… and back to Green? (or Yellow?)

On my long wet, walk in from the metro this morning (the Bella Centre Station itself has been closed due to “crowd control”) I was fortunate to bump into someone with the very latest on the REDD discussions, making Monday nights’ events seem more like a temporary snag, than a serious cause for concern.

The current 3.5 page version agreed last night reportedly retains the key text on safeguards of the previous 3 page draft. MRV for safeguards is not in the present version, but that is not to say that it will not be added at a later stage in the process.

It sounds as though the target is the major bit of the text that will be left open for Ministers to decide. This will be linked to the amount of financing that Annex 1 countries are prepared to commit. A key unknown remains whether or not funding for REDD will in fact be supplemental to other development assistance (e.g. supporting responsible forest management initiatives – a concern highlighted by FSC in this morning’s side event).

Apparently the facilitator Tony La Vina had to work very hard to drive the agreement through but negotiators were keen to avoid sending a text replete with unmade decisions to the Ministerial level. As one observer pointed out, it is in the interest of negotiators to decide the critical elements and know what is coming, rather than to leave all of the important decisions to Ministers and risk outcomes that are beyond their control.

In the same vein, I wonder … if we know that this is not going to end here (and we do), then perhaps there is an upside to leaving certain things out of the Copenhagen outcome, taking the time to give these elements more comprehensive consideration, rather than rushing through a commitment (and potential constraint) that has not been adequately thought through. Impressions of a rookie negotiations groupie perhaps, but something to think about when analyzing the outcome of the final agreement.

I am working on getting my hands on the latest text. Keep watching this space.

posted by Allison Bleaney, REDD-net

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