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Katowice: African bloc refuses to negotiate without its proposals on table

Developed countries block revival of G77 and Africa proposals on finance and global stock-take

Nitin Sethi  |  Katowice 

The procedural opening of the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Photo: @GlobalGoalsUN
The procedural opening of the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Photo: @GlobalGoalsUN

With ministers streaming into the conference, developed countries prevented the G77 group and Africa Group’s proposals to be brought back to the table. These proposals had been deleted from the draft rulebook to the in the first week of talks without the latter’s permission. The G77, the Africa Group and the like-minded Developing Countries had reached a compromise in late hours of Saturday to let the draft - without containing some of their proposals - be promoted to the second stage of negotiations despite expressing serious reservations against their proposals being junked. They had been reassured that the opportunity would be available till Tuesday this week to do so before the ministers take over the process.

In anger and protest, the Africa Group of Nations (AGN), representing all African countries, decided to not engage in any more technical-level negotiations on finance on Monday in protest.

“We did not participate today because parties (Developed Countries) did not want to agree on even previously agreed language when we were discussing Green Climate Fund guidance,” one AGN group negotiator told Business Standard.

The guidance to Green Climate Fund refers to the process by which the 197 countries collectively provide instructions on how the Green Climate Fund ought to work in the future, including how its funds should be replenished. The GCF is one the largest windows of funding available to developing and poor countries to access funds to fight

At the same time, in closed-door technical-level talks, the developed countries blocked any attempt to put back the G77 countries’ proposal to do the global stock-take on the basis of equity of not just mitigation, but also finance, adaptation, and technology transfer obligations of countries.

The global stock-take is meant to review how countries have done on these counts half-way down the first phase of the Developed Countries have pushed that the stocktaking exercise be done only for mitigation efforts and without considering the principle of equity and without accounting for historical emissions.

The G77 group comprises 136 developing countries and usually negotiators find it hard to ignore any collective proposal from all the countries under this group if they show a united stand. Yet, Monday saw the developed countries prevent the G77 proposal from being brought back into the talks.

Business Standard reviewed the proposal the G77 group proposed. It also reviewed the original European Union (EU) proposal that had, unlike the G77 proposal, found its way into the draft and would be transmitted to the ministers, unless it gets revised before the deadline.

“They have what they need in the text (of the draft rule-book). Now, they are blocking everything to make sure what we asked for is not re-inserted,” said an Indian negotiator.

Another African country delegate added, “It is hypocritical. They talk about progress, but they won't even accept back proposals that were illegitimately deleted and which they claimed they were agreeable. This is just bad faith. We are not willing to engage in this theatre. I would like to hope the Polish presidency and the ministers who take over from Wednesday are aware that our red-lines are being trampled upon at this stage.”

The Polish presidency has asked for technical-level negotiations to be continued till Tuesday, after which it would be left to pairs of selected ministers to help find the ‘landing zones’ on different contentious issues.

First Published: Tue, December 11 2018. 03:48 IST