While the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Intersessions in Bonn happened a lot in the details for the decisions at COP 18. One of the most important things, I have learnt in Durban, is that these details (little words, number, the question of subjunctive or indicative etc.) are the most important thing, which are discussed, because one word can change the sense of a whole paragraph.
If you ask any Party, so a state, what is important to fight Climate Change, it will answer: “Education, public awareness and training”
This is definitely right. People need to know how they are affected by Climate Change and how they can weaken the effects of it. Giving the knowledge means causing public awareness because we as the worlds’ population should be aware of Climate Change. But until now not everyone knows about Climate Change, and even if they think so, some discuss Climate Change as God’s will (e.g. in the USA). To conclude this: education, public awareness and training are tools to empower society. In fact, this is Article 6 under the convention. It is about these three issues. In the two weeks of Bonn, Parties were discussing a new working-plan for Article 6, which will be concluded and finished in Doha. Due to this, it is called Doha Work Program.
This article of the convention is one of the main areas, the people of YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the UNFCCC (nearly every youth participant of the negotiations is a member or take part in it) focus on. The reasons are the points mentioned earlier. A lot of things were happening, and the real discussions about Article 6 began one Friday, the 18th of May. During this first afternoon informal consultation that were open to observers the states focused on a draft proposal by the G-77/China on the Doha Work Program. YOUNGO, CAN (Climate Action Network for ENGO (Environmental NGOs)) and Local Government and Municipal Authorities (one more network) identified issues that should be emphasized in the text, including: gender, local communities and specific reporting requirements. Dominica, for the G-77/CHINA, introduced their draft text which was divided into a preamble, recommendations to be considered for the Doha Work Program, the role of the Secretariat (responsible for the decisions and the convertion of the decisions) and intergovernmental organizations. The EU suggested the inclusion of a section on the role of parties in the work program. Australia and the USA discussed the proposed eight-year work program with a mid-term review in 2016.
After this session, most of the negotiations were closed or more: not open to observers. In the next days, it seemed to be good process, but really, really slow. One Tuesday of the second week, there were information about some steps backwards. This step weren’t public at this point, but rumors said, that the USA wanted to weaken some points, especially when there need to be done something. Another point, which was discussed, was the role of the UNFCCC Secretariat and how it can facilitate workshops. The main point of this was if these workshops shall take place on all areas as global, national and regional ones or only on a regional and sub-regional level. The Article 6 group also discussed the role of NGOs in this process under the convention. Two points were left unclear. The first was the supported cooperation of NGOs. Should it be between different regions and areas? Or between NGOs based in Annex I and non-Annex I countries? The second was, if the institutions and capacities of “developing countries” shall be supported to implement the work program. Many other gaps were discussed and real conclusions became a real possibility. But on the last two days, everything was hindered by the USA, saying that the Article 6 group should begin the discussion from the beginning.After that, the SBI agreed on the following, with the gaps mentioned above:
There was an agreement on an extension of negotiations. There will be two sessions; each has the length of 45 minutes, for a further discussion of the working program proposal in Doha. If this outcome will be changed is not sure. This is caused by the fact that was no funding for another intersession in Bangkok. Now there is funding by some states for it.
But all in all, the current proposal for the Doha Work Program on Article 6 is not ambitious.
So what needs to be done? The Work Programme has to promote an offensive way of education, leaded by the Parties of the Conference. This means, the text should not be filled with “reaffirm”, “accept” or “we can or we can not”. In the outcome the states need to say “we will do”. “Gender is a cross-cutting issue in all six thematic areas of Article 6” is a sentence in gaps, but it should be part of of the text due to climate change effects all means of our momentum lifestyle. This sentence allows a more interdisciplinary working within Article 6. But all in all, and very short: Article 6 needs more funding and stronger comittments to be implemented.