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Blog from Doha: Calm before the storm?


By Vera Coelho -

The first few days in Doha at the Climate Conference have been relatively quiet. After a full day of opening ceremonies, delegates sat down for real business on Tuesday and Wednesday. Discussions focused on organisation of work and future ways forward but now that the first half of the first week has passed, one can definitely feel a change in pace.

As delegates hurry from meeting to meeting, walking through the enormous Qatar National Convention Center (the organisers advised bringing comfortable shoes - and for good reason!), there is an increasing sense that time is too short to do all the work at hand.

In particular when it comes to REDD+, delegates are working hard to reach agreement on a text on National Forest Monitoring Systems and on Monitoring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV), which must be agreed at this Conference. Wetlands International is advocating that the decision from Durban regarding the inclusion of all significant carbon pools, namely organic soils, be reflected in this decision on MRV.

Meanwhile, other substantive discussions are taking place regarding REDD+: as the closure of the negotiation track on Long term Cooperative Action (LCA) draws nearer, some Parties wish to establish a new REDD+ Committee, a new forum where REDD+ discussions may continue. Other issues under discussion relate to payments for non-carbon benefits of REDD+, how to address the drivers of deforestation, and how to secure reliable and scaled up finance for REDD+.

Read our submission and see the presentations of our REDD+ Side Event

Simultaneously, delegates are discussing whether to create a new work programme on agriculture. While the establishment of this new work programme does not seem to be very contentious, the content of the work is subject to quite some controversy. Generally speaking, developed country Parties wish to have a programme addressing both mitigation and adaptation aspects of agriculture, whereas developing countries insist that food security, access to food and livelihoods should be the greatest priorities, and that therefore the work programme should focus on adaptation only.

Funnily enough, there is one group of negotiators that seems to be having a rather easy time in Doha. The delegates tasked with negotiating land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) issues are in the luxurious position of being under very little time pressure.

With LULUCF rules already agreed for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, they can now turn their attention to long term items, such as discussion on more comprehensive accounting of LULUCF emissions (which, if agreed, will only apply after 2020), and discussions on new Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) activities, for which there seems to be very limited appetite from Parties. Wetlands International has made a proposal to add "avoidance of drainage" and "rewetting" of wetlands as new CDM activities.

Many here and around the world are hoping that all sense of calm will leave the building in the next few days. Negotiators must step up to the plate and weather the looming storm if we are to save our forests and peatlands.

Contact Vera in Doha

Email: vera.coelho @ wetlands.org or on Twitter: @VMPCoelho and @WetlandsInt

More information



See the presentations of our REDD+ Side Event

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