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UN Convention on Climate Change Pre-COP Meeting

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 8 November 2007

Between 23 and 25 October, I attended the pre-COP ministerial conference of the parties meeting in Bogor, Indonesia. The traditional purpose of the pre-COP ministerial is to narrow down the range of options likely to be discussed at the Conference of the Parties (COP), later in the year.

The UN climate negotiations beginning in Bali this December will be crucial if we are to secure a comprehensive international framework by 2009. The Bali meeting must see the launch of broad and comprehensive negotiations that include all parties and all relevant issues. The pre-COP meeting was a valuable opportunity for Ministers who will be negotiating in December to begin to map out and explore the difficult issues and to start building consensus for some of the essential elements.

The meeting was successful. The EU has done a lot of preparatory work on options for the structure of post-Bali negotiations. The meeting helped to test these propositions against the emerging views of other key players and identified where common ground and potential trade-offs exist with other items on the agenda for Bali. It highlighted many points of consensus between 40 parties present on some key issues, such as: the need for a Bali roadmap towards a fair and balanced multilateral framework beyond 2012, and the need for a process under the convention to further explore and negotiate contributions from developing countries to this framework alongside the continuation of negotiations on further commitments for developed country parties under the Kyoto protocol.

These provide a promising foundation for the discussions in Bali, but perhaps even more valuable was the opportunity to get into the detail on the type of process that needs to be put in place at the COP and on substance. Building trust and developing a full understanding of the positions and concerns of other parties on matters of substance is essential if we are to secure an ambitious outcome in Bali.

There is now considerable support for launching broader negotiations but there is also a range of views about what those broader negotiations could look like. Some parties are committed to securing one process encompassing all the current tracks in the negotiations on future action, while others want to see the convention and Kyoto tracks remain separate, at least for now. Likewise, there was emerging agreement on key elements of an international framework; mitigation, adaptation, technology and investment and finance, although the full details of these four elements and what they might encompass are not universally agreed. Further negotiations will also be needed in order to secure an overall end date of 2009.

It is now essential that we follow up this positive meeting with intensive outreach to our key partners and interlocutors in order to iron out these crucial details and the UK will be carrying out an extensive lobbying effort, both at ministerial and official level, to give the last vital push before Bali.