Preparations on track for high-level segment of COP18

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Doha - Week one of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) in Doha, Qatar is proving to be a success as governments have successfully launched negotiations and are working hard to get decision documents ready for the attention of the high-level ministerial part of the meeting which starts on 4 December.

More than 100 ministers are expected to attend the high-level segment of the meeting which will be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, among others. The high-level segment of the meeting will end with a decision-making plenary on 7 December.

Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, said that work has been launched as scheduled in all the negotiating bodies.

"Governments have shown commitment here to achieve the objectives of this important conference, which must set the stage for a new leap in global ambition to respond to climate change," she said.

She reminded the conference that although international commitments to cut greenhouse gases and deal with the impacts of climate change are higher than they have ever been, they are still not sufficient to prevent the global average temperature rising beyond the 2 degree centigrade target that governments themselves have agreed to.

The Doha 2012 COP18 is expected to usher in a renewed commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, move the broad infrastructure of support they have been building for action in the developing world into firm implementation, and decide how to resolve policy issues that remain outstanding under the UNFCCC.

Governments that attended the opening plenary of the Kyoto Protocol expressed commitment to leaving Doha with the necessary amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.

South Africa is of the view that COP18/CMP8 is an implementation COP. "Doha should seek to secure and operationalise all the work mandated by the Durban conference," said Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson, Albi Modise.

This includes securing the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol and finalising negotiations under the Adhoc Working Group on Longterm Co-operative Action (AWG LCA), so that the AWG LCA can be terminated in Doha.

"If parties are not able to agree on the termination of the negotiations under AWG LCA, this will have a negative effect on the resolution of a complex set of issues to finalise the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Modise.

Over the next few days, governments will also decide on how to stick to the task and timetable they set themselves to not only reach effective, but also a fair and ambitious universal climate agreement that is to be adopted in 2015 and implemented in 2020.

They will also raise the current inadequate global ambition to address climate change and its impacts before 2020. The new body negotiating this is the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. -