Haggle – strategy of the day in concluding discussions of UN climate conference 2013

More than 30 hours without rest delegates have been negotiating in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) about the post 2015 period when the Kyoto protocol is going to end. It is already one day over the official end of the conference and still there is by far no conclusion on agenda item 1. It is about how much effort countries are going to put into climate mitigation or more precisely: when does who have to pledge what in which way? Developing countries want developed countries to state clearly and comparatively what they are doing and plan on doing and how are they going to support developing countries in their efforts to do so. Developed countries in turn want the major emitter countries with economies in transition to take their share. Venezuela is stressing on the fact that small delegations are running out of their physical capacities and urge for conclusions. More and more delegates are leaving. The tone has gotten rougher. China doesn’t need to worry about the negotiating capacity, together with India it starts struggling basic principles of the convention, and observers are exhausted. Their talks usually start with a competition in who slept less those days, before everyone is trying to keep up with the state of negotiation. I have lost track of what is going on, just sit and perceive.
The chair reacts objectively to amused to statements and reproaches that he wouldn’t apply fairness in the debates. At some point he makes the suggestion to not take another 16 (probably non-productive) statements and leave the stage to informal debates instead. After a few remarks the plenary accepts his proposal, the formal debate is interrupted.
Then something that is generally called “haggling” takes place: key negotiators approach each other and a crowd of other parties’ forms around. This phenomenon goes on for more than the announced 15 minutes, but compared to the preceding discussions very quick. Than the Co-President calls all parties back to the plenum and announces a proposal of India. India reads out the new text that has been discussed and suddenly everything happens very quickly. The hammer falls and the text is agreed on, party atmosphere, people congratulating.
When I hear the text cannot stop me from feeling disappointed: whoever feels ready early in 2015 can announce whatever in no structured way. The word “commitment” has thoroughly been replaced by “contributions”. Now it is up to national power struggle to interpreting the urge of action. I wonder how many of the present nations have drowned until then. At least, this outcome is better than no decision.
Agenda item 2 and 3 are postponed until March next year.
The ADP conclusion heralds the closing session of the 19th Conference of the Parties. The agenda items are presented and agreed on until it comes to Loss and Damage. The Cop president asks the parties to not stretch the negotiations even more, but as expected a series of requests to talk is posed. In an intense speech the Philippines urge for separating Adaptation from Loss and Damage. It promises to heat up, European Union comes around but no consensus is expected. Once again todays magic cure for blocked negotiations is applied. Time passes by, people are waiting. The haggle has dispersed but still there does not seem to be a conclusion. Finally, the president announces consensus, struggles are now about wording.
At 7pm an agreed text is presented to the president. Loss and damage caused by climate change goes beyond adaptation. 7.13pm

“To establish a pathway to Paris – we made it. (…)Establish constitutional arrangements for Loss and damage (…)” – COP President Marcin Korolec.

Even the Philippines accept the outcomes even though with disappointment.

Author: gcecologist

I am interested in every pressing environmental sustainability issue! I study in the elite study program Global Change Ecology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

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