Right after I felt I had a grasp on the initial Long-Term Cooperative Action text, the Parties negotiating it decided they could agree upon enough changes to submit a new one. This morning, the new, amalgamated LCA text was up for grabs. Immediately upon snatching a copy of the now 138 page document, I stepped into room King Protea for the Ad Hoc Working Group on LCA meeting, which, thankfully, was open to both Parties and observers. I might add that I was forced to chug a decently hot cappuccino first, though, as food and drinks are not allowed in the plenaries. I was very caffeinated- this helped.
Though the new text is a mere seven pages longer than its predecessor, the LCA chair had many aspects of said text to make note of, and Parties had countless comments on the changes made and the expectations that remained. The meeting was meant to introduce and clarify the text updates and go over the structure of the document. Which I will summarize presently:
The Chair began by discussing changes made to the Shared Vision section. There had been little progress toward streamlining the text, and the Chair seemed pessimistic as to the possibility of reaching resolve. Several suggestions were made, including the option to push off making decisions on the text until next year, giving negotiators more time to agree on long-term global goals and timeframes. This issue will be tabled for the Ministerial review.
Next, the Chair touched on Mitigation. Clarification of pledges, accounting and ambition, as well as compliance issues, were discussed. Several issues need Ministerial guidance, especially paragraphs 36 & 38 of the Cancun Agreement, which touch on clarifying pledges and the translation of said pledges, accounting mechanisms, international assessment and reviews (compliance assessments and IIR accounting assessments), and so on. In short, the Chair asked Parties to keep in mind that mitigation actions cover expansive topic areas, and agreements can be revised in the future. Regarding developing country mitigation, paragraphs 48 & 51 of the Cancun Agreements were brought up. The Chair postulated adopting those guidelines, or deferring the decision until next year. It was determined that this issue would also be brought up in the Ministerial meetings for a final decision.
The REDD+ Finance text was yet unchanged, and Parties will be discussing it today.
Cooperative Sectoral Approaches were then discussed. Sectoral Specific Actions that the Chair mentioned included work on the general framework, agriculture, and aviation/shipping. There was no decision on the possibility of the creation of work programmes regarding these issues.
Regarding Various Approaches, Response Measures, Financing and Technology Transfer, Parties had made considerable progress in consolidating the text, which was refreshing to hear! Adaptation issues had also advanced considerably since the first draft of the LCA text, though there were still some outstanding technical issues, such as membership details and who the adaptation committee would report to. Finally, the Chair mentioned the Review. Parties have been working in depth to streamline this text, yet two issues remain: Scope and Body to conduct the review.
Upon the completion of the Chair’s comments, a number of Parties offered their colourful, impassioned, and sometimes redundant comments. Contributors included Venezuela, Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Georgia, the European Union, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, the Marshall Islands, the United States, Australia, Japan, India, Canada and China. Some highlights included Venezuela asking for more focus on social concerns such as health, land-use, food security, education and employment within the Cooperative Sectoral Approaches section; the EU bringing up the need for market mechanisms to be more prominent in the text; Papua New Guinea asking for text on “the rights of Mother Earth” to be moved to a different section… Very important; The United States’ Jonathan Pershing using an “um” for the first time; and, most important of all, Australia making a reference to “slimming down” the text, which the LCA chair interpreted as a remark about his weight. Things got awkward.
Overall, it seems as though Parties are making some progress. What remains to be seen is the efficiency of Ministers, as the clock is ticking. Less than three full days remain to sort out this text; let the scramble for compromise begin!