Cartagena Dialogue unifies vision ahead of Doha COP 18

by Agnes Winarti on 2012-10-18

Twenty-nine of the 42 member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) incorporated in the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive Action gathered in Bali on Wednesday to strengthen their vision on the urgency of pushing legally binding commitments to address climate change for the 194 countries attending the upcoming UN Conference of Parties (COP) 18 in Doha, Qatar.

The three-day Cartagena Dialogue will be held just a couple of months before the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol at the end of this year, while from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7, COP 18 will take place in Doha.

Adopted at the 1997 COP 3 in Japan, the Kyoto Protocol targeted reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent against 1990 levels over a five-year period from 2008 to 2012. By the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol this year, a new international framework needs to be negotiated and ratified to deliver stringent emission reductions, as stated on the UNFCCC website.

“The important thing is, this is what unites Cartagena, we want a legally binding agreement that will apply to all. The Kyoto Protocol will end in about three months time, we want a legally binding agreement where all the countries in the world will make commitments. Maybe these commitments will be different [for each country], but we all need to take on commitments,” director of economic, environmental and social affairs from the Colombian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Paula Caballero Gomez, said on the sidelines of the ninth Cartagena Dialogue on Wednesday.

The 29 participating countries year at the ninth meeting of the Cartagena Dialogue include Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and United Arab Emirates, as well as representatives of the European Commission.

The Cartagena Dialogue, consisting overall of 42 developed and developing countries, was born in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2010, in the aftermath of COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. COP 15 only produced the Copenhagen Accord, while there was no legally binding pact agreed upon after the US, Brazil, South Africa, India and China hammered out last-minute deals.

Indonesia’s former environment minister and chairman of the Climate Change National Council (DNPI) Rachmat Witoelar recalled that since the Bali Roadmap had been formulated by COP 13 in 2007, multilateral commitments by the developed countries had yet to be realized in concrete financial forms. The Bali Roadmap includes the adoption of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) to cope with climate change, the development and transfer of technologies, and the review of financial mechanisms.

“Since the Bali Roadmap was formulated, in essence, it expects developed countries to financially assist developing countries in climate change mitigation, because the developed countries have largely contributed in the destruction of the climate. There have been bilateral agreements, but there have yet to be any multilateral agreements from those developed countries,” said Rachmat, while citing that Indonesia, among the most vulnerable developing countries, had taken its own national development measures in line with climate change mitigation and adaptation. “We have a target of 26 percent reduction of emission by 2020 and we are running on track,” he said, citing the 2011 presidential regulation No. 61 (Perpres) that stipulates a national action plan on greenhouse gas
emission reduction.

Last year’s COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, resulted in the Durban Platform, which pledges to adopt the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol alongside a new global protocol or a legally binding instrument for emission cuts to be operational in 2020. The 194 countries that attended the Durban conference agreed to start pledges to contribute initial funds to help developing countries launch mitigation and adaptation efforts. Commitments to contribute to the Green Climate Fund were expressed by four countries, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain and South Korea.

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