Marathon Session at COP17 Produces the Durban Platform

The Durban Platform emerges in post-conference sessionsUnwilling to allow the two-week negotiations at the COP17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa, a marathon session lasting 36 hours beyond the scheduled end of the talks, produced the “Durban Platform”.

The document calls for all nations–developed and developing–to negotiate a treaty by 2015 to cut carbon emissions to go into effect by 2020. Nations still adhering to the Kyoto Protocol (fewer countries now that Canada have formally pulled out) will enter a second phase of commitments until the new treaty is ratified and implemented.

The Durban Platform also establishes an infrastructure to administer the global Green Fund,  an idea 1st proposed at the COP 15 climate conference in Copenhagen two years ago.

Given the diminished expectations going into COP 17, any agreement addressing the single most contentious roadblock, that between developed and developing nations, might seem like a positive outcome to the proceedings. Given the warning of the scientists and the time already lost, it may very well be too little, too late.

We will publish more information and commentary on the Durban Platform in the coming days. Following is the full text of the document and links to related articles and commentary. You can also download a pdf copy of the Durban Platform

Advance unedited version

Draft decision -/CP.17

Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

Proposal by the President

The Conference of the Parties,

Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires to be urgently addressed by all Parties, and acknowledging that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions,

Noting with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Partiesí mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels,

Recognizing that fulfilling the ultimate objective of the Convention will require strengthening the multilateral, rules-based regime under the Convention,

Noting decision X/CMP.7 [Title], Also noting decision X/CP.17 [Title],

1. Decides to extend the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention for one year in order for it to continue its work and reach the agreed outcome pursuant to decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan) through decisions adopted by the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth sessions of the Conference of the Parties, at which time the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention shall be terminated;

2. Also decides to launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, through a subsidiary body under the Convention hereby established and to be known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action;

3. Further decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action; shall start its work as a matter of urgency in the first half of 2012 and shall report to future sessions of the Conference of the Parties on the progress of its work;

4. Decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall complete its work as early as possible but no later than 2015 in order to adopt this protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force at the twenty-first session

of the Conference of the Parties and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020;

5. Also decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall plan its work in the first half of 2012, including, inter alia, on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building, drawing upon submissions from Parties and relevant technical, social and economic information and expertise;

6. Further decides that the process shall raise the level of ambition and shall be informed, inter alia, by the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the outcomes of the 2013ñ2015 review and the work of the subsidiary bodies;

7. Decides to launch a workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition to identify and to explore options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties;

8. Requests Parties and observer organizations to submit by 28 February 2012 their views on options and ways for further increasing the level of ambition and decides to hold an in-session workshop at the first negotiating session in 2012 to consider options and ways for increasing ambition and possible further actions.

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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