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ADP: African Group submits proposal on ‘finance’ as basis for negotiations

Lima, 5 Dec (Meena Raman*) – The African Group, on Thursday, 4 December tabled a proposal on “draft elements on finance” for the consideration of Parties at the contact group under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), and wanted this document to be the basis of negotiations in relation to the 2015 agreement.

The proposal submitted by Sudan on behalf of the African Group, was presented by Egypt at the contact group, as a conference room paper (CRP). It drew support from the Group of 77 and China and other developing countries. Developing countries supported Egypt in wanting the CRP to be used as the basis for negotiations instead of the non-paperproduced by the ADP Co-chairs in elaborating elements for a draft negotiating text of the 2015 agreement.

Egypt stressed that its proposal “is not a submission to be added to the non-paper” but is “a CRP presented by a group of Parties.” It asked the secretariat to circulate copies of the CRP and for this to be used as the basis for negotiations as it is a “legal document”. It emphasised that this was a “Party-driven process” and welcomed inputs to the paper.

Bolivia, speaking for the G77 and China, expressed support for the proposal and said that the African Group’s CRP is “a formal paper tabled by a formal regional group of the G77/China”, while the Co-chairs’ non-paper had “no legal standing”, adding that the CRP could help Parties in advancing the draft negotiating text of the 2015 agreement.

Developed countries including New Zealand, Switzerland and the United States wanted to proceed on the basis of the Co-chairs’ non-paper, with the US saying that “while a non-paper has no legal status, the paper has been very helpful for us” and did not accept that African Group’s CRP as the basis of discussions.

Given that Parties had to go for another meeting on finance, the meeting was suspended around noon by ADP Co-chair, Artur Runge-Metzger (the European Union). Parties are expected to meet again on Saturday, 6 December.

The ADP contact group has been considering the element of ‘finance’ in relation to the 2015 agreement from 2 to 4December.

In the earlier sessions since Tuesday (2 December), developing countries had said that the Co-chairs’ non-paper on the ‘finance’ element rewrites the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and was therefore unacceptable.

They also pointed out that the non-paper avoids the subject of “resource mobilization” altogether and “represents a huge step backwards” in terms of the obligations of developed countries on finance.

In a blistering attack of the Co-chair’s non-paper on Wednesday (3 December), Nicaraguan Minister, Dr. Paul Oquist said that if the non-paper “were to be submitted in an undergraduate course on climate finance in answer to the question of how best to mobilize climate finance, it would not receive a passing grade”, adding that “it goes to great length to avoid the subject of resource mobilization altogether.”

Oquist’s remarks pretty much summed up the views of developing countries on the non-paper.

He added further that it “confuses plans, programmes and policies with finance” and “when it does reach some financial topics there is no resource mobilization strategy to be found nor road map as how to implement one, stressing that this represented “a huge step backwards” designed to get the UNFCCC out of climate finance altogether.

The Minister added that the finance section of the non-paper “is also a mine field” with the use of simple words such as “all Parties” having responsibilities in providing finance and “evolving common but differentiated responsibilities” that “exemplify why we cannot work on the basis of this document as they are all loaded outside the Convention, its logic and structure” which “reinterprets, rewrites and replaces the Convention”.

(Under the UNFCCC, only developed country Parties in Annex II have legal commitments to provide finance to developing countries.)

“The faster that we can get to a Party-driven negotiation and not a Co-chair driven intermediation, the faster we can narrow differences, find convergence, and achieve consensus. Inasmuch as the agreement we seek is to be applicable to all, it must also be acceptable to all,” said the Minister.

Developed countries in their interventions did not want any reference to quantified targets for finance in the new agreement, with the European Unionsaying that it was a “clear red line” for them. All developed countries also stressed the importance of having “all countries in a position to do so” to provide financial support “in accordance with their changing capabilities since the inception of the Convention”.

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