A storm of anger from developing countries gathered strength at the climate change talks at Bonn over the weekend, ahead of the formal launch of the negotiations on Monday.
One hundred and thirty-four developing countries, under the G77+China umbrella group, rejected the controversial draft of the agreement for the Paris talks, due in November.
A leading voice of the G77 group+China said on condition of anonymity: “G77 & China group met today and have concluded that the (draft Paris deal) text is unbalanced and that the co-chairs have failed to fulfill their mandate to take into account the views of developing countries.”
Earlier in the day, African countries — along with India, China and other Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) — had demanded the two co-chairs leading the negotiations first ensure that developing countries are allowed to re-insert their views in to the draft text of the agreement and only then the negotiations begin.
The G77+China too agreed that this would be the only way forward. The group’s negotiator said, “On Monday we will demand that developing countries introduce their formally written proposals to restore balance in the draft agreement. This should happen without any country done opposing the insertion. Once that is done and the balanced restored then the new consolidated text will then become the basis of the negotiations by Tuesday morning.”
The Bonn talks is the last round of UN negotiations before 196 countries meet in Paris in November to hammer together a global climate change agreement. Country representatives had flow in ahead of Monday’s opening for back-room talks.
The first draft of the Paris agreement prepared by the two co-chairs had found strong opposition from LMDC.
These countries had found that almost all the issues of interest to them at the climate talks had been dropped and others inimical to their interests given greater priority. India had found several of its red lines breached by the draft agreement.
Xolisa Ngwadla, lead negotiator for the Africa Group, told Business Standard from Bonn: “The text contained in the informal note ADP.2015.8 (the draft Paris agreement) cannot be used as a basis for negotiation, as it is unbalanced, and does not reflect the African group positions, and crosses the group’s redlines. We intend to be constructive and help in the progress of the talks but this is not a text on the basis of which the African Group can negotiate.”
Sources in the LMDC group said the two blocks had met and found they were on the same page and upset with the draft agreement being blind to positions of the developing countries.
The two groups drew up common strategies for the talks beginning Monday. On Sunday, the two groups separately met with the co-chairs of the process (one is from the US and the another from Algeria) and informed them that the talks could not move ahead until the draft text was first revised. Later in the day, the entire G77+China group came together, in a rare sign of unity, to oppose the draft agreement.
“We tasked the co-chairs to come up with a text which would be the basis for negotiations. That means presenting the views of all countries cohesively and in a balanced manner including areas of convergence and divergence. Instead what we find is a compromise text being presented to us which is not a compromise countries have agreed to,” said a key negotiator from LMDC countries.
The official said the LMDC too had conveyed that the imbalance in the draft agreement threatened the success of the Paris agreement.
“The G77 group of more than 100 countries had given text-based proposals on finance but these were not taken into account at all. Our views are completely taken off the table. We find the provisions (in the current Paris agreement draft) vacuous. This has given rise to serious concerns in our mind about the success of Paris Agreement.”
African countries and the LMDC have both demanded that the first day of the Bonn talks should allow any country or group to bring back their proposals to the table without objections from others. The process of negotiations to reduce differences and bring consensus can begin only then.
Both groups have also said there should be a stock-taking meeting at the end of each day. “Unlike the last time where the co-chairs continued to negotiate the way they wished, here we shall take stock. At the first-stock-taking meeting, we shall assess if the representations of developing countries have been taken on board the draft text or not. Only then would negotiations begin,” said a negotiator.