Sunday, December 9, 2007

COP 13 Bali, Saturday 08 December 2007

So for those of you that think that all those delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference have an easy life, having to do work in Bali and then take it easy after a nice days effort and then perhaps some pool lounging on the weekend, well, let me dispel that myth very quickly. Delegates may get Sunday officially off but essentially for those that are invested in the process, the work never stops. Its 5 minutes to six in the evening on Saturday and the REDD issues are still going strong, there is always so much work to be done, honestly, I don’t even know where the pool is my hotel is, and an I have been assured t’s a swanky one.

Today the official REDD negotiations slogged on as new draft text was available that seemed to make it look like the parties were a bit closer to consensus. It appears as if delegates are at lest agreed in principals that submissions for methodologies issues need to be submitted by 21 March 2008. This may seem like a long way off, but if one considers that forestry has been on hold (to a great extent because of lack of methodologies) for most of the last 10 years since COP 3 in Kyoto, it actually is potentially exciting. Additionally it seems that the parties have agreed that a workshop should be held by the next COP in an effort to iron some of these technical issues out. Progress often is slow within the UN process but it seems that regarding REDD, some sort of a roadmap may indeed be emerging.

Unofficially, REDD went into overdrive as CIFOR declared it Forest Day and held an all day session of side events, speakers, and other presentations at the Ayodo Hotel where hundreds of both NGO and country delegates showed up to hear from the scientists, policy makers, and interested parties about various perspectives on the REDD matter. Private companies seem ever more interested in REDD credits, even if they are only voluntary credits. It is clear that there is market for high quality forestry credit outside of the compliance markets yet there is a general lack of credits available for purchase that satisfy the discerning customers. Nonetheless, there is hope on the horizon as two governors of Indonesia, of Papua and Ache, at the Forest Day event, along with one governor of Brazil (Amazonia) signed a declaration that offers great hope for not only for REDD projects, but also schemes that respect indigenous persons rights.

Despite all of the work that is being done, the annual NGO party ended the evening in fine form at the Hotel Inna Putri, where many hundreds of NGO delegates gathered for an informal night of socializing and even a bit of dancing. Even the buzz at the party seemed to be enhanced by the apparent possibility of REDD document that will at least lay forth some sort of a roadmap from Bali for future progress that could include not only timetables but also the call for pilot projects. By early next we will have a much clearer picture. Stay tuned!

Bali Walp singing off!

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