UNDP Releases Review of Durban Outcomes and Challenges Ahead

UNDP28 April 2012: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has released a report titled “Taking Stock of Durban: Review of Key Outcomes and the Road Ahead,” which reviews: the UNFCCC history; the outcomes of the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, held in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011; and the opportunities and challenges that the climate change negotiations will face in the coming years.

The report, authored by Chad Carpenter, provides an overview of the package of decisions adopted in Durban, highlighting: agreement on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol; the launch of the Durban Platform on Enhanced Action for a long-term process with potential universal participation of all countries in the adoption of mitigation targets; the adoption of key features of the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and the launch of a process to reduce the mitigation “ambition gap” for avoiding the increase of the global temperature over 2ºC.

The report suggests that Durban provided the elements for a strong basis for a move towards low-carbon development, as all countries committed to an “outcome with legal force” for decreasing emissions, which implies a change compared to the Kyoto Protocol approach. It adds that only achieving “universal” participation in adopting legally-grounded mitigation targets, in the context of the Durban Platform, could make Durban “a landmark conference.”

The report closes by concluding that the final outcome in Durban was “the most ambitious option on the table,” underscoring that, while progress was made, key challenges remain to tackle climate change. On issues to be addressed by negotiators at COP 18, to be held in Doha, Qatar, at the end of 2012, the report highlights the need to: agree on pending details for implementing the Cancun mechanisms; adopt countries' mitigation targets under the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period and agree on its year of finalization; and start negotiations on a new post-2020 legal instrument to be agreed upon by 2015. [Publication: Taking Stock of Durban: Review of Key Outcomes and the Road Ahead]