The 14th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) held recently in Arusha, Tanzania. Among the key resolutions in the Arusha Declaration is the endorsement of the updated common African position on climate change as the basis for negotiations by African States on strengthening the international climate change regime through full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
AMCEN affirmed that the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol constitute the fundamental global legal framework on climate change, and that the climate change negotiations in Doha (26 November – 7 December) must conclude agreed outcomes in line with the Bali Road Map as well as progress under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. It called for outcomes of the Doha conference to be based on science, equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, reflecting the latest scientific, technical, economic and social information, as such outcomes will significantly influence efforts to secure Africa’s sustainable development.
The ministers resolved further that a long-term global goal must include ambitious short-, medium- and long-term mitigation commitments by Annex I parties (developed countries), reflecting their historical responsibilities, and an equitable and appropriate contribution to the global effort, as well as the provision of adequate means of implementation – finance, technology and capacity-building – to enable Africa to address its adaptation needs in particular.
They encouraged Annex I parties to the UNFCCC that are not parties to the Kyoto Protocol to undertake commitments under the Convention that are comparable in magnitude and effort and are measurable, reportable and verifiable through an agreed set of common accounting rules and a compliance framework (the key countries in this group are now the United States and Canada).
AMCEN also called on developed country parties to urgently scale up support for the implementation of adaptation measures and plans, through, in particular, the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the Nairobi Work Programme, and to support and expedite work to understand, reduce and compensate for loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including impacts on agriculture.
On funding, the ministers called on developed country parties to provide new and additional resources to the climate funds under the Convention, in particular the Green Climate Fund, as well as the Least Developed Countries Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund and the Adaptation Fund, which are currently the only financial means to fund adaptation under the Convention.
On the work to enhance ambition under the Durban Platform to adequately address the need to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius, AMCEN emphasized the urgent need to reflect ambitious commitments under the Bali Road Map in order for Annex I parties to reduce their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2017 as an equitable and appropriate contribution to achieving the objective of the Convention.
AMCEN called for efforts under the Durban Platform to reflect all principles and provisions of the Convention, including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in order to limit the increase of global average temperature to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius while ensuring equitable access to sustainable development and the sharing of atmospheric space and resources, taking into account cumulative historical responsibility and the use of such resources by Annex I parties.
The ministers also agreed on a set of key messages for the upcoming Doha climate negotiations.
Key messages on climate change negotiations for the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
1. We, African ministers of the environment, recognize that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and represents an urgent and irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. We express our deep concern that the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous human interference with the climate system is closing, with a growing risk of run-away climate change and catastrophic impacts for natural ecosystems and humankind, particularly in Africa.
2. We reaffirm that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol constitutes the fundamental global legal framework on climate change and that all actions or measures related to climate change must be in full conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular those of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
3. We reaffirm that achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication are the priorities for Africa. We recognize that today Africa faces numerous, severe and growing negative impacts arising from of climate change and that these impacts are undermining Africa’s efforts to attain its development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
4. We note with concern that wealthy Annex I parties increased their emissions by approximately 8 per cent between 1990 and 2008. We further express concern that the current inadequate mitigation pledges, in particular by Annex I parties, are likely to lead to an increase of the global average temperature of greater than 20C – and possibly as much as 50C – threatening catastrophic impacts worldwide, and particularly for Africa due to its high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and low adaptive capacity.
5. We acknowledge that there is an urgent and immediate need to avoid further loss and damage to Africa and call for an intensified action, in particular by Annex I parties, to reduce their emissions in line with the information set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and more recent scientific studies in a way that will limit the global average temperature increase to well below 1.50C.
6. We are aware that, despite the urgent threat facing human societies and the planet, the mitigation pledges by Annex I parties in the context of the climate change negotiations amount to less than the voluntary mitigation pledges by non-Annex I parties. We recall that the Convention requires Annex I parties to make equitable and appropriate contributions to achieving the objective of the Convention and therefore stress that Annex I parties should show leadership, including through raising their level of ambition to the scale required by science and equity.
7. We urge Annex I parties to provide scaled-up new and additional financial resources to enable developing countries, particularly to countries in Africa, to mitigate and adapt to climate change without diverting scarce resources required for poverty eradication and other sustainable development objectives.
8. We recognize that Africa needs its fair share of atmospheric space in order to meet its development needs, and acknowledge that this may result in increased emissions.
9. We note that in the absence of increased ambition, the projected emissions of Annex I parties would consume almost half of the 44 Gt emissions budget for 2020 that is estimated by the United Nations Environment Programme to have a likely chance of limiting temperature increase to 20C or less, thereby limiting the atmospheric space available to non-Annex I parties and allocating to the Annex I parties an excessive share of a global atmospheric resource.
