New streamlined negotiating text released

Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), Ahmed Djoghlaf and Daniel Reifsnyder, released on 24th July a 83-page document titled ‘non-paper illustrating possible elements of the Paris package’. This text is a consolidated version of the Geneva negotiating text. According to UNFCCC officials, this new document presents ‘a clearer picture’ of the possible final outcome without compromising any of the options put forward previously by Parties in the formal Geneva text.

The aim of the consolidated text is to allow governments to advance more effectively in their negotiations when they reconvene in Bonn (31 August – 4 September) for the next meeting of the ADP. The document provides clarity on what could be contained within the Paris agreement and identifies paragraphs that, given their nature, would be appropriate for COP decisions. As noted by the UNFCCC secretariat, ‘this could mean, for example, that new commitments that boost the response to climate change would be enshrined in the agreement, but the details of how these commitments would be implemented as well as the details of any new arrangements to support implementation are captured in an accompanying decision.’

Little time is left for substantive differences to be resolved before COP21 in Paris. While this consolidated document is a tool to help Parties in their negotiations, the array of different textual options there is a reminder of how much work is left when negotiators resume the round of talks in Bonn in late August. As usual, a team of LRI lawyers will be there, providing timely legal assistance to representatives from the smallest delegations.

Road to COP Paris pic small

Follow us on twitter@legalresponse to get negotiation updates during the upcoming ADP session, and for inquiries about our legal support, contact us on: enquiries@legalresponseinitiative.org

Bonn and 10 more days

Audience @ Uni Bonn

Audience @ Uni Bonn

LRI @ Institute for public international law

LRI @ Institute for public international law

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bonn Climate Change Conference concluded on Thursday, 11 June, at 5 pm. Parties did not go into extra time to negotiate a new agreement on climate. The outputs of their negotiations are reflected in two non-papers, the “Working document” (68 A4 pages) and the Streamlined and consolidated negotiation text (85 A4 pages), both dated 11 June and available online at http://unfccc.int/meetings/bonn_jun_2015/session/8857.php

8 LRI lawyers attended the Bonn meeting and dealt with over 30 requests for legal advice from poor and particularly climate vulnerable developing countries. A new paper on how human rights could be integrated into the 2015 agreement was well received and two events at the university of Bonn on international law and the climate negotiations attended by many students, academics and lawyers.

Volunteers in the 'Situation Room'

Volunteers in the ‘Situation Room’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an outcome of the Bonn conference, Parties have requested the two co-chairs of the ADP to issue an “additional tool” which should include a fully streamlined, consolidated, clear and concise version of the Geneva negotiating text, as well as suggestions for paragraphs appropriate for a decision versus the agreement, by 24 July 2015.

This is likely to result in further discussions during the next ADP meeting in Bonn from 31 August – 4 September about if and to what extent the co-chairs and the UNFCCC secretariat have accurately represented, summarised and interpreted the Parties’ positions. Unfortunately, there are only 10 more negotiating days scheduled before COP21 in Paris.

Reporting from Bonn: with signs of slow progress, the session approaches its end

Today is the tenth day of negotiations in Bonn, Germany, which is scheduled to conclude tomorrow 11th June.

Over the last few days, since the meetings started on 1st June, Parties have been engaging in a first and second reading of the Geneva negotiating text, working through facilitated meetings to help streamline and consolidate the text.

The goal for the Bonn meeting is to deliver a shorter, clearer and more workable negotiating text, working toward a successful outcome in Paris this December. Yet, with some paragraphs proving too difficult to consolidate, the pace of the progress continues to be, overall, remarkably slow. Commenting on the reduction by only 5% after three days of arduous work (and not much more thereafter), country delegates feel that not enough progress has been made so far, and work needs to intensify in earnest. Further updates on the streamlined text are expected to come out soon.

Twenty negotiating days are available before COP 21 in Paris. Half of this time is being spent here in Bonn. As noted by a delegate, a more manageable negotiating text is urgently needed to start addressing “the real issues on the table” and allow for substantive negotiations to begin. Contentious issues yet to be discussed include the crosscutting issue of differentiation and the legal form of the agreement. Further clarity on INCDs, the length of these commitments, review mechanisms, and their legal character, is also needed.

LRI has been supporting delegates from some of the smallest delegations since the start of the session. As usual, their queries have reflected developments in the discussions. A number of delegates have asked us for clarification on the legal standing of the Geneva text and other texts being considered in Bonn. Also, as the issue of legal form of the Paris agreement is gaining momentum, a number of delegates asked us to identify the possible options available. With INDCs being a key part of this agreement, the question of how these could be integrated has also been raised for analysis. Finally, a question on which we have provided extensive advice during the last days relates to what kind of deal might be acceptable to the US and the constitutional constraints on the US ratifying a legally binding agreement.

Register [here] to access our database containing all pieces of legal advice and legal briefings.

Outside the negotiations, LRI’s Executive Director Christoph Schwarte gave a talk for students, staff and other lawyers on “international law and the climate negotiations” at the university of Bonn.

He had been invited by Prof Talmon of the Institute for Public International Law as part of a lecture series on international law. With him came Edward Wabwoto, a Kenyan lawyer and negotiator, who has been working with LRI for several years. A day after the conclusion of the G7 summit in Germany, participants were excited to hear about the role of lawyers and the law in the international negotiations; and from a ‘real’ negotiator. However, a show of hands indicated that most of them felt that it was unlikely that the ADP negotiations would conclude with a new agreement in Paris.