Without any pressing moderating duties, today was the first day I could actually just take in the negotiations and some side events. There does seem to a spirit of ‘getting the job done and getting the right people to do it’, however at the same time a few issues continue to be major bones of contention. The day began with a call to ensure that the negotiations were as gender sensitive as possible. As such, a request was made to check all COP government delegations and ensure that there was equal representation between men and women. Saudi Arabia pointed out that for the first time, they had two women on their delegation and would be taking measures to ensure that this was effort was improved and continued. It was interesting for me to reflect on the gender sensitivity issues with some experienced COP attendees, who expressed the idea that this could very well be a stalling tactic. Checking the delegations for gender sensitivity while a worthy effort, takes attention away from the pressing needs to finalize a new agreement. An interesting observation – I’ll let you decide what you think of it!
The COP is assisted by two subsidiary bodies - The Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). SBSTA links scientific, technical and technological assessments, the information provided by competent international bodies, and the policy-oriented needs of the COP. While (SBI) was created to develop recommendations to assist the COP in reviewing and assessing implementation of the Convention and in preparing and implementing its decisions. The negotiations in SBI also seem to be on a go-slow, particularly on finalizing the second commitment period of the new agreement. The developing countries are strongly arguing for a period of 5 years, while the developed countries are arguing for a period of 8 years. According to the developing countries, the extent of reductions developed countries are willing to make do not warrant an extra three years. It is the hope of many that finalized agreement on the second commitment period will at least be a Doha deliverable.
Another issue starting to heat up is on the reporting phase of the agreement through the BUR’s (Biennial Update Reports). Questions surrounding review and delivery of the reports remain to be agreed upon. It will be interesting to see how these issues develop in the days to come.
As an aside, I am absolutely in love with the paper smart scheme the organizing committee has put together! According to Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, the chairman of the organizing sub committee, 96 percent less paper than any other COP thus far has been used.
Again, feel free to tweet any questions or issues you may be specifically interested in! @dizzeeyvo