Steering the ADP Decision Ship

You don’t turn a ship around quickly. A-U.S.-naval-ship-in-the--007Kishan Kumarsingh and Artur Runge-Metzger, Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) have had the Captain’s task of steering global negotiations on 1) defining Elements for a draft negotiating text for a 2015 Agreement and 2) drafting a COP Decision that is to be finalized in Lima to define the implementation of all the elements of Decision 1/CP.17.

Despite this slow-moving process, new draft texts were provided first thing this morning by the Co-Chairs – which were synthesized from last week’s negotiations – and were the focus of the morning discussion.


Immediate reactions by Parties were mixed. Some developing countries, including Bolivia, Nicaragua, China and others were very concerned about the nature of the new text documents, and in particular the draft COP decision.

In addition, many felt the new title on the Elements document indicated a shift from a more neutral Non-Paper format as was previously provided, and questioned the legal status of this new version. They also felt there was a bias, where some concepts discussed last week were brought forward in the new text, and some were not adequately reflected. Nicaragua stated that the new approach appears to be a “very well refined Copenhagen.” The bottom line was that all parties should be privy to drafting text, with opportunities provided for a line-by-line negotiating approach.

Norway, taking a bit of a different view, proposed in order to have a “fruitful discussion on a textual basis, it would be impossible to start with a compilation document.” Instead they proposed working with the current draft to identify where convergence lies. Japan also strongly relayed reservations with the new texts. But realizing that there is only a very short time left in this COP Japan suggested that steps must be taken on the basis of the new text presented.

Addressing the obvious wake of reactions by Parties to the new ADP texts, the Co-Chairs affirmed that there is NO legal status to these documents, and it is the Parties that must decide on the legal principles. The drafts presented by the Co-Chairs were self-described as a “synthesis in the true sense”. As Captains of the ship, they brought together different proposals presented from last week, to “let cook and boil”, but understanding that it does not necessarily reflect consensus by all. This is instead the challenge ahead for Parties to navigate.