Guest blogger Ben Vickers reports on the climate meetings in Bangkok.
The marginal success of Cancun does not permit complacency. Negotiators have a job ahead of them, starting here in Bangkok, to keep the momentum going. But rather than rolling their sleeves up, there was a weary resignation permeating the UN building yesterday. Most of the delegates were up until close to midnight on Tuesday, with the nagging doubt growing in their minds that the Cancun Agreements had, in fact, agreed anything at all.
The Bangkok meeting will set the work agenda for the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) for the rest of the year. So it’s important to reach agreement on this agenda before getting down to business. But the Group of 77 developing countries (better known as the G77) sprang to alert when the Chair of the AWG-LCA issued a hastily drawn-up list of talking points which appeared, in their view, to be incomplete. The G77 then released an alternative agenda which included, in the view of many industrialized countries, the reopening of discussions they had presumed closed at Cancun.
As one of the headline issues from Cancun, REDD+ is on many lips, and is the subject of many informal discussions. Expert opinion is broadly satisfied with the direction of progress, as this recent booklet by RECOFTC shows . The G77 want REDD+ back on the agenda here, but the substantial follow-up discussions are currently scheduled for the next meeting of the technical body (SBSTA), which will meet in Bonn in June. This is when proposals on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) and social/environmental safeguards, for example, will begin in earnest. But one item which will surely be on the AWG-LCA agenda — market- or non-market based financing — is perhaps the key unresolved issue. See this report from the Environmental Defense Fund for the latest summary of the options.
By yesterday afternoon, an agreed agenda was still elusive. The solution, according to one Southeast Asian delegate, should be fairly straightforward — a bulleted list based on the broad agenda of the G77, with sub-bullets indicating the specific talking points identified by the Chair. But much more talk of bullets might have some negotiators yearning to end it all swiftly.