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Second Plenary Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action Under the Convention

Harlan Watson, Senior Climate Negotiator and Special Representative and Head of United States Delegation
Remarks to the Second Session (AWGLCA 2)
Bonn, Germany
June 6, 2008

Mr. Chairman, I would start by endorsing Australia’s proposal on behalf of the Umbrella Group on the issue of Party submissions, which will an upcoming topic of discussion in our deliberations. Under this proposal, Parties would be invited to provide submissions on each of the five elements of the Bali Action Plan. Whether Parties would provide one submission under each element, or more than one submission under each of the elements, would be for them to decide. We would also envisage the need for a submission prior to the Poznañ COP on the AWGLCA’s 2009 work programme. We believe this proposal would save us much time and avoid time-consuming debate over competing lists of proposals for submissions.

Next, I would like to make a few general observations.

First, we thank you and the vice chairman for the summaries of discussions in the workshops. It was useful to hear a first round of ideas in these workshops. These proposals provide us with many new concepts to consider in our meetings and in our capitals, as we move our work forward through 2009.

Second, we look forward to a discussion of mitigation and the long-term goal at this session. The focused workshops in Ghana on sectoral cooperation and avoided deforestation will provide an early opportunity to get into key aspects of mitigation. Ultimately we see all of the mitigation issues as needing to be reflected in a coherent whole. For example, we see both domestic and cooperative efforts in sectors and deforestation as contributing to nationally appropriate measurable, reportable and verifiable actions under subparagraphs 1(b)(i) and 1(b)(ii) of the Bali Action Plan. With respect to these two subparagraphs, we would not agree with the intervention of South Africa on behalf of the African Group that these two subparagraphs be considered by two different working groups under the AWGLCA. Rather, they should be considered together, which is our understanding of what was agreed in Bali.

Third, this week’s workshops covered a suite of issues that relate to adaptation, technology transfer and finance. We note that the scale of many of the proposals from various groups was quite substantial indeed, and that a number of proposals imply new commitments of a binding nature. Of course, this is a negotiation, and at the end of the day we will need a balanced package that includes efforts from all Parties in a manner that is commensurate with their capabilities and circumstances.

On the issue of finance, we support enhancing financial tools for developing countries to better address both mitigation and adaptation, and recognize the vital role of the private sector. We would also note that Article 11.5 of the Convention states that "The developed country Parties may also provide and developing countries avail themselves of, financial resources related to the implementation of the Convention through bilateral, regional and other multilateral channels."

A number of Parties have expressed views on the "shared vision" element of the Bali Action Plan. The United States supports collective identification of a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emission reductions to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention, in order to inspire actions at all levels. As was apparent in Bangkok and is also apparent here, there are many views on how this vision and goal should be constituted. We look forward to exploring them in more detail at the workshop in Poznañ in December.

Finally, on the issue of "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities," we have noted on several occasions that we believe the core principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities from Article 3.1 of the Convention stands the test of time, in that the notions of "responsibilities" and "capabilities" evolve as the circumstances of countries evolve in the global economy, while the principle stays the same.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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