10. We express concerns that rather than increasing their ambition some Annex I parties have refused to ratify, or have withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol or intend to do so. We further express concern at the apparent intention of some Annex I parties to move away from a legally binding regime applicable to them into a weaker pledge-based regime, while shifting the burden to non-Annex I parties.
11. We reaffirm that adaptation is an essential priority for Africa and that there is an urgent need for immediate and adequate support for the implementation of country-driven adaptation measures and actions through the provision of grant-based public resources including through direct access to the Green Climate Fund and other relevant financial entities.
12. We also recognize, in this context, the importance of agriculture to Africa and reaffirm our recommendation that a comprehensive work programme on agriculture in non-Annex I parties is to be established under the Adaptation Framework, and that agriculture is to be addressed as a matter of priority in relation to the mitigation commitments of Annex I parties. We confirm that Africa’s emissions, including from the agriculture sector, are low and that most of the global emissions from the agriculture sector derive from industrialized, subsidized and fossil-fuel intensive agricultural practices in Annex I parties, and that the overriding priority for Africa in the agriculture sector is food production and rural development.
13. We express concern about the lack of clarity on long-term financing of results-based REDD+ activities in phase three. We call for a transparent process for the provision of adequate and equitable long-term financial resources. We further call for the establishment of a simplified structure that would allow broader participation of countries in accordance with their national circumstances.
14. We recall that the effective implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions by non-Annex I parties depends on the fulfilment by Annex I parties of their commitments relating to financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity building. We recognize, in this context, the insufficient transparency and slow disbursement of the financial resources pledged by developed country parties as “fast start” finance for the period 2010-2012 and indications that only a small proportion of these resources are “new and additional”, and we call on Annex I parties to fully implement their commitments relating to financial resources and the transfer of technology as an important step towards addressing the common challenge of climate change.
15. We further call for an agreement in Doha on scaled-up public resources to be provided by Annex II parties commencing in 2013, building on lessons learned from fast start finance and reaching a scale adequate to meet the needs of developing countries up to 2020 and beyond.
Negotiations under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto
16. We reaffirm that the outcome of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must be based on science, principles and provisions of the Convention. Such an approach must include ambitious short- medium- and long-term mitigation commitments by Annex I parties that reflect their historical responsibility and an equitable and appropriate contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change, and the provision of adequate means of implementation – finance, technology and capacity building – to enable non-Annex I parties to address mitigation and adaptation.
17. We reiterate that the climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should produce: (a) an amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol regarding further mitigation commitments of Annex I parties for a second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under the Kyoto Protocol; (b) a set of outcomes in line with the Bali Road Map regarding an agreed outcome on long-term cooperative action to enhance the implementation of the Convention; and (c) a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention addressing mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, and capacity-building through the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) no later than 2015 to come into effect and be implemented by 2020.
18. We call on all parties to respect the balance of the outcome at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, held in Durban, South Africa. We urge Annex I parties to join us in ensuring an ambitious and legally binding second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, an ambitious and comprehensive set of outcomes under the Bali Action Plan to ensure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, recognizing that progress in the ADP negotiations is premised on successful conclusion of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). We affirm that these three negotiations are interlinked and that new discussions under the Durban Platform must build on conclusions agreed in longstanding negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention.
19. We emphasize that work under these negotiations must be carefully balanced and sequenced to ensure that Annex I parties take on equitable and adequate mitigation commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, that parties achieve the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention in accordance with the Bali Action Plan, and that the ambition gap on mitigation and means of implementation is closed prior to 2015 to ensure the highest level of effort by all parties, as a sound basis for negotiations towards a new protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome for legal force under the Durban Platform.
20. We call on all parties to join us in preserving and building on the architecture of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol developed over almost two decades, and we warn against the unravelling of the international climate change architecture into a weaker regime based on “pledge and review” for Annex I parties, as this will undermine environmental integrity thus increasing the risk to the African continent of climate change. We call on all Annex I parties to fulfil their commitments through an ambitious and legally binding second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, comparable efforts by Annex I non-Kyoto parties, as well as full implementation of commitments relating to adaptation, finance, technology transfer, capacity-building and related matters.
Implementing the Kyoto Protocol
21. We call on developed country parties to the Kyoto Protocol to honour their commitments through ambitious mitigation commitments for a second commitment period and to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent during the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 and by at least 95 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as an equitable and appropriate contribution to achieving the objective of the Convention. We stress the urgency of concluding all issues for a second commitment period in Doha and of elaborating measures to avoid a gap between commitment periods.
