Is There a Future For KJWA?

47086760_495482350942639_1883073697342816256_nThe Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) workshop met for an informal consultation to discuss lingering concerns. What was expected to bring answers and resolutions instead turned into a match between two proposals. This interruption left Parties frustrated, asking for an informal informal consultation on Friday.

The floor opened for Parties to discuss how to move forward from the Monday workshop. Immediately,  Parties began raising their flags to speak. We were in for whirlwind discussion!

Argentina took the mic first, speaking on behalf of G77 and China. The Parties have been working on substantive conclusions under Koronivia. The draft conclusion text includes points on creating a map of work done by the constituted bodies (CBs) and inviting the bodies to discussions. G77 is interested in inviting CBs to be involved with the KWJA roadmap and asking that KWJA have guidelines for the next workshops. This proposal was initially endorsed by several Parties until Kenya chimed in.

Kenya holds firm that the secretariat should work with CBs and other bodies under the Convention to create a timeline of what these bodies are doing based on the five workshop outcomes and the outcomes of Koronivia. Transparency is necessary going forward and Kenya is eager to move onward with Koronivia.

Just when the discussion picked up pace, New Zealand (NZ) proposed a workshop on a topic that has yet to be discussed at COP24. NZ didn’t think the workshop on Monday went far enough in the discussion because it did not provide a conclusion on modalities and gaps. Therefore, NZ proposed a workshop for KJWA to move the conversation of agriculture forward by organizing a workshop on livestock.

Kenya vocalized its opinion on this proposal by saying “the topic of livestock ighg-1s not supposed to be addressed till mid-2020, but now NZ is trying to bring the topic to 2019.” Its concern stemmed from timing and how it would affect the current Koronivia roadmap. Norway shared a similar view that the work under KJWA should be complementary to the existing roadmap. Nevertheless, it found the proposal to strengthen the roadmap by addressing issues in more depth.

New Zealand countered criticisms by saying “it wants the proposal to support and complement the roadmap and the issues facing agriculture are worth the extra look and time. This would be a technical deep dive that can only foster, not harm, the discussion.”

The European Union (EU) wasn’t buying it. “If the NZ workshop on livestock is additional to the roadmap, then more time will be needed to discuss this proposal.” It stressed that there is simply not enough time to discuss this since the topic of livestock is already supposed to be discussed at SB 50. That time should be adequate. Therefore, the EU is not opposed to moving to an informal informal consultation.

I remain fairly optimistic about KJWA going forward. The Parties undoubtedly feel the pressure of moving forward and want to find a resolution. They are asking all the right questions, but remain frustrated without answers. Parties are working through informal informal meetings to finalize a conclusion. I forecast that they will reach a text, but not without obstacles.