Latest text omits Bolivian proposals

December 6, 2010
by phil
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At half-way through the Cancun talks, the Chairs of the two working groups have produced two new draft texts. There had been rumours and fears that a secret text was being drafted up that would be sprung on negotiators, but in the end, the two draft texts presented on Saturday night are supposed to be built on previous drafts as well as building on discussions that have ensued in Cancun during the first week of the talks.

The new negoiating text for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2017) continues to include the Bolivian proposal of 50% cuts in greenhouse gases by developed countries by 2017, along with other options. Discussions in the Kyoto track are continuing despite Japan’s announcement that it would not make further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Japan’s position puts it in breach of its legal commitment under Article 3.9 of the Protocol.

Meanwhile in the parallel “Long-term Cooperative Action” negotiating track the Chair presented a text entitled “Possible Elements of the Outcome“. Negotiators are still digesting these two texts, but Bolivia gave its initial response in a speech to the conference on Saturday night. It described the text as “imbalanced” and noted many omissions:

Speech by Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

December 4, 2010 – Cancun, Mexico

Thank you very much, President.

We would like, first of all, to emphasize the great effort put forth on the part of Margaret in presenting us this text, which we will study very carefully. We would like to express in a preliminary manner that, nonetheless, we lament the fact that the imbalances in the earlier text have not been overcome in this second version.

Very quickly, some examples of what we mean: in this text, two degrees Celsius is still considered as an option, when clearly, various parties have proposed 1.5 and 1 degrees Celsius. We do not understand why this option continues to be chosen without first moving to a process of negotiation.

A crucial topic for the Bolivian delegation was contained in a paragraph establishing that any action related to climate change must preserve, respect, and guarantee human rights, a paragraph that continues to be eliminated despite the fact that it is in the negotiating text. We think that this is unacceptable.

Similarly, in the part regarding shared vision, in relation to the declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples, there continues to be a great omission. The proposal that we should also consider the impacts of war and the industry of war on climate change has also been eliminated from the text once again.

In the chapter on “various approaches” known as 1b5, the assertion that we are all in favor of the creation of new carbon market mechanisms is presented without brackets as though it were an agreed-upon option, when clearly, the delegation of Bolivia has expressed that it is against this.

And while we are forced to discuss carbon markets, the proposal of Bolivia that in these different approaches we should also consider the creation of a declaration on the rights of Mother Earth has been eliminated once again.

In relation to the topic of intellectual property in the chapter on technology transfer, we do not find any reference, and in the process of discussion this week we have made various alternatives to find a point of compromise, but none of that is present. It would seem that we are going to create a center for technology transfer that will in no way consider the issue of intellectual property, which obviously has an impact the topic.

The most serious thing, in mitigation, as the delegation of Brazil has expressed is the position of a great number of developing countries, is that we do not find reflected why here it is put forth that if we accept commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, we must accept at the same time a process of discussion on another binding agreement on the topic. This would never reflect the position of Bolivia and a group of other delegations.

We are going to put forth more observations, but this is simply to demonstrate that, for Bolivia, this is not a balanced text. It is the opinion of the president of the working group on Long-term Cooperative Action.

But clearly, it is not the text of negotiation of the parties, because the parties are not reflected here. And even if we are small countries, we all have the same rights.

Therefore, we ask that we return once again to a process of negotiation among parties on the basis of the text of negotiation /14, which is the text that contains all the positions of the parties, because in this text, the proposal of Bolivia is not reflected.

We believe, President, with all due respect, that we have to negotiate among states, and that we cannot continue to negotiate through the facilitators, or through the president of Long-term Cooperative Action.

This is a negotiation among states, and the time is now, a week after the negotiation has begun, for us to negotiate among states.

The facilitators, the president of the working group, have the right to present options to aid an approach between parties. But it is the parties that must discuss and negotiate their proposals.

Lastly, to finish up, we also have to analyze this document in light of what is happening in KP. Because for us, it is fundamental, and we have said it before, that in order for balance to exist, there has to be a second period of commitments in the working group on the Kyoto Protocol.

Thank you very much.

Bolivia has since issued a press release, New Text by LCA Chair is Imbalanced, All Voices Must be Heard:

In a press conference this morning at the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun, Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia said that a new text released yesterday by the Chair of the working group on Long-Term Cooperative Action is imbalanced, and excludes the proposals of Bolivia and many other developing nations. The main differences, Solon indicated, must be ironed out in negotiations among countries rather than unilaterally decided by a Chair.“Debates should continue on the negotiating text that includes the proposals of all parties,” Solon said.

Ambassador Solon enumerated some of the proposals by Bolivia that have been left out:

  • a consideration of the impact of war on greenhouse gas emissions
  • respect for human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples in climate policy
  • the creation of a declaration on the rights of Mother Earth
  • a definition of forests that does not include plantations
  • rejection of new market mechanisms that treat nature as merchandise
  • and the creation of a climate justice tribunal

Solon did note that one essential proposal by his delegation remains: a 50% reduction of domestic emissions by developed countries by 2017. He pointed out that this position is very much in line with that of most developing nations in the G77 and China, where the minimum demand is for a 40% reduction.

In response to accusations that Bolivia is blocking progress in Cancun, Solon said that his proposals are motivated simply by the desire to prevent the kind of disastrous rise in global temperatures that would condemn humanity to death.

“We have come to seek an accord for humanity and nature in its totality… The most current research indicates that 300,000 people die each year due to natural disasters. You’re playing with human lives,” Solon said.

Solon indicated that the recent revelation on Wikileaks that countries were pressured by the US government to associate themselves with the Copenhagen Accord was no surprise to the Bolivian delegates. Along with Ecuador, Bolivia had $3 million dollars of climate finanace withdrawn by the US in April 2010 as a result of refusing to sign the Copenhagen Accord.

“It confirms what we’ve been saying all along… That is not a climate negotiation, it’s an imposition. We will not be bought,” Solon said.

The Bolivian negotiator also indicated his intention to remain at the table during the entire course of the talks this week. “We will never close ourselves off from any kind of negotiation among parties,” said Solon.

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