22. We confirm that negotiations towards a new agreement under the Durban Platform must not detract from agreement of ambitious further commitments for Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol. We join other developing countries in confirming that the second commitment period shall end in 2017 to avoid locking in low levels of ambition by Annex I parties until 2020, which would risk extremely dangerous levels of warming and an inadequate contribution by Annex I parties towards addressing climate change. Individual contributions by Annex I parties are to be agreed and converted into quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs) for inclusion in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol to be adopted in Doha and further urge those Annex 1 parties that have not submitted their QELROs to do so.
23. We call on Annex I parties to ensure the environmental integrity of their emission reduction commitments, and to guarantee an equitable and appropriate level of domestic emission reductions, by closing existing loopholes, limiting the use of carbon markets and project-based mechanisms to 10 per cent of their quantified emission reduction commitments, and ensuring the additionality of carbon credits.
24. We recognize that the continued existence and effectiveness of the Adaptation Fund is contingent on an ambitious second commitment period by Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol, including ambitious emission aggregate and individual reduction commitments as well as the effective closure of all loopholes, as a precondition for a functioning project-based mechanism and delivery of carbon credits. As a means for increasing funding for the Adaptation Fund we call for financial resources to be raised through a levy on emissions trading and other carbon mechanisms and markets.
25. We reiterate that Annex I parties that do not sign up to the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and have therefore not taken on a legally binding QELRO under the Kyoto Protocol, shall not have access to the mechanisms established by the Kyoto Protocol, including emissions trading, joint implementation and clean development mechanism.
Implementing the Convention
26. We reiterate the importance of fulfilment by all parties of their commitments under the Convention and call for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action to continue its work to reach an agreed outcome pursuant with decision 1/CP.13 (the Bali Action Plan) and conclude its work in Doha in accordance with decision 1/CP.17.
27. We emphasize that avoiding dangerous interference with the climate system and achieving a global goal of limiting temperature increase to well below 1.5ฐC will require an integrated approach based on science, equity and the principles and provisions of the Convention. We are concerned that temperature increases above 1.5ฐC from pre-industrial levels pose catastrophic impacts to poor and vulnerable people and communities worldwide, in particular Africa, and is inconsistent with the fundamental objective of the Convention.
28. We recognize that a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050 and the time frame for global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions cannot be undertaken in the abstract and will necessarily involve matters related to the context of such considerations including ambitious short, medium and long-term mitigation commitments by Annex I parties that reflect their historical responsibilities and an equitable and appropriate contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change. We confirm that a long-term global goal for reducing emissions by 2050 and a time frame for global peaking can only be understood in the context of a global goal for adaptation, finance, technology support and the implications for economic and social development in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
29. We welcome the operationalization of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, in particular the Adaptation Committee. We urge the Adaptation Committee to expedite its work on facilitating the support process and implementation of national adaptation actions and plans of non-Annex 1 parties through the relevant linkages between the finance and technology mechanisms of the Convention.
30. We affirm that adaptation activities should be funded at full cost through direct and simplified access to adequate, new and additional public grant-based financial resources, following a country driven approach, as well as to environmentally sound technologies and capacity building in a predictable and prompt manner as part of a balanced package on all issues to implement the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
31. We urge that measures should be taken to expedite work on strengthening international cooperation and expertise in order to understand, reduce and compensate loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including impacts on agriculture, water, human health, and other economic and non-economic losses related to extreme weather events and slow onset events.
32. We reiterate concerns about efforts by Annex I parties to move away from a legally binding into a weaker “pledge-based” regime, the conditional nature of Annex I pledges, the low level of mitigation ambition and the associated party specific rules and accounting methodologies which may undermine environmental integrity and significantly reduce the contribution of Annex I parties to the global mitigation effort by 2020.
33. We call on Annex I parties that are not parties to the Kyoto Protocol to undertake legally binding commitments under the Convention that are comparable in magnitude and effort and are measurable, reportable and verifiable with regard to mitigation and the provision of financial and technological resources. We call for the development of an agreed set of common accounting rules and a compliance framework for Annex I parties that have not subscribed to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to assess their quantified emission reductions.
34. We reaffirm that a firewall must be maintained between mitigation commitments of Annex I parties that are legally binding in nature and appropriate voluntary mitigation actions by non-Annex I parties.
35. We stress that the extent to which non-Annex I parties will effectively implement actions under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation and fulfilment by developed country parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources, capacity-building and technology development and transfer.
Means of implementation
36. We welcome the adoption in Durban of the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund and stress the need for concrete outcomes on the long-term finance work programme and the work of the Standing Committee. We call for enhanced transparency in the provision of support through a common reporting format, definitions and methodologies.
