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Mitigating Human Rights on Day 1

By February 8, 2015 No Comments

First day of ADP2.8 just came to conclusion. But what really happened?

Plenary session

As the negotiators skated into the ice-caped first day of Geneva’s climate talks, the new Co-Chairs leading the way to a global agreement announced that the objective of the week is to get a workable negotiating document by  “Friday at 6 p.m.”.

And while I suspected we might be in for a hot-headed morning, some incredibly surprising happened. The wind’s chill here in Geneva seemed to have cooled rival tempers and led negotiators to give up their moments on the opening podium to save time to get straight into negotiating.

After the EU, Umbrella Group, G77 & China and a small handful of others made their opening statements, a whole host of developing countries decided to renounce their statements and to publish them online to save time for ‘actual’ negotiations. This led the applause to rain down from the rooftops, African, Latin American, small Islands and Arab nations all opted to race straight into negotiations.

This was seen by some as a message, or maybe even a challenge of unity from developing countries to developed ones, clearly stating: “we are united, are you?”.

Definitely something to think about as the week plays out.

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Opening plenary of ADP2.8

 

Contact group – Section C (General / Objectives)

As a result, it’s the first time I can remember that delegates dove into contact groups at 11 in the morning on the very first day! Text on the screen, and there they go.

According to the agenda, the first topic to be discussed in the “Elements for a draft negotiating text” was “General / Objectives”.

This section’s aim is to define the goals of the new global agreement. However, some countries such as the US and New Zealand voiced their doubts about the need of a General section. Nevertheless, as interventions proceeded, consensus seemed to be emerging around on keeping a very clear, short and concise section, that clearly cuts across the agreement.

At the moment, we have 12 paragraphs here to play with. But it’s pretty clear we’re looking at cutting this in half.

In this context, Norway, Brazil and Switzerland all supported the exclusion of human rights and health from the section, keeping them for the preamble only.

This drew a strong reaction from Mexico, Uganda, Chile and the EU who all called for Human rights and Gender Equity to be clear cross-cutting goals of the agreement.

Later tonight, Co-Chairs should release an update version of this section upon which, however, there seems to be enough consensus to move forward.

 

Contact group – Section D (Mitigation)

After a 2-hour break for a long but much needed lunch, negotiators got together again to discuss Mitigation.

Just like in the morning, the facilitators let the floor open for countries to suggest any additional paragraphs they might want to include in what is already a thick Mitigation section.

However, in this case the amount of proposals was huge.

There were calls to improve accounting from New Zealand, include greater commitments from AILAC, aviation and maritime activity regulations from the EU and many more also touching long term goals, REDD, adaptation and resilience. Over 50 new paragraphs were proposed by more than 20 countries by the time negotiators were finished.

As one hour remained left, the Co-chairs of the afternoon’s session decided to convene a short consultation with delegation heads, during which Christiana Figueres and both COP20 and COP21 Presidents showed up for a bit of expert-rugby-huddle-advice.

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Delegation Heads gathering for a short consultation with ADP Co-chairs

After a prolonged intel-hug, new Co-chair Ahmed Djoghlaf took back the floor to announce the meeting would close, with new Mitigation and Objectives (from the morning)  to be released, as early as tonight and possibly tomorrow.

Lets hope its ready for a new discussion again on Tuesday

All in all, negotiations proceeded quite quickly today: and everyone here seems to appreciate the way the brand-spankingly-new Co-chairs have dealt with things in the first few hours.

That’s not to say that some real fights aren’t just over our shoulder. That’ll be the real test for the new boys in the hot-seat.

‘Till the next time!

Federico Brocchieri

About Federico Brocchieri

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