Early Drafts Show Disagreement On UN Framework For Climate Services04/09/2009 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.Senior officials from well over 100 nations at a five-day United Nations conference on Thursday issued a succinct declaration committing them to establish a global framework on the delivery of products and services related to climate change. But earlier negotiating versions of the declaration from the week show substantive disagreement and the removal of pages of draft text. The declaration was finalised at the third World Climate Conference, held in Geneva from 31 August to 4 September, organised by the UN World Meteorological Organization along with other agencies. [Note: World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry addressed the conference on the last day. WIPO press release here.] The final declaration “requests” the WMO secretary general – currently Michel Jarraud – to “convene within four months the adoption of the declaration an intergovernmental meeting of member states of the WMO to approve the terms of reference and to endorse the composition of a task force of high-level, independent advisors to be appointed to the secretary-general of the WMO with due consideration to expertise, geographical and gender balance.”A report will be prepared within one year after the task force is set up, with consultation among stakeholders. The report will contain “findings and proposed next steps for developing and implementing a framework.”The declaration says the report will be circulated to WMO member states for consideration at the next WMO Congress in 2011, with the aim of adopting it and setting a plan for implementation. The report will be shared with other organisations as well.The framework will have four major components, according to a “brief note”, dated 2 September and annexed to the final declaration, which presents an overview of the framework. The components are: observation and monitoring; research, and modelling and prediction; a Climate Services Information System; and a User Interface Programme. The first two components exist but need strengthening, and the interface programme will support institutional partnerships, cross-disciplinary research, innovation and other elements.During the first three days of the conference, the “expert segment,” there were numerous workshops and other meetings among over 1,000 scientists and providers and users of climate information and services. The WMO circulated a summary of the expert segment describing key points from each session.A number of heads of state and other officials praised the agreement to establish a climate services framework, but many noted the substantive work remaining for governments on climate issues. On 3 September, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the urgency of developed nations reaching agreement on ambitious emissions cuts. Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said even the target of stopping the global temperature rise at two degrees higher than pre-industrial levels could still lead to massive sea rise.Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Thursday, “Today marks the day that ‘climate services’ was born.”“Continued investments in research, observations, modeling, decision-support tools and communication are needed,” Lubchenco said. “This new knowledge will strengthen the utility of climate services, thus increasing the sustainability and resilience of our communities. To work, solutions must fit local circumstances and produce results that people can use. Climate services must be relevant, accessible, timely, open, reliable and sustainable.”Documents:Conference Statement (Summary of Expert Segment) Final declaration and Brief Note 25 August chair’s draft [pdf] 2 September chair’s draft [pdf] Like-minded group draft [pdf]Eliminating Text to Find CompromiseThe final declaration of 3 September contained six paragraphs, including the simple opener. At the Thursday press conference, Jarraud quipped that the brevity of the declaration was in keeping with WMO style. But it is not likely that the reason for removing the majority of text was simply brevity.But a look at the earlier draft versions obtained by Intellectual Property Watch show the nearly 20 paragraphs removed during the week, which give an indication of the level of disagreement in the meetings. Several government sources confirmed that discussions were difficult.A comparison of the 25 August starting draft, an interim draft beginning the day on 2 September, and the final draft of 3 September shows significant changes.The 25 August chair’s version that started the week contained 14 paragraphs under the “Preambular Part” that explained reasons for the need for a declaration and mentioned work being done in numerous other fora, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which will be the focus of the high-profile talks in Copenhagen in December, and the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).The 25 August draft also had 11 paragraphs under the “Operative Part,” which was trimmed to five by the final version. The final five were limited to mainly procedural steps on the way forward roughly as laid out in the 25 August version but with more specifics, which begin to show in the interim draft of 2 September.The items removed generally urged or recommended action by institutions and governments. The final version notably removes any mention of the Copenhagen process, and contains no actions directly aimed at governments.A group of like-minded developing nations put forward their own proposed versions of the draft declaration during the week, which show an interest in emphasising ties to the UNFCCC process, and a desire to limit the responsibility placed on individual nations or regions.An ongoing concern of developing countries in the leadup to Copenhagen is that responsibility for addressing climate change be placed first on industrialised countries, which the UN says are recognised through scientific analysis as the cause of much of the problems affecting the climate.During the week, the like-minded countries were asked to take out references to the UNFCCC throughout the draft text and place it in the opening of the declaration, and after they agreed, it was then struck out by developed countries, one developing country official said afterward.By week’s end, the like-minded countries included (listed in order as they appear in text): India, South Africa, Iran, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Sudan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, El Salvador, Venezuela, Pakistan and Nigeria.Governments became more involved in the drafting of the declaration last spring, according to sources.Also during the week, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs released a report calling for large upfront investments in countering climate change and changes to international rules on trade and intellectual property rights (IPW, Environment, 1 September 2009).Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com."Early Drafts Show Disagreement On UN Framework For Climate Services" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.