Daily Update #3 COP18 UNFCCC Doha

The impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security took centerstage in negotiations today, with the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) agreeing to source and make available to parties technical advice on agricultural adaptation. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) was also discussed by this subsidiary bodies and agreement was reached on how to provide guidance to countries on long term forest monitoring.

Vanuatu and AOSIS made headway in bilaterial negotiations with the United States and the Umbrella Group (US, Australia, Norway and Japan). With the US, we made a strong case that their lack of leadership in the climate negotiations is severely hampering global progress to prevent dangerous climate change. On the positive side, the United States has committed to support AOSIS in lobbying for proactive workshops on how to increase emission reduction ambition in specific sectors like energy, infrastructure and tourism. The Umbrella group, especially Japan and New Zealand, are very clearly feeling the pressure from Vanuatu and AOSIS position that they should be excluded from accessing the flexible mechanisms like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) unless they agree to sign up to a 2nd commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

On the issue of Loss and Damage, Vanuatu has proposed text that would establish a special responsibility within the UNFCCC that would consider those climate impacts that are too severe and beyond the capacity of countries like Vanuatu adapt. Vanuatu has also proposed that we spend more time now looking at the substance of the issue of loss and damage, rather than get bogged down in the kind of group or committee that should consider this issue. In loss and damage, AOSIS would like to see a regional risk-sharing or insurance facility that would compensate countries for major climate damage.

Several side events were of relevance to Vanuatu today, especially a session in which SPREP presented on the regional Pacific Portal and made mention of Vanuatu’s new NAB portal www.nab.vu. There was discussion on possible future collaborations with the Vanuatu NAB portal and software developers of two cutting edge programs called weAdapt (weadapt.org) and CRISTAL (www.iisd.org/cristaltool).