Climate Change - More Ambiguity Than Clarity
More ambiguity than clarity, and yet the picture is becoming clearer than ever. After several sessions of the contact group on finance under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), it is becoming clearer that developed countries are exerting such tremendous effort in making surethat no substantive discussion and decision regarding the future of climatechange financing would be reached in Bangkok, and perhaps not even at the COP 18 in Doha this end-November.
And this certainly does not bode well for communities especially in the developing countries who are already experiencing the impacts of climate change – of people who desperately are in need of resources to enable them to survive the impacts of floods, droughts and other effects of climate change.
At this morning’s discussion of the AWG-LCA contact group on finance, the Chair Mr. Aysar Tayeb, tried to focus the discussions on the issue of the arrangement between the Conference of Parties (COP) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). It may be remembered that the GCF was established at the COP 16 in Cancun and is envisioned to be the principal form of the climate financial mechanism, and not simplyjust one among the many climate funds in operation. But it has yet to take off the ground, having been saddled by issues around sources of funds,legal mandate, and many other issues.
The United Sates made the first intervention by stating that a large group of Parties question the procedure and mode of work proposed by the Chair. It further said that this group does not have a mandate to produce text at this meeting. This position was supported by Canada, Mexico and New Zealand who said that there was ‘no need, and no agreement, to come to a decision on finance.’
The Philippines, on behalf of the G77/China, countered by stating that the AWG LCA has a mandate to come to an agreed outcome. It stressed that financing is one of the main building blocks of these discussions, and getting clarity on the means of implementation is a very crucial issue for Parties to come to an agreement before we can move on to other processes. It thanked the Chair for taking on board the views of small countries because they too, are Parties to the Convention.
Australia noted the consistent divergence of views in the last 4 sessions on finance, and questioned the Chair for introducing yet another major agenda regarding therelationship between the COP and the GCF. It further stated that the AWG LCA has served its purpose, and if any, the Bangkok sessions has had one clear outcome, i.e. there is no consensus and it questioned the Chair again for continuing to schedule a meeting of the contact group on finance. To this, the Chair replied and said he did not need Parties’ agreement to call for a discussion. He reported clearly though, that there is no agreement on how to take these issues forward.
Other developing countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Iran, Zambia, Nepal, Uganda and Pakistan, in separate interventions, reiterated their positions affirming the mandate of the AWG-LCA to discuss matters concerning finance, as well as on the need to clearly define the arrangement between the GCF and the COP.
The European Union acknowledged that some of the issues mentioned in the last meetings of the contact group on finance do need to be taken up, but also noted that there are differing views on how to proceed and the venue where are to be fleshed out.
The Philippines, speaking on behalf of the G77/China and the group of countries that have made a submission on a draft decision regarding the GCF/COP arrangement, clarified on why the AWG-LCA is the venue for clarifying these issues. The GCF was established in Cancun as the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention, with the arrangements to be concluded in Doha with the objective of ensuring that the Green Climate Fund is accountable to and functions under the guidance of the Conference of Parties. Ms. Bernarditas Muller, coordinator for G77/China asked Parties: ‘are we now saying that it is now the Board of the GCF who will determine how it will be accountable and how it will be under the guidance of the COP? How can the child decide how it is going to be accountable to its parent?’
Saudi Arabia said it disagreed with the idea that the GCF Board will be developing the arrangements with the COP and argued that he doesn’t see it anywhere in the functions of the Board, and requested that the Standing Committee be fully in charge of this task.
Switzerland said that the Standing Committee was there to give guidance, and that Parties needed to trust the systems they have put in place. It requested Parties not to ‘complicate matters’ by developing decisions within the LCA.
The United States made another intervention, and stated that the Green Climate Fund will have independent juridical personality, and the Board is the executive authority of the Fund. This means that Board members are not endorsed or approved by theCOP. And it repeated its position that these are not matters for the LCA todecide on.
In the midst of all these legalese, perhaps the more telling was the short intervention made by Japan who said that Parties have heard a lot from the Umbrella Group, but he has not heard much from other individual European countries apart from the views already articulated by the European Union. He needed to hear from the otherEuropean countries, especially since all of them are key ‘donors.’