A Tale of Two AWGs

5 April 2011

While waiting (and waiting) for the AWG-LCA to begin, ECO thought it prudent to educate itself on the topic that seemed to be keeping everyone up late into the evening.  Turns out that one word was holding everyone up: “Agenda”. 

What does it really mean? Why does such a seemingly simple word cause such consternation and hungry dinner-less evenings?

Merriam-Webster defines “agenda” in two ways.  First, it says an agenda is “a list or outline of things to be considered or done”.  Seems pretty straightforward to us. ECO outlined this list of needed things to be considered in yesterday’s edition. Dear delegates, it was so easy – We even devoted a whole page so it could be easily presented!

However, the second definition from Merriam and Webster began to shed a light on what may have been delaying the evening’s events.  The second definition interprets “agenda” as: “an underlying often ideological plan or program.” 

In the AWG-KP, earlier in the day, the agenda in both senses of the word was clear.  Agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and fix its loopholes.  As was said, time and again, the politics must be dealt with so the details can be agreed.

But, what ideological plan should the AWG-LCA use to underpin its work?  This too, is actually simple, despite the long discussions. Take the steps necessary to implement what’s been agreed, and move forward towards increasing ambition and achieving a comprehensive fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement as soon as possible.

With this in mind, ECO welcomes the proposals made to include the critical elements missing from the Cancun Agreements, such as increasing the level of ambition in order to close the gigatonne gap, identifying sources of finance to fill the fund. ECO further agrees with many parties that items on elaborating further measuring, reporting, verification guidelines, and agreeing on the legal options for an agreed outcome should be included as well.

It was a long night of lists and ideology. ECO hopes today will be a day of agreement and action.

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