With this statement, ADP Co-Chair Kishan Kumarsingh opened this week’s special session of the ad hoc negotiating body this morning. Mandated by the COP17 decision taken in Durban, South Africa in 2011, the ADP must produce “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” that will take the place of the Kyoto Protocol after its second commitment period ends in 2020. Starting almost 1.5 hours late (which meant that this writer’s 4am wake up in Ohio was unnecessary), the morning plenary meeting covered opening statements by the co-chair, incoming COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres before moving into interventions by negotiating groups. Webcasts in the 6 official UN languages had to stop at 1:30pm, already a half hour later than the translators planned, when the Russian and Saudi negotiators protested (in English) not being able to communicate in their national languages. And so the morning session was carried over to the afternoon, and the start of the contact group listed on today’s daily programme will be pushed back. In addition to watching the ADP negotiators via webcast, we observers can follow the discussions via live tweeting at the hash tag #ADP2014. (NOTE: The live tweeting is especially useful when sessions are not webcasted.) As alway, CAN International provides its daily take on the negotiations, as does IISD via the Earth Negotiation Bulletin (ENB). This inaugural issue of the session’s ENB does a particularly fine job giving an overview of the ADP negotiations to date and of recent, related meetings outside the UNFCCC that provide important context.
Executive Secretary Figueres reminded assembled negotiators of the run-up to this special meeting and how their actions this week would be viewed. She described the UN Climate Summit in New York as “never before” have 120 state heads come together on one day under one roof to make pledges. Given these public statements of commitment to the UNFCCC negotiations, Figueres admonished that “your heads of state have assured the world, now eyes turn to you, delegates, on your work this week.” Despite the co-chair’s warnings that “sticking to positions is not negotiations” and about the “futility of stalling on positions,” several negotiating blocs have staked out familiar ground. For example, the G77+China immediately underscored the need for the Loss and Damage Mechanism to take its place as a sixth element of the new agreement, standing separate from adaptation, while the Umbrella Group focused on the need for a more concise, streamlined document in Lima, with Workstream 2’s focus on pre-2020 ambition important but balanced with “intense” Workstream 1 talks about mitigation elements in the Paris agreement. An array of documents prepared by the co-chairs and UNFCCC Secretariat staff may be found here. State Party submission on point are linked here.
Stay tuned. This week’s special ADP session runs through Saturday, October 25. As VLS COP20 blogger whitneyb noted, “[w]ith increased virtual participation via social media, an active FaceBook page for UNFCCC and a plethora of citizen groups pushing climate change awareness, WE MAY ALL HAVE A VOICE and a front row seat (at least, in front of a laptop).”