37. We note the pledge by developed country parties to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020, and reiterate Africa’s position that developed country parties should by the year 2020 provide scaled-up financial support based on an assessed scale of contributions that constitutes at least 1.5 per cent of the gross domestic product of Annex I parties, in order to curb climate change and meet the needs of non-Annex I parties to tackle climate change and its adverse effects.
38. We note with concern the gap between the end of fast start finance in 2012 and the $100 billion pledge by 2020. We call on Annex II parties to significantly scale up the provision of new, additional predictable and adequate resources in the interim period. We also call on those parties to contribute to the Green Climate Fund and to accelerate its operationalization with a view to addressing the most urgent adaptation needs of developing countries.
39. We emphasize the need for an appropriate body under the Convention with respect to mobilization of financial resources to address the ambition gap on finance, and to look beyond the short-term financial constraints faced by developed countries, in order to raise in a predictable and identifiable manner the amount of new and additional funding necessary and available for the implementation of this Convention and commensurate to the adaptation, mitigation and technology needs of developing countries, and establish the conditions under which that amount shall be periodically reviewed.
40. We stress the importance of ensuring direct access to financial resources for all developing countries through a transparent process, ensuring equitable allocation taking into account geographical and needs based criteria, a balance between adaptation and mitigation, and grant-based funding for adaptation activities.
41. We emphasize that public finance should be the main source of funding to ensure the sustainability, predictability and adequacy of funding, bearing in mind that private and market finance can play a complementary role.
42. We stress the urgent need to fully operationalize the technology mechanism in 2012 and taking into account the need to resolve the outstanding issues such as the link between the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and its network, the operationalization of the Advisory Board, the identification and removal of all barriers preventing access to climate-related technologies and the appropriate treatment of intellectual property rights, including the removal of patents on climate-related technologies for non-Annex I parties.
43. We welcome the Durban Forum on Capacity-building and call for its further development through the establishment of a work programme. We acknowledge the creation of performance indicators for monitoring and review of capacity building is paramount. We further stress that capacity building activities should not be left to the private sector.
44. We welcome progress made in Durban in the establishment and operationalization of effective and accountable institutions under the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties in relation to adaptation, finance and technology transfer, including the Cancun Adaptation Framework, Green Climate Fund and Technology Mechanism. We further call for the prompt effective, and full operationalization of these institutions including through the provision of required financial resources to ensure these institutions are not “empty shells” and that adequate financial resources, including for time-bound deliverables and work programmes, are available for action in developing countries, particularly in relation to adaptation, mitigation and technology development and transfer.
Negotiations under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
45. We welcome the successful launching of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention addressing, inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, and capacity-building, as well as the workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition to identify and to explore options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap.
46. We express satisfaction with the adoption of an agenda and initial exploratory discussions among Parties in Bangkok. We look forward to the successful completion of the mandates to implement the Convention (AWG-LCA) and Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in accordance with the Bali Road Map, as part of the Durban package. We call for ambitious and comprehensive outcomes under the Bali Roadmap, noting that unresolved items under this negotiation shall be dealt with in appropriate bodies under the Convention, including the Durban Platform.
47. We stress that the negotiations of a future legal outcome under the Durban Platform are under the Convention and, as a result, all of the principles and provisions of the Convention apply including the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The outcome must reinforce a fair, multilateral and rules-based regime that brings into effect the right to equitable access to sustainable development, sharing of atmospheric space and resources taking into account cumulative historical responsibility and use of such resources by Annex I Parties, with the principle of equity reflected in all aspects of a future agreement.
48. We stress that the outcome must fulfil the objective of the Convention including a limit in the increase of global average temperature to well below 1.5ฐC. We emphasize in this context the urgent need to reflect ambitious commitments under the Bali Road Map in order for Annex I parties to reduce their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2017 as an equitable and appropriate contribution to achieving the objective of the Convention. We further reaffirm that the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol thereto are the multilateral platform for climate change action, as such additional actions under the ambition work stream of the Durban Platform require agreed transparency, accounting, and recognition provisions. To enhance action by developing countries a clear process to scale up the means of implementation including finance, technology and capacity to support is necessary.
49. Finally, we affirm that the outcome of negotiations should culminate in an enhanced multilateral rules based regime that implements the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol thereto through a common vision covering global goals relating to temperature, global emission reductions and trajectories, adaptation, finance and technology transfer in the context of an equity reference framework, as well as means to record additional specific commitments by Annex I parties and contributions by non-Annex I parties, operational mechanisms with dedicated funding, work programmes and deliverables, and arrangements for accountability, compliance and review.