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Blog: Doha concludes with few conclusions

08-Dec-2012

- By Vera Coelho -

The United Nations’ climate summit in Doha has come to an end after two weeks of heated and protracted negotiations. Amongst limited progress, the general trend has been to delay decisions and refer further discussions to next year.

As increasingly sleep deprived delegates tried last ditch efforts to reach agreement on key items such as the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, finance and a new work programme on loss and damage, it became clear that disagreement was rife on most areas of negotiation.

 
Discussions on how to progress work on forest issues had already started on the wrong footing, with Parties failing to reach an agreement in the first week of negotiations on monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions under the REDD+ mechanism. Such a decision should have been agreed by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBTSA), but due to deep disagreement amongst Parties, in particular Norway and Brazil, the issue has been relegated to the next meeting of the body, in mid-2013.
 
The second week of negotiations in Doha also saw intense discussions on how to address results-based payments of REDD+ actions and whether non-carbon benefits should be included in such payments. Another bone of contention related to proposals to establish new institutional arrangements for REDD+. Once again agreement was not immediately possible, meaning that those items will be further discussed by the SBSTA next year, with a view to reporting and making recommendations to COP19 at the end of 2013.
 
Discussions on agriculture focused on whether to create a new work programme and whether to address mitigation, adaptation or both issues in such a work programme. After fierce opposition from developing countries, led by India, there is now no reference to agriculture (or to any other economic sector) in the working arrangements for the Durban Platform. It remains to be seen whether ideas to have submissions and workshops to discuss such matters in advance of the next SBSTA will still go ahead.
 
Another question that arises is whether after such slow progress the SBSTA will be able to address all the outstanding issues that have been pushed forward to 2013. After all, with only two weeks to negotiate in June, how much further progress will delegates be able to make on such an array of contentious issues?

 

See previous Doha blog

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