by Christine Campeau
Greetings from the UNFCCC intersessional informal consultations in Bonn, Germany. Today marks the first day of what will be three weeks of formal negotiations – beginning here at Bonn III and continuing through to the first part of the seventh session in Bangkok at the end of September to early October, 2009.
Now that the inputs have been provided by the Parties and incorporated into the text, the main objective of this new phase of work is to begin trimming down the current 200+ page document into a more workable size. The good news is that what is needed in order to have a solid legal text in time for Copenhagen can realistically be achieved. We have witnessed it in the past with the Kyoto Protocol, in which approximately 180 pages was whittled down to 28 pages a matter of 6 months.
Another reason for optimism is that a large portion of the current text is repetitive, it lacks structure and it has several parallel issues all of which can be streamlined with straightforward editing measures. However, due to a bit of misinformation, many delegates have showed up without reading the text in full and feel completely unprepared to debate the language. Despite this mishaps, this should not be a reason to not move forward with the process.
An additional expectation from Bonn III is to set the agenda for the rest of this week and hopefully, for the work that needs to be done in Bangkok. A technocrat attending the meeting said “the text is messy because we’ve made it messy… now we just need to clean it back up.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this can be accomplished in a timely manner without sacrificing the most vital issues. We need to ensure that the priorities of the most vulnerable people and countries are salvaged in the negotiating text for the duration until Copenhagen.