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The Durban Platform process: sharpening the focus in 2013

Article by the ADP Co-Chairs

Jayant Moreshver MAUSKAR

Mr. Jayant Moreshver Mauskar of India

Introduction and background

The 2011 Durban Climate Conference provided a signal of renewed momentum for the intergovernmental climate process. The Durban Platform reflects the realization that business as usual is no longer sufficient, that the international community needs to develop a strong and united response to climate change post-2020, and that the gap between ambition and the requirements of science must be addressed with urgency. Innovative approaches and new ideas are required in the coming years to achieve both.

Harald DOVLAND

Mr. Harald Dovland of Norway



In Doha, Parties agreed on major milestones for 2013-2015, including: to consider elements for a draft negotiating text by COP 20 and prepare a negotiating text before May 2015; and to identify, in 2013, options for actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap. To advance the negotiations, Parties further agreed in Doha to focus their work in 2013 (please see the pdf-icon report of the ADP.

As we have outlined in our pdf-icon informal note on the upcoming second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2), Parties are expected to shift gears this year to take the work to the next stage. In this article, we consider the process under the current two ADP workstreams – to deliver the 2015 agreement and to enhance current efforts and bridge the “ambition gap” – and how the upcoming session of the ADP can contribute to move its work to the next stage.

ADP on the road to COP 21

The ADP does not need to reinvent the wheel for the road ahead to 2015. Work is not starting from scratch. Governments should seek to build upon their achievements to date, ensure coherence, and maximize synergies. In order to keep Parties informed about relevant developments, we intend to hold regular briefings by the Chairs of SBSTA and SBI on ADP-related issues from the April session onwards.

Furthermore, climate change is being discussed in all countries and at all levels. The ADP could therefore benefit from involvement of Ministers and Heads of State and Government. Recognizing the need for high-level engagement, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced in Doha his intention to convene world leaders in 2014 to rally support for the 2015 agreement. Involvement of stakeholders is also very important to the ADP process. Stakeholders from various constituencies are strongly involved in efforts to combat climate change, and could contribute much in terms of knowledge, preparedness and resources.

Parties should begin to focus on the 2015 agreement, and keep broad aims in mind as we move forward. The agreement will be under the Convention and in the context of global political, social and economic change, as well as of existing policy frameworks. We therefore urge Parties to consider not just its scope, structure and design, but how the agreement fits into a bigger picture – what would be captured in the agreement, and how it could add value to current and future international and national action on climate change. We have therefore sought to design the upcoming session in a manner which allows Parties to start to focus on the outcome in 2015.

The second session of the ADP

The second session of the ADP will be held 29 April to 3 May at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany. Governments will need to focus on elements of the 2015 agreement and take a practical and results-orientated approach to identifying actions and initiatives to accelerate near-term action. It would also be useful to take a longer-term view on the process and consider what would be needed by the end of 2013 to keep the ADP on track under both workstreams.

In April, as announced in our informal note, we will advance the work in workshops and round tables. In keeping with the request by Parties in Doha, the note suggests focused questions to facilitate the workshop and round table discussions (see annex to the pdf-icon informal note.)

Workstream 1:  2015 agreement

For workstream 1, ADP established modalities of work, developed a plan of work, and began to clarify key issues and concerns that will need to be addressed to reach agreement by 2015. Parties are expected to deepen their exchange on the overall vision for the 2015 agreement, on the possible contours and architecture of the 2015 agreement, on how the principles of the Convention will be applied, commitments will be defined, and differing national circumstances will be taken into account. It is important to begin to identify the elements of the broader package surrounding the 2015 agreement that will ensure it is acceptable to all and can be implemented from 2020. This year, Parties will move from a conceptual phase to a content-forming phase in preparation for a “text-forming” stage in 2014.

In this workstream, we have made arrangements for a workshop on scope, structure and design of the 2015 agreement. This will be followed by round tables which would seek to advance and refine issues raised by the workshop with respect to specific subject areas, namely mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation, and transparency of actions and support.

Workstream 2:  pre-2020 ambition

In 2012, Parties identified specific initiatives that could increase ambition; explored the role of means of implementation; and proposed further work to analyze mitigation benefits of the initiatives. Many emphasized that the workstreams should be separate but mutually supportive, and that adaptation is an important aspect of ambition. 

In 2013, we received many proposals on how mitigation ambition could be enhanced, including increasing ambition of existing pledges and new pledges. Many stress the importance of adequate support. The proposals also call for recognizing supplementary actions and other initiatives, such as: renewable energy and energy efficiency; action by ICAO and IMO; reduction of fossil fuel subsidies; and addressing short-lived climate pollutants and HFCs. Many proposals highlight the importance of working with stakeholders, and the need to create opportunities to reduce the costs of mitigation.

In this workstream, we have made arrangements for two workshops on: low-emission development opportunities and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation related to land use.  In addition, round table discussions will be held on catalyzing action and on building a practical and results-oriented approach to increasing pre-2020 ambition.

We believe that the format and issues under discussion at the upcoming session will allow Parties to focus their discussions and advance the negotiations.  We remain committed to engaging with both Parties and stakeholders as we move ahead in advancing the Durban Platform.