After four days of backroom consultations with all the countries, the Katowice climate change conference finally saw the emergence of a few proposals for agreement on the deadlocked issues, which, initial analysis suggested, seemed loaded in favour of the developed countries, and did not address many key concerns of the developing countries.
The proposed agreement texts, that were released late on Thursday night, covered all the issues, including those related to finance and transparency, that have proved to be extremely contentious in the framing of the rule-book of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is what the negotiators are trying to achieve here. The rule-book will contain the processes and guidelines that will govern the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“Paris rulebook at risk of being a total washout,” ActionAid, an NGO which is one of the several observer groups present at the negotiations, said in a tweet in its first reaction to the proposed texts.
The draft texts released on Thursday night are just proposals. Negotiators will work on the draft and changes can be made. More such texts are expected to come out on Friday, each one improving on the previous version and reflecting a greater degree of agreement and narrowing down of differences. Under the UN system, a final agreement can be reached only through consensus. The two-week conference is scheduled to end on Friday but, as has happened in all recent years, is expected to go into extra-time.
The draft texts propose a single, uniform mechanism of reporting of climate actions by all countries, ignoring a key demand of the developing countries that a differentiated mechanism be adopted, keeping in view the differing capacities of many of them. Under the Paris Agreement, every country is required to periodically submit information about its climate actions, and the kind of impacts these were having. The nature and extent of information to be provided needed to be made a part of the rule-book. Developing countries had been arguing that a different, and simpler, set of details be asked from them since many of them did not have adequate resources to collect very detailed data.
The current proposal acknowledges that developing countries might need technological and financial support in collecting and processing this data, and commits the developed countries to provide this support. However, the provisions regarding this support are currently under brackets, meaning they are up for negotiation.
Several other concerns of the developing countries, including those related to finance and differentiation, have not been adequately addressed. “The current draft will make a number of countries unhappy. But these are not the final drafts. We are likely to see a lot of changes in these,” said one observer present at the negotiations.
The countries had not yet reacted to the texts since they were still going through it.
The draft texts were prepared after taking inputs of all the countries in the last four days of consultations. Several informal groups had been formed, each supposed to deal with one contentious issue. Each of these groups had two ministers as co-facilitators, one from a developed country and the other from a developing nation.