The Resilience to Push Through

Today was the last day for SBI/SBSTA and APA to draft a final text. The pressure, stress, and tension in each room could have been cut with a knife. The first adaptation meeting, SBI/SBSTA informal consultations on report of the Adaptation Committee, started by closing the room to observers. The second meeting, on National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), concluded in five minutes. There were no comments or arguments on the draft text and this will be offered to the Chair later today. The last meeting, APA Agenda Item 4 on Article 7, paragraphs 10 and 11, was highly debated.

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As I sat in the meeting room getting ready, there was a low mumble among Parties. Parties slowly trickled in after yet another long night of informal informals. Tensions were high and a couple of Parties approached the Co-Facilitators bench. After a brief conversation, they decided to close the room to proceed with informal informals. I am not sure what happened in this meeting, but I can only conclude that there was heated debate and a lot of compromise. I will discuss why this is my conclusion in the section about the APA meeting. The idea of resilience started from the beginning of the morning sessions, and it was a tough road to stay on.

The next meeting, about Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and NAPs, was extremely short. The negotiators in this meeting are slightly different between Parties. There are new faces from larger, more developed countries because they are afforded the luxury of having multiple negotiators with expertise in one area. But these new faces brought a lighter atmosphere to this meeting. The session concluded within five minutes and the rest of the session was spent by Parties congratulating each other for the time, effort, and resiliency. As with any diplomatic process, Parties spoke up and thanked everyone for the patience and many compromises. This meeting was a nice break and each Party showed resilience.

The last meeting is where I read the tea leaves to figure out how the informal informal this morning went. The meeting started out very different than others this past week. Parties were gathering in groups outside of the meeting room to finish discussions about the draft text. When the Parties entered, there was a sense of discomfort and dissatisfaction. When the meeting began, Parties who have not spoken at all this week raised their flags.This is because the second draft did not include crucial language from the first draft. It was like looking at a completely new text. Almost every Party that spoke expressed concern and used language that showed how upset they were about the draft text. One Party found it “unacceptable” that language was deleted between the two drafts. This Party continued to state that if paragraph 9 was the only paragraph with some specific language, the Party will absolutely not agree on the draft if paragraph 9 is deleted or rephrased.

One Party, who has been very vocal this week, did not speak at all. When this Party did not speak at the beginning, those in the room could tell that something went wrong in the SBI/SBSTA session. The meeting this morning is when resiliency should have been kept by this Party. Instead it looked like that Party had almost entirely given up. Given the comparison between the first and second iteration, that is understandable. There were plenty of other Parties who expressed concerns with the draft. I hope this Party pushed through and was resilient during the informal informal that occurred right after the session officially closed. As everyone becomes more tired and irritated, resilience is more important than ever.

There was no consensus or ability to agree in some of the meetings today. The Parties need to continue to push through to attempt to produce a draft conclusion tomorrow. As the G77 negotiator stated in the NAPs meeting, “thank you for the resilience.” Everyone lost something, but everyone gained something. By the looks of today, some countries gave up more than they were hoping. Today was a pleasure to watch and we will see how the texts affect Parties in the future.