’m not talking about a political agreement; I’m talking about a set of decision. Not an A4 piece of paper full of good intentions. And I see no reasons why your ideas should be in that text.

COP 6 bis nailed down political points from a 500 pager. That can be done.

I don’t know the amount of detail. We need institutions with mandate and scope, and some time afterwards on how they would work. Put it differently: even with a legal treaty those kind of details would not be there. Advantage is we can transport stuff from Marracech. There have been also constructive discussion in the CDM EB, but that is suffering from a lack of progress in the numbers discussion.

Safeguards (for indigenous peoples rights) maybe in the overarching decision. But in the individual decisions, no.

New institutions? Market mechanisms and gender?

The text I see about respecting this and respecting that, you need to be much more specific.

David: timeline and momentum?

We should have a lot of momentum, and therefore a short timeframe. Finalizing the legal instrument June, or December maximum. Afterwards setting details, not fundamental negotiations.

I hope we will not have 400 decisions in Copenhagen, on local government and light frame bicycles and everything else…

We may see farming and land use issues under SBSTA;

Thanks to EGTT technology is advanced and I hope there is a strong output in Copenhagen.

The tension of the tracks is that we only got one. We only got Kyoto, which is being half-heartedly implemented. We have not seen the other emerge on targets, finance, and meanwhile there is talk of killing the only one we have.

New institutions?

Do you see any chance of WB coming out of Copenhagen as the fund keeper?

Wrong discussion. I find it a very male approach to talk about solution and not the problem. Developing countries feel that they are underrepresented and the parties are not in control.

2 extremes: everything is under Convention, and then all is under different multi- and bilateral mechanism (as in 11.5). Only way out is to listen to concerns and see a compromise.

Are we giving up?

I’m not giving up, not backing away from legally binding treaty, all I’m saying it cant  be done in Copenhagen. Reach far but not further that you can. If you can get those 4 annexes that I referred to, you have as much clarity as you would have negotiated treaty signed.

This is an assessment we all make personally, yours is as legitimate as mine. Hopefully you’ll prove me wrong in Copenhagen.

In MEF there was a constructive discussion on MRV, there’s discussion on NAtComs, and a broad need for a tracking mechanism on what countries are doing.

Compliance I haven’t thought about an awful lot, given where things seem to be going, there is need for tailored and sophisticated mechanisms…more nuanced than we will see in Copenhagen.


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