The 5-year mission of the AWG-LCA is about to end, without going anywhere very boldly, or finding much new life. The frustrated and deeply divided crew of the USS Bali are already packing their bags, and preparing to jump over to the Durban Platform as soon as they dock in Doha in a few months.
The AWG-LCA will leave in its wake some new institutions, actions and achievements on various fronts, which may yet prove their worth. But in one crucial area there remains a gaping hole – sources of financing for the next year and out to 2020. Without adequate scaled up financing, most of what has been achieved by the LCA will be merely an empty shell. Yet with three months to go, there are no firm commitments or assurances of financing after 2012, when the Fast-start Finance period ends.
Having created the Work Programme on Long Term Finance, and mandated it to report directly to the COP in Doha, developed countries in the LCA are now claiming mission accomplished. That is clearly not the case. Right now, there is little confidence that scaling up climate finance will be given the attention it so desperately deserves.
Once the report of the Work Programme is finalised, there will only be a short window in the Doha COP itself to consider its contents and recommendations, decide on the scope of a COP decision and generate and negotiate the actual text. This is a risky strategy, and is unlikely to do justice to the issue or the Work Programme report, especially since some developed countries are keen to shut down any discussion of scaling up finance.
This is why ECO backs the call by developing countries to keep finance on the LCA agenda and work up some draft text here in Bangkok for a decision in Doha. Political decisions are needed that guarantee sources and scaling up of financing. These are a central element of efforts to achieve the objectives of the Convention and ensure it won’t drop off the agenda or be sent to languish in the SBs.
The list of finance issues that need to be addressed in Doha, either by reaching some conclusions or finding a future home, is substantial. The LCA can lay the groundwork now for an adequate outcome at COP18 by getting some clarity on the scope of the issues to be addressed, and creating some draft text. Of course, the final decision will only be decided in Doha, informed in many areas by the report of the Work Programme on LTF. When the COP considers the report of the Work Programme on LTF in Qatar, it can be informed by the deliberations of the LCA, and perhaps then find creative ways to divide up the different issues requiring decisions.
So what issues need decisions in Doha?
1.) Commitments of climate finance from 2013 to 2020, or at the very least for the mid-term period from 2013-2015. There must be at least a doubling of Fast-start Financing levels from 2013, with agreed criteria for new and additional finance
2.) Commitments to the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, of at least US$10-15 billion over the period 2013-2015
3.) MRV of financial support
4.) Outstanding institutional issues
5.) Clarification of where ongoing discussions about the various elements of long-term finance will take place after Doha – whether in the Standing Committee, as a continuation of the Long-term Finance Work Programme or under the ADP.
ECO sees potential benefits and downsides of different options for continuing the finance discussions beyond COP18, and urges an open discussion among Parties on the issue. And let's not forget that adaptation finance needs a suitable home, too…