Informal meeting to give fresh impetus to negotiations
By Anne Eckstein | Friday 30 April 2010
Environment and climate ministers from around 45 countries will meet in Petersberg (near Bonn, Germany), from 2 to 4 May, in the framework of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, on the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The idea is to determine certain political positions prior to the next UN negotiating session, in Bonn from 31 May to 11 June. The 45 delegations will represent the industrialised countries, developing countries and emerging economies. Apart from Europe, which is sending seven ministers and Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, the United States and major emerging economies - China, India, Brazil and South Africa – will be present, as well as Africa, small island states (Maldives, Grenada and Barbados) and vulnerable countries, like Bangladesh.
Chancellor Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderón will inaugurate the conference together and the informal discussions will be chaired jointly by German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and his Mexican counterpart, Juan Rafel Elvira Quesada, who will chair the Conference of Parties to the Climate Convention and the Kyoto Protocol (COP16) in Cancun. The ministers will strive to identify the next steps needed to ensure concrete results in Cancun (December 2010). Debate is expected to focus on certain key issues and on follow-up to the Copenhagen Accord and its place in the United Nations process.
Participants will try to restore confidence among the parties. Six working groups will explore: mitigation (reduction of emissions) and reporting and follow-up methods, adaptation, the carbon market, finance, technology development and transfer, and reducing emissions from deforestation.
The meeting is not expected to adopt any conclusions or formal recommendations. The aim is more to facilitate the relaunch of the UN negotiations at the end of May in Bonn. Delegates to the Petersberg Dialogue will also promote decentralised initiatives, seen as an effective way to take the negotiation process forward by setting up cooperation and experience-sharing.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is “encouraged” to see signals from the EU and the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) that they are determined to continue efforts to achieve a legally-binding outcome at the latest at the Conference of Parties in South Africa in late 2011. “The Petersberg Dialogue is a welcome initiative after the disappointing outcomes of the Copenhagen summit,” notes the NGO, which wants governments to “urgently give political guidance to put the UN climate negotiations back on track and to end the vicious cycle of lack of trust and ambition”. Negotiators should be directed to resolve important issues, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), adaptation, financing aid to the developing countries, technology and the outlines of a mitigation framework. The NGO also calls on ministers to recognise the “dangerous gap” between the emission reduction pledges made since Copenhagen and the reductions needed to keep global warming below 2°C and stabilise it at 1.5°C over the long term. “This can create the trust needed to tackle the more difficult issues to put in place a fair and ambitious legal framework in 2011,” notes the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Participants will try to restore confidence among the parties