To negotiations and beyond

ECO has become increasingly concerned about the slow progress towards negotiations based on draft text for the elements of the 2015 agreement.

The Co-Chairs’ approach to this task reminds ECO a bit of the movie “Groundhog Day”, where the main character relives the same day over and over again. Sure, the workshop approach has yielded some interesting exchanges of views and even a few new ideas. But the exercise of Parties continually repeating their well-known positions has its limits. And it seems to ECO that this should really come to an end now so that real negotiations can begin.

Negotiators will notice there is strong asymmetry between the various texts, with actual draft decision text for the INDCs and for Workstream 2, but only a Co-Chair’s paper listing Parties’ ideas for elements for the 2015 agreement.

This delay in moving to text appears to be rooted in fears of being overwhelmed by a comprehensive text running to several hundred pages and polarisation of Party positions. The fear of a long text can be addressed by Parties agreeing on a proper mandate for the Co-Chairs. Yet, the fundamental differences in positions are real. ECO believes it could help to bring them out in the open so they can be confronted directly by ministers and leaders.

ECO suggests that the Co-Chairs produce a draft negotiating text on the elements of the 2015 agreement before Lima. They can draw on the discussions here in Bonn, along with Party submissions (including any additional ones made over the next couple of weeks) to produce a bracketed text with options that reflect the range of positions of Parties.

The Co-Chairs could then be given the mandate to synthesise the various Party proposals to some extent, to avoid ballooning the text up to hundreds of pages, while still presenting a representative range of positions in a manner that is recognisable to the proponents.

Having the chance to engage in real negotiations around clearly defined proposals for the 2015 agreement, representing the full range of views of Parties, will create the conditions for finalising the INDC and WS2 decisions in Lima, as well as the long list of other ongoing work under the COP and SBs. Conversely, a continuation of the discussion format that we’ve experienced at the last two sessions in Bonn on the elements text will almost certainly not lead to agreement, and could jeopardise chances for agreement on the INDCs decision as well.