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CARICOM negotiators await penultimate climate change draft agreement

CARICOM negotiators at the UN Climate Change conference (COP 21) are awaiting the penultimate draft of the Paris outcome agreement to assess the extent to which their key issues and concerns are represented