Reflections from COP18, Monday 3 December
Shah Mohammad Ashraful Amin, Christian Aid, Bangladesh
COP18 is important in terms of its unique geo-political location, since this is the first time ever that a COP has taken place in the Gulf Region. It is also very important from a temporal dimension, as it is taking place at the end of the first commitment period and beginning of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). Furthermore, the expected conclusion of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and the beginning of a new era of negotiations under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) has further increased the significance of COP18.
Since the Conference started on 26th November, lots of discussion has taken place on preparing a work plan on ADP with clear milestone and deadlines; amendment of 2nd commitment period of KP, creating new opportunities for public financing, the work programme on Loss and Damage Assessment; and fostering national adaptation plans through Adaptation Committee.
At the half-way point of the two-week climate talks, debate on the length of the commitment period of the KP is ongoing. The Least Developed Country (LDC) group is expecting a five year commitment period, whereas the EU is pushing for eight years. New Zealand, Canada and Japan have all said that they will not sign up – threatening the future of a legally binding agreement on emission reductions.
Besides this, there is still lot of ambiguity regarding climate finance. In the Cancun Agreement it was clearly stated that the money from Fast Start Finance is to be “new and additional”, but to date, it is not clear whether Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) counts under this definition.
In spite of several conflicting issues, it can still be expected that there will be no gap between the first and second commitment period of the KP, that various institutional arrangements and bodies will be operational, and that there will be some clarity on the disbursement of Fast Start Finance and the scale of finance between 2013-2020 by the end of COP18.