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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Takes Stock as Barcelona Climate Change Talks Conclude

barcelona-climate-change6 November 2009: The resumed ninth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 9) and resumed seventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 7) were held from 2-6 November 2009, in Barcelona, Spain, bringing together approximately 3,100 participants.

The talks constituted the final round of negotiations under both AWGs before the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7-18 December 2009.

The Barcelona session sought to to continue streamlining text and to identify key issues and provide clear options for ministers to choose from in Copenhagen. AWG-LCA 7 focused on the key elements of the Bali Action Plan (BAP), namely: adaptation, finance, technology, mitigation, capacity building and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. It began addressing these issues based on several non-papers developed by the first part of AWG-LCA 7, which convened three weeks earlier in Bangkok. The AWG-LCA produced a series of new non-papers that will be compiled and forwarded to Copenhagen as an annex to the meeting report (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/L.4).

AWG-KP 9 continued discussions on Annex I parties' emission reductions beyond the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. At the beginning of the meeting, the African Group, supported by other developing countries, called for halting the AWG-KP's work on issues other than the “numbers.” This led to suspension of all AWG-KP contact groups until Wednesday, after agreement had been reached to devote 60% of meeting time to numbers and evaluate progress at the end of each day. The AWG-KP did not finish consideration of numbers or of any of the other issues included in its work programme, and will have to finalize its work in Copenhagen before reporting to the fifth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties (COP/MOP 5).

Speaking at a press conference on the final day of the meeting, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer highlighted the importance of immediate action following Copenhagen to help developing countries fight climate change. He noted progress in Barcelona on adaptation, technology cooperation, mechanisms to disperse funds for developing countries, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation from developing countries (REDD). Underlining that little progress had been made on mid-term emission reduction targets of developed countries and finance, two critical components of a deal in Copenhagen, he called for leadership at the highest level, in particular for “industrialized countries to raise their ambitions to meet the scale of the challenge we face.” [IISDRS Coverage] [UNFCCC Press Release]