Public Agenda (Accra)

Ghana: Future of Climate Finance At Centre of Bangkok Meeting

Governments began meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday to prepare decisions that they will take at the next UN climate change conference in Doha, Qatar.

"A common theme running through the Bangkok meeting is how to make sure that promised, adequate funds flow from developed to developing countries to support their plans to deal with climate change," says the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, adds that: "All sides need a clearer understanding on how to get to 100 billion USD a year by 2020 with no gaps."

Ironically, a five-page notification to Parties and observer States to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol circulated in June said the sessions were being organised as informal because of financial constraints.

Ms Figueres said in the notification that "Due to the...financial constraints, work during the additional session will be of an informal nature, hence there will be no formal plenary meetings, no interpretation or webcast services and no official documents during these sessions."

The Bangkok meeting, which closes on Wednesday, September 5, comprises informal additional sessions of the three ad hoc groups associated with the UNFCCC.

These are the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), and Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

The AWG-KP is discussing how to amend the Kyoto Protocol, the existing treaty under which industrialised countries commit to emissions cuts, so that it continues into a second commitment period next year and its important international infrastructure and accounting rules are preserved.

On the other hand, the AWG-LCA is preparing to conclude the work which it began in 2007 and which has resulted in a set of international agreements that aim to limit the average global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius (beyond which climate change becomes increasingly dangerous), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to achieve this and to establish an adequate support system to provide developing countries with finance and technology to build their own sustainable, clean energy futures.

For its part, the ADP, a new working group arising from last year's climate conference in South Africa, will discuss how to take the next steps necessary to negotiate the new global Climate Change agreement, which must be adopted by 2015 and enter into force from 2020, and how to raise current inadequate global ambition to deal with climate change, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions even faster.

The UNFCCC defines greenhouse gases as those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere - both natural and anthropogenic - that absorb and re-emit infrared radiation.

"Governments have promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help the poor and vulnerable adapt to climate change. They know they must implement these promises fully, raise their efforts before 2020 and redouble those efforts again after 2020," A statement by the UNFCCC Secretariat also quoted Ms Figueres as saying.

She added: "Soon, in Doha, they must show implementation and set the pace towards adopting a new, universal climate agreement by 2015. The next three years are set to drive the next two decades of the international response to climate change."

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