It was only a year ago today that we were preparing for the climate COP16 in Cancun, uncertain if the 2010 meetings would finally result in substantial decisions on climate change or if we would see a repeat of COP15. Against a backdrop of lowered ambition and frustration, strong leadership and political will prevailed, and Cancun produced a set of decisions (see WEDO article on Cancun decisions), unparalleled since the Bali COP in 2007, to carry the process forward. The meeting helped restore faith in the UNFCCC multilateral process and built momentum for work in 2011 towards an ambitious outcome for people and the planet.
However, the 2011 meetings got off to a rocky start. The first negotiating meeting in Bangkok revealed that even after success in Cancun, several key issues remained unresolved, including:
- Finding a way forward for the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol,
- Closing the gap between Annex 1 emission reduction pledges and action,
- Defining fair and transparent measures to account for emissions reductions,
- Developing methodologies for monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRVs),
- Operationalizing the Adaption Framework, the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism, and REDD+.
After days of stalled progress, Parties set an agenda for 2011, agreeing to work in parallel on both operationalizing the decisions made at COP16 in Cancun and following the roadmap of the COP13 Bali Action Plan (see WEDO article on BKK meeting). During the June meetings in Bonn, Parties lost valuable time for serious negotiations on all four tracks of the climate talks as they disagreed about the addition of new items to the already very full agendas of the Subsidiary Bodies. After much deliberation the Parties were able to reach an agreement on an agenda, but as a result of this lost time, Parties hosted a third session in Panama City, Panama, to provide time for in-depth and focused negotiations and set the stage for COP17 in Durban.
The GGCA Advocacy Team continues to support progress on gender sensitive issues in all four tracks of the UNFCCC despite delays in the 2011 negotiations. The implementation of the Cancun Agreements is of great importance as many of the Cancun decisions have a gender perspective. In Durban, several decisions on adaptation, technology, finance and REDD+ relevant to Advocacy Team priorities are expected to take place. These include:
- Guidelines and modalities of National Adaptation Plans
- Adaptation Committee
- Outcome of the review of the Nairobi Work Programme
- Climate Technology Center and Network
- Green Climate Fund
- Standing Committee
- Long Term Finance
- Guidelines on how Safeguard Information Systems for REDD+ are addressed and respected.
From a gender perspective the outlook for these areas is somewhat promising. However, if the Parties are not able to reach decisions on other issues – including progress towards a 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and unresolved issues in the agenda items under the LCA – overall progress towards a post-2012 agreement will lack the urgency that climate change demands. As we move toward Durban, Parties must find areas of convergence in order to ensure that women, men, girls and boys can fully adapt to and mitigate the ever-more prevalent and severe impacts of climate change.