Wednesday, December 5, 2007

COP 13 Day Three: The Negotiations Continue...

Once again, today’s meetings had a particularly REDD flavor. The CMP meetings opened up with agenda item five, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). After opening statements by the Chair of the CDM Executive Board (EB) wherein he reported that in 2006, $6 billion was invested in new CDM projects, and in the same year $25 billion worth of projects entered the pipeline. He also acknowledged the difficulties that the EB has had with the lack of predictability of the Designated Operational Entities. Although there was much praise for the EB once the floor was opened, their were also strong calls to bring forestry projects into the fold of the CDM. However, a number of countries, such as the Portugal on behalf of the EU and Tuvalu, were quick to point out that additionally was an important issue to ensure that no one would cut a forest down merely to become part of a reforestation project. Such perverse results would clearly contradict the spirit of Kyoto. Finally there was widespread unhappiness about the lack of equitable geographic distribution of projects, especially (the lack of projects?) in Africa and the forestry sector and the need for a more effective management system within the EB.

In the REDD Contact group PNG was happy with the progress of the REDD agenda item, and continued to be vocal about calling for ambitious progress. A draft text regarding REDD has been in circulation since SBSTA in May of 2007 and is what is now under consideration by the delegates. The UK again reiterated that “the eyes of the world are upon us.” There were many calls for pilot projects and flexible approaches especially so that LDC’s could take advantage of forestry project potential. The US in typical fashion spent much of its time on the floor highlighting and pointing out the “disagreement” between the parties, yet also said they were encouraged by the text and stated that they found it “workable.” Ghana pointed out that REDD is “not achievable if it is not linked to poverty reduction” in light of the sustainable development aspects of both the Convention and the Protocol.

Over lunch time, TFG brought together a fabulous group of Balinese dancers who staged an interpretive dance about the link between man, nature and the ongoing destruction of the rainforests. The crowd was wowed and the press could not get enough as numerous REDD experts and country delegates made impromptu statement in favor of REDD!

Efforts in the afternoon continued in the Ad Hoc Working Group on a timetable to guide the completion of work in 2008 in anticipation of an agreement to further commitments for Annex I parties by 2009. The delegates were keenly aware of the immensity of work ahead of them and discussed the potential need for four sessions in 2008 and possibly the same in 2009. The mood was upbeat and included the possibility of new rules related to emissions trading and land use, land change and forestry (LULUCF), i.e. something that might go beyond the Marrakech Accords! In any case the work in Vienna and the idea of having a second commitment period by the end of 2009 perhaps will turn into a reality. We might see a singular unified Bali Roadmap by the end of the COP, and not a number of roadmaps. As Switzerland pointed out, because it is always tricky when different people are trying to get to the same place using different maps!

After three days of the COP, things seem to be on track, yet the real work and meaningful progress will almost certainly happen next week when the high level negotiations take place.

Bali Walp signing off...

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