Bridge building 101: ADP in Lima

IISD’s final wrap of ADP2-6 came out in yesterday’s ENB.  Summarizing the session’s progress on its three priorities — the content of INDCs, more development of the Paris agreement’s elements, and a decision on enhancing pre-2020 ambition — the reporting service also expressed concern about the slow pace of the meeting and its impact on December’s negotiations in Lima.  “Despite a generally cordial atmosphere, many were concerned that parties were clinging to long-held positions, or even walking back from understandings reached in Durban and Warsaw.”

ENB logoOn INDCs, disagreement persisted on the Warsaw mandate’s scope, namely whether to focus on mitigation only (most developed countries’ position) or also include adaptation and tech transfer and finance (the last two being means of implementation or MOI), the position adopted by most developing countries.

In addition to substantive disagreements, ENB underscored the impact of two process issues: the fragmentation of negotiating groups and the lack of accord on work methods.  On the first, “some long-term observers” point out that “traditional country groupings are finding it increasingly difficult to reach common positions” as COP21 approaches. Specific examples cited were individual country interventions by Palau, Timor-Leste, and Tanzania, developing countries that would normally rely on their negotiating blocs’ (e.g. AOSIS, LDC, Africa Group, G77+China) positions.  One delegate concluded “we were asked to build bridges at this conference, but, as it stands, we are constructing bridges from our own positions and it is hard to see how they will join up, and, if we are not careful we will just build bridges to nowhere.”

draft textThe second process disagreement revolved around whether to negotiate in Lima based on the Co-Chairs’ draft texts (specifically the non-paper and draft decisions provided, as well as post ADP2-6 updates), continue a more conceptual discussion, or enter into text-based negotiations in smaller groups.  (Read here for more detail on closing plenary statements on point.) ENB concluded that the lack of consensus on how to conduct the negotiations “left some parties talking past each other as some addressed the Co-Chairs’ non-paper and draft decisions, while others focused on conference room papers submitted by country groupings.”  ENB predicts that this fundamental process disagreement could “potentially delay substantive discussions” in the ADP’s opening in Lima.

This edition of the ENB began with Christiana Figueres’ exhortation to delegates to “build bridges and find a path forward you can all tread together” and a Jimmy Cliff lyric (“many rivers to cross but I can’t seem to find my way over”).  Likewise it ended on this theme of constructing common approaches and the perils for COP20 absent them:

“As the week drew to an end, the importance attached by different groups to eachbridge building of three Lima pillars made it evident that a successful outcome at COP 20 would require skillful bridge building and balancing of issues, and possibly a much-disliked ‘package.’ While Bonn did not succeed in fully building the necessary bridges, delegates did manage to lay the groundwork for the main pillars of the expected ADP outcome in Lima. With only a few weeks remaining, and a multitude of rivers to cross, delegates will need to do their utmost to explore creative ways to build these bridges together, or failing that, they may need to learn how to swim.”