LDC Group’s opening statement at 17th AWG-KP session (May 2012)

Statement by the Gambia on behalf of the Least Developed Countries at the opening of the 17th session of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Countries under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)

Bonn. 15 May 2012

Madam Chair, the Gambia has the honour to speak on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The LDC group wishes to associate itself with statements made by Algeria on behalf of the Group of 77 & China, Swaziland on behalf of the African Group, and Nauru on behalf of Alliance of Small Islands Developing States (AOSIS).

We would like to express our appreciation to the German Government and the Secretariat for their continued support and the excellent facilities that have been made available for this meeting.

Madam Chair, the LDCs attribute great importance to building on the Durban momentum and boosting all aspects of the negotiation process to ensure an ambitious agreement in Doha. Central to this is reaching a conclusion to the work of the AWG-KP.  The Kyoto Protocol currently represents the only legally binding architecture for reducing emissions in a quantifiable way for the pre-2020 period and agreement on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol into a second commitment period was a core component of the Durban package.

Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that we resolve all outstanding issues relating to the KP here in Bonn- with the highest possible ambition- so that we can adopt all the necessary decisions on the Kyoto Protocol for a robust second commitment period covering the widest scope of emissions possible in Doha. Waiting or postponing or further weakening is no longer an option.

We welcome the confirmation by the EU, Norway and Switzerland of their participation in the second commitment period and their leadership shown. We urge them to put their QELROs on the table as soon as possible and honor the spirit of cooperation that led to the agreements in Durban. We look forward to working with them to build a meaningful second commitment period of the KP.

However, we are disappointed that other Annex I Parties have not come forward with their submissions. We urge those countries to not to turn their backs on those of us in the front lines of climate change and on the multilateral system. We would like to remind them that failure to commit to a 2nd commitment period would create grave consequences on multilaterally agreed international framework and jeopardise the prospects of success under the Durban platform. We therefore urge them to send this message home and ensure their countries commit to QELROs before the session here in Bonn ends as agreed in Durban.

Madam Chair, for Doha to be a success, agreements must be reached on three key areas under the KP negotiations

  1.  Adoption of all proposed amendments, including agreement on the way to convert pledges into QELROs;
  2.  Length of the commitment period; and
  3.  Carry-over of surplus assigned amount units (AAUs).

On the adoption of QELROs, we reiterate our view that commitments by Annex I parties in aggregate need to see reductions of 25-45% below 1990 levels by 2020 as outlined in the IPCC’s AR4 report. We are also alarmed to note that the most recent UNEP “Emissions Gap” report indicates that the gap between projected global emissions in 2020 and levels consistent with a pathway to keep global warming below 2C – let alone the 1.5C target needed – is widening. The ambition of our emissions reduction commitments must be increased before 2020. There is therefore a most urgent need for Parties to the KP to move quickly to the top of the range of their current pledges, and to prepare QELROs which start at the emission levels committed at the end of the first commitment period.

As we have been emphasising, the length of the commitment period needs to remain 5-years, from 2013 to 2017, in order to ensure that inadequate ambition is not locked in for 8 years. This will ensure that mitigation commitments are able to respond to the IPCC 5th assessment report due late 2014. If emission commitments are set for an 8-year period, until the end of 2020, then it is only the IPCC 6th assessment report (likely due 2019) that will affect mitigation obligations. We would like to remind the developed countries that climate change is already affecting us- the poor and the most vulnerable-, it is essential that domestic situations do not hamper what is urgently needed at the national and international levels.

We also urge Parties to commit to the provisional application of the proposed amendments as an interim measure pending their formal entry into force, and to begin making appropriate arrangements at a national level so that Parties arrive in Doha with a mandate to make such a commitment.

Madam Chair, The issue of surplus AAUs has still not been resolved but represents a large risk to the emission reductions from the targets if these units are allowed to be carried over in full. A number of suggestions have been made to address this problem and agreement must be reached to ensure an effective outcome based on delivering environmental integrity to the Kyoto Protocol.

To ensure emission pathways in the future are feasible to meet the goal of staying well below the 1.5°C global temperature goal, the level of ambition need to be increased in the pre-2020 period.

We recognise that many Annex I countries who have not yet confirmed their participation in the second commitment period wish to continue participating in the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. This is unacceptable. Eligibility to participate in these mechanisms must be conditional on having binding Annex B QELROs during second commitment period.

Madam Chair, it is worrying that some developed countries are developing what appears to be unilateral systems for Project-based crediting of emission allowances that can be used to meet their obligations under the international climate regime. We are concerned that the major consequence of such processes would drive a stake through the concept of environmental integrity and believe such unilateral systems undermine the integrity of a multilateral-based international regime. We invite those countries to reconsider their approach, which diverges from the Convention system.

Finally Madam Chair, the amendments to the KP must preserve and enhance the environmental integrity of the current system as recognized in decision 1/CMP.7 and provide a robust and ambitious basis to build on when designing the future regime post-2020.

Madam Chair, as always, the LDCs stand ready to find solutions to all the outstanding issues under the AWG-KP and commit to working together with all Parties to reach an ambitious outcome which can keep the Durban momentum going.

We hope you will steer the process towards adopting all necessary amendments in Doha. Let us avoid the distractions thrown in by Parties who want to jump ship, and once again clear away the conditionalities and strive for continuity just as we did in Durban.

I thank you Madam Chair.

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