‘WE HAVE EN­GAGED ON IS­SUES WITH VERY DIVERGENT VIEWS’

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At the end of first week, what are the key ar­eas of concern for the G77+China group and ar­eas you are happy about?

It is dif­fi­cult to say what we feel good about be­cause, for any ne­go­tia­tor, you look at the it­er­a­tion of the text and au­to­mat­i­cally look for things that mat­ter to you, which are miss­ing.

Is there a long list for that?

Based on the feed­back I have re­ceived from our co­or­di­na­tors, there are sig­nif­i­cant is­sues on the Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (NDCs; tar­gets un­der the Paris Agree­ment). The is­sue of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion —of great im­por­tance to G77 and China — is not re­flected in any mean­ing­ful sense. Our stress is on ar­ti­cle 4.4 of the Paris Agree­ment, which is very clear about what de­vel­oped coun­tries must do and what de­vel­op­ing coun­tries should be do­ing.

Log­i­cally, there will be dif­fer­ent types of NDCs so you can’t have guid­ance (rules) that fits all. We aren’t happy with the man­ner, by which dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion has al­most been ne­glected.

We heard oth­ers from de­vel­oped coun­tries stress­ing upon the ex­act op­po­site. There are other is­sues but the cen­tral one is on NDCs.

Could you spec­ify what the flex­i­bil­ity in trans­parency frame­work is all about?

Flex­i­bil­ity is in­tended to ac­knowl­edge re­al­i­ties that de­vel­oped coun­tries have been re­port­ing at mul­ti­ple lev­els, for a num­ber of years, un­der pre­vi­ous obli­ga­tions.

Un­der the Paris Agree­ment they tran­si­tion from their cur­rent state of re­port­ing to an en­hanced trans­parency frame­work. Their tran­si­tion is go­ing to be rather smooth, but they are re­sist­ing even this en­hanced part of the trans­parency frame­work. In some it­er­a­tion and pro­nounce­ments on their part, we see some back­slid­ing.

For us (de­vel­op­ing coun­tries), we ac­knowl­edge it is go­ing to be an en­hanced trans­parency frame­work but we have not been re­port­ing the same type that they have. For us to meet the re­quire­ments of a trans­parency regime that we have, we will need mul­ti­ple types of flex­i­bil­i­ties based on ca­pac­ity and on na­tional cir­cum­stances.

What are the con­cerns on fi­nance?

Fi­nance is a cor­ner­stone of the agree­ment be­cause with­out ad­e­quate sup­port it would be very dif­fi­cult for us to meet the con­tri­bu­tions we would like to de­liver. Any con­tri­bu­tion we make will be bound by the sup­port we are con­fi­dent to find. This brings in the is­sue of pre­dictabil­ity of fi­nance and con­fi­dence, which, takes us to the famous ar­ti­cle 9.5 of the Paris Agree­ment.

On how G77+China has acted so far…

We have demon­strated by ac­tion that we are spar­ing no ef­forts un­der Egypt’s chair­man­ship, to reach out and take is­sues head on, talk frankly with our in­ter­locu­tors from the de­vel­oped world, and show the political will to reach an agree­ment. We are in­vested in the process as G77+China. We have been con­stantly en­gag­ing even on is­sues with very divergent views.

Please give an over­all view of where things stand as your group sees them…

We have is­sues with the big­ger pic­ture. Paris was a pack­age; a com­pre­hen­sive unit like any agree­ment. In or­der for us to do this — it’s been al­most three years of try­ing — we have had to dis­man­tle it into its com­po­nents and var­i­ous ar­ti­cles. Then we have had to work on each one of them, which has be­come a siloed process. What are the con­se­quences? One of them would be to have com­ple­tion in the silo mode but you still have to be able to look at them and see all parts that could be brought to­gether. This is the over­all bal­ance we look for.

Are you say­ing this bal­ance does not ex­ist at Ka­tow­ice?

I am say­ing it’s dif­fi­cult. When we use the bal­ance in any con­text, it means com­par­ing two things. But you con­tinue to look them in­di­vid­u­ally and not put them side by side as it is dif­fi­cult for you to make a de­ci­sion on whether the bal­ance is there.

Have you seen re­cip­ro­ca­tion from de­vel­oped coun­tries?

On some oc­ca­sions, we have man­aged to see very lit­tle good­will come across. Noth­ing has ma­te­ri­alised. Yet, we will con­tinue be­cause we have no choice. We un­der­stand as cit­i­zens of the world that stakes are too high. The NDCs as we see them now have put us on a dan­ger­ous trajectory.

The pres­sures are tremen­dous for so­cial, health and eco­nomic rea­sons. It’s about our chil­dren. We must step up and start a regime that will be ef­fec­tive in fight­ing cli­mate change, and help achieve the 2 de­gree tar­get to take us to 1.5 de­gree cel­sius. We shall work for an agree­ment, but not just any agree­ment.

We re­peat­edly tell the de­vel­oped coun­tries that if we set up a regime too de­mand­ing on de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, then the best case sce­nario to hap­pen will be that coun­tries will im­ple­ment and show the bare min­i­mum amount of am­bi­tion. And, that is def­i­nitely not what we want. We want the widest strong con­tri­bu­tion by ev­ery­one — small, mid­sized ones. We need ev­ery­one lift­ing their fair share of the weight.

Since US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he might walk out of the Paris Agree­ment, how have you seen things progress? What has the US been up to at the talks?

It’s dif­fi­cult to say. Of course we re­gret that, but the US is a sov­er­eign state and takes its de­ci­sions keep­ing in mind their na­tional in­ter­ests. We, as diplo­mats, have to work with what­ever sit­u­a­tions we are con­fronted with. The US del­e­ga­tion has en­gaged on many is­sues and con­tin­ued to par­tic­i­pate. Their of­fi­cial po­si­tion is that they shall con­tinue to par­take in ne­go­ti­a­tions and re­visit the is­sue in light of the out­come, to de­ter­mine if they will go ahead with the le­gal steps of with­draw­ing.

The US has a ma­jor re­spon­si­bil­ity for high emis­sions and obli­ga­tions to ex­tend sup­port to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. There­fore, we hope ev­ery coun­try in the world con­tin­ues to be part of the regime.

Some de­vel­op­ing coun­try ne­go­tia­tors sug­gest the EU is hid­ing be­hind US bel­liger­ence and is happy to bend back­wards to keep the US in the Paris Agree­ment on what­ever terms it wants. Would you agree?

I try to re­sist sweep­ing judge­ments of po­si­tions of coun­tries or group of coun­tries. I take things at face value.

What would your read­ing be then?

The EU, at least in my in­ter­ac­tion with them, have been hon­est in­ter­locu­tors. We see quite dif­fer­ently on many is­sues. But we con­tinue to in­ter­act and see dif­fer­ences within them, in their po­si­tions as de­vel­oped coun­tries, and that is quite nor­mal. At the end of the day, de­vel­oped coun­tries as a unit share a lot of po­si­tions and is­sues.

They would like to cre­ate a very strin­gent regime with high fo­cus on mit­i­ga­tion. At least in the ne­go­ti­at­ing rooms, we do not see the com­pa­ra­ble in­ter­est in is­sues of adap­ta­tion or even the ur­gency of un­der­stand­ing the is­sues of adap­ta­tion to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Some coun­tries are try­ing to help. The Adap­ta­tion Fund re­lies on gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tions from de­vel­oped coun­tries. All this is ap­pre­ci­ated, and will be un­fair to deny. How­ever, the needs of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are so tremen­dous that they re­quire more.

There is no donor and re­ceipt in this re­gard. This is not aid; this is a col­lec­tive ef­fort. I do not want to get into his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity but there are rea­sons for de­vel­oped coun­tries to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries have not con­trib­uted to any of the sit­u­a­tions we have been in, his­tor­i­cally, and right now the share still re­mains tilted in terms of emis­sions on the side of de­vel­oped coun­tries. They are mak­ing some ef­forts have their in­ter­nal is­sues.

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