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Updates from the Front 01
The First 3 Days

A Friday Jet-Lagged Workshop

I arrived in rainy and chilly Bonn in the morning of May 31st and, after checking at the hotel plunged straight to an informal dialogue called “Workshop on International Institutional Architecture Relevant to Address Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change” which I got invited to and by the Government of Norway.

The workshop was a generous and heroic attempt by Norway to cut down the crap in the LD negotiations so parties can proceed in negotiating substance (i.e. institutional arrangements, modalities, work program).

But despite the kilometric title, there’s not really much in the presentations except what UN agencies are doing on climate change.

The usefulness perhaps is it was a refresher on DRR frameworks and architecture, emerging frameworks on climate services, and building resilience.

What may be considered as the workshop highlights are the presentations from Jamaica which clearly illustrated the impacts of slow onset events on marine resources, that from UNDP which stated that there is really nothing much being done on slow onset events, and of course Oxfam’s (through Stephannie De Chassy) presentation on “institutional transformation for a changing climate”.

And I somehow have the feeling that the Norwegian Process is actually trying to salvage the LD talks by offering less contentious issues for the possible convergence of parties after the red lines were drawn in the Montego Bay (Jamaica) dialogue last March.

Pito-Pito Gets Started

Not much came out from the June 1 coordination meeting that was spent mostly on confirming and identifying the group’s coordinators for the SBSTA and SBI sessions.

(The Philippines has been asked to coordinate “matters related to agriculture” but we cordially refused that group promises to be a blood bath. Furthermore, we are under instructions from the Head of the Delegation that we take a break and not accept anymore coordination duties for the year since we have done enough last year).

In the meeting with the SBSTA, the Chair presented his provisional agenda and appealed to his G77/China colleagues to help him resolve issues especially on the impasse on agenda item 9 on matters related to agriculture.

Egypt will be again coordinating agriculture in behalf of the LMG and G77/China, and the initial reactions I observed from his fellow AG-ers as this was announced tells that this will be another tough one for him.

Perhaps the AG should first resolve their issues and coordinate among themselves to prevent another Doha incident where certain members of the group launched a renegade text and ganged up on the G77/China coordinator which effectively scuttled the negotiations.

On the SBI, G77/China parties sought clarification from the Chair on the inclusion of Annotated Provisional Agenda Item 19 on “Procedural and legal issues relating to decision-making by the COP and the COP serving as the meeting of parties to the KP” that was introduced by Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

This is in fact the residual effect of the hot air surplus-related tantrums of Russia from Doha.

G77/China feels that the inclusion of the agenda will trigger a drawn-out agenda fight on SBI because they will surely raise procedural issues on the matter whose accommodation will be unprecedented.

The SBI chair promised to discuss the matter with the Umbrella Group.

Whatever happens next, the matter will surely bring the sparks out in tomorrow’s SBI plenary opening.

A Sunday Workshop

This last workshop of the Norwegian Process on LD certainly did a lot with parties agreeing on a process that will guide the negotiations from Bonn to Warsaw.

The process will include:

  • In Bonn: unpacking the Doha mandate, conducting a scanning of existing institutional arrangements, and identifying the gaps towards a arriving at a draft decision text at least on the institutional framework;
  • Between Boon and Warsaw: holding another informal dialogue with inputs from the technical paper on non-economic losses and the draft results from a capacity assessment on LD of institutions under the Convention.

It was also agreed to start discussions on the work program on LD which will be launched after COP 19.

Logistics

For this session, I am billeted separately at the Hotel Haus Berlin while the rest of the Oxfam Team will be staying the Hotel zum Adler.

That means an additional daily walking task of some 600 meters to the subway station.

My understanding is only Jan and me will be here for Week 1 while the rest of the team (Tracy, Riza, somebody from Australia) will be arriving on Week 2.

It’s lonely here in my basement room but the bigger space and bed are certainly most welcome.

I look forward to meeting the team soon.

Meanwhile, I make this report, email it, and finally enjoy some rest before the games start tomorrow.

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