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Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol Plenary Resumes in Doha

November 27, 2012

The seventeenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) will resume for its second part in Doha, Qatar, on 27 November 2012. Parties are reminded that the annotated agenda for the session is contained in document FCCC/KP/AWG/2012/1.

A note from the AWG-KP Chair lays out the unresolved issues in an Scenario Note:

(a) Length of the second commitment period, quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives (QELROs) and mitigation ambition: in the Chair’s view, these issues are closely linked and are best considered jointly. The options for the length of the second commitment period are five years and eight years and each option has a set of QELROs proposed by  Parties. There are also two proposals to address the issue of ambition by offering a mechanism to increase mitigation ambition during the second commitment period, one proposal for an interim review during the second commitment period and one for the forfeiture of Kyoto Protocol units. The Chair notes that this triangle of issues is at the core of the discussions, and encourages Parties to engage constructively, before and at  the session, to find a solution acceptable to all concerned;

(b) Legal continuity from 1 January 2013: it has been recognized that once amendments to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period are adopted, it may take considerable time for Parties to ratify the amendments. This would result in a ‘legal gap’ between the  beginning of the second commitment period on 1 January 2013 and the entry into force of the amendments. In the negotiations this year, Parties have identified a number of  approaches to address that gap, such as provisional application, unilateral declarations and implementing decisions. These approaches are not mutually exclusive and the challenge is to find a combination of approaches which would ensure legal continuity and facilitate a smooth transition to, and implementation of, the second commitment period;

(c) Operational continuity from 1 January 2013: in addition to the issue of legal continuity, Parties have identified the need to address ‘operational continuity’, which is to ensure that Parties are able to commence the implementation of the second commitment period immediately as of 1 January 2013. Clarity on the eligibility of Parties to access the flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol as of 1 January 2013 has been identified as key in operational continuity, in addition to the more technical work which is being conducted under the SBSTA and the SBI. Some Parties have agreed to undertake commitments under the second commitment period, while others will not take on such commitments; there are eligibility issues for both of these groups. The discussions among Parties on eligibility issues have progressed but the Chair believes that much remains to be done to clarify relevant technical aspects and to find solutions agreeable to all. Ensuring coherence and complementarity between the work of the AWG-KP and the work of the SBSTA and the SBI on the technical issues relating to the transition from the first to the second commitment period also remains challenging. The Chair will be collaborating closely with the SBSTA and SBI Chairs on these essential linkages to ensure that the outcomes of related work are coherent;

(d) Carry-over and surplus of tradable units: Parties need to decide whether the current rules regarding carry-over will remain or whether some level of limitation on carry-over and/or surplus units will be implemented in the second commitment period. Much technical work has been carried out by the AWG-KP and recently a consolidated proposal was put on the table by a large group of Parties. In the Chair’s view, technical issues relating to surplus and carry-over have been clarified sufficiently for policy decisions to be made. Resolving this issue in Doha is imperative but Parties’ views still appear to be divergent and a concerted effort may be needed to find a solution which is acceptable to all Parties concerned.

Despite the complexity of the outstanding issues, the Chair firmly believes that agreement in Doha on all issues is within reach, provided that Parties show the political will to achieve a meaningful second commitment period, flexibility in negotiating positions and readiness to search for compromise solutions on difficult issues, if needed at a policy level. Successful completion of the work of the AWG-KP in Doha is not only possible, it is an absolute requirement in view of the need to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted transition between the two commitment periods, which is key for the successful operation of the Kyoto Protocol.

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