Thursday, December 17, 2009

COP15: Groups and Subgroups

There are 192 countries represented at COP15 and nations with similar issues and aims come together to form UN recognized groups.

COP13's Bali Action Plan called for a long-term action plan to reduce GHG emissions, as well as increased levels of cooperation on mitigation and adaptation. It also called for a final architecture for technology transfer to the developing countries to allow them to develop low-carbon economies. Finally, it called for a pledge on funds to support these actions. However, at COP15 an agreement on these issues is proving elusive, in part because of disagreement between the various groups.

Major Groups

G77 : The largest of these groups is the G77 led by China. This 133 member group consists mainly of developing countries and emerging economies. The Group was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries' signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries,” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

The G77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the United Nations. It provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests. The G77 also enhances their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the UN system, and promotes South-South cooperation for development.

Industrialized Nations: Industrialized countries outside the EU form an umbrella group that includes the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Norway, and Iceland. Led by the US this group is responsible for a considerable portion of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). They are also amongst the groups most critisized for not doing enough to push for a global climate deal.

European Union (EU): The European Union consists of 27 members that speak with one voice and negotiate as one. The EU has long been at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change. According to the EU, Climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet. The EU is committed to working constructively for a global agreement to control climate change, and is leading the way by taking ambitious action of its own.

Least Developed Countries (LDC): This group is comprised of 49 countries, 33 African nations, 15 Asian nations and Haiti. According to the UN, these are the world's least developed nations. The LDC have the most to lose due to the effects of climate change and they do not have the technology or the funds to adapt to its effects.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS): This group is most at risk from global warming. The group is a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that that will be submerged if sea levels rise due to melting sea ice. The Alliance of Small Island States functions primarily as an ad hoc lobby and negotiating voice for small island developing States (SIDS) within the United Nations system.

AOSIS has a membership of 42 States and observers, drawn from all oceans and regions of the world: Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Pacific and South China Sea. Thirty-seven are members of the United Nations, close to 28 percent of developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN's total membership. Together, SIDS communities constitute some five percent of the global population.

Serious adverse impacts are already being felt by island states at the current 0.8°C of warming, including coastal erosion, flooding, coral bleaching and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. The U.N.'s lead agency on refugees has already warned that some particularly low-lying island states are 'very likely to become entirely uninhabitable'.


The African Union (AU): The African Union is a subset of the G77. On 9 August 1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union. The AU seeks to accelerate the process of integration in the continent and to play a role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems. The AU recently held up proceedings at COP15 to encourage developed nations to do more on climate change.

The Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC): The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Issue Oriented Subgroups

Reduction of Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD): This group is trying to come up with a mechanism for forest preservation and regeneration. The organization known as REDD was introduced into the COP agenda in 2005 at its eleventh session in Montreal.

The IPCC (2007) estimated emissions from deforestation in the 1990s to be at 5.8 GtCO2/year. It also noted that reducing and/or preventing deforestation and the release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term.

Technology Transfer: The United Nations endeavors to secure the economic and social well-being of people everywhere. As the global center for consensus-building, the UN has set priorities and goals for international cooperation to assist countries in their development efforts and to foster a supportive global economic environment. The UN's technology transfer initiative seeks to develop a formula for transferring technology from the developed world to developing countries. This initiative endeavors to bring technology to less affluent countries for the purpose of building low-carbon economies. This subgroup deals with key issues like funding and intellectual property rights associated with technology transfer.

As COP15 approaches its end significant issues remain including the widely publicised disagreements between the G77 and industrialized nations. While the groups attending the Copenhagen climate conference may be well known for their disputes, they are also able to work together in pursuit of common goals. For example, earlier this year, AOSIS was joined by the LDC, and together these 80 countries collectively demanded that global temperature increases be kept as far below 1.5°C as possible to limit the anticipated devastating effects of climate change on the world's most vulnerable countries.

Unlike Kytoto everyone must be included in the new deal, particularly big emitters like the US and developing nations like China, India, and Brazil. But before any climate change deal is signed, these groups must come to an agreement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!