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Negotiation Factor 2: Impact of Negotiation Process Organisation

The co-existence of two parallel negotiation tracks between 2007 and 2012 (AWG-KP and AWG-LCA) increased the flexibility of the overall negotiation process with respect to specifying the role of the major emitting countries (developed countries and rapidly growing developing countries). The Kyoto-track AWG-KP was limited as it was built around the strict division between developed (Annex I) and developing (non-Annex I) countries. Moreover, the USA was not a Party in the AWG-KP negotiations.

The long-term climate action track (AWG-LCA) did not have these problems, at least to a much lesser extent. Although developing countries continued to focus on the importance of differentiation between developed and developing countries,

AWG-LCA negotiations became increasingly inclusive, with the USA and with all developing countries around the table discussing potential actions. In fact, when the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012, as the main outcome of the Kyoto negotiation track, a few countries really seemed to care that it only covered 15 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions (see earlier in this chapter).

Box 5.1. Negotiation meetings held between 2005 and 2015

From COP-11 in Montreal (2005) through COP-21 in Paris (2015), the following formal negotiation sessions were held to agree on a continuation of

the Kyoto Protocol and a post-2020 climate policy regime:

  • - 11 sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP).
  • - 11 sessions of the Conference of the Parties serving as Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP-MOP).
  • - 21 sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advise (SBSTA).
  • - 21 sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).
  • - 15 sessions of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (AWG-DP).
  • - 17 sessions of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).
  • - 15 sessions of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).

Similar to earlier climate negotiation processes discussed in this book, the 20052015 process was characterised by many meetings (see Box 5.1). The parallel negotiation tracks each had their own meeting schedule, which were supported by the meetings of the subsidiary bodies, and which reached their peaks at the annual sessions of the COP. Similar to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations between 1995 and 2005, an important advantage of a high density of meetings was that no big steps were needed; many small steps with carefully selected accelerations were enough. Only twice during the process, much pressure was placed on a COP session, in Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015). The pressure in Copenhagen became too heavy as the Danish Presidency tried, with its own text, to leap to an agreement. The pressure in Paris was well-managed. World leaders opened the COP to give the negotiations a head start, after which professional negotiators had two weeks to prepare texts in informal groups and come to an agreement to be sealed by their ministers. Also here, several small steps in a row during the two weeks of ‘Paris’ turned out to be very effective.

Finally, between 2005 and 2015 negotiation texts became increasingly owned by the negotiators, who met at all the COPs and the preparatory sessions, rather than seeing their texts being overruled by ministers and heads of state and government during the high-level sessions of the COPs. In Copenhagen, many negotiators were not involved in writing the text of the Copenhagen Accord, which caused reluctance to adopt it eventually. At later COPs, especially in Canchn and in Durban, it was reassured that there were no President’s texts, which was affirmed by organising the negotiations in several participatory sessions. Such a participatory approach in open meetings was repeated in Paris so that the final text of the Paris Agreement was written by negotiators and politically fine-tuned by their ministers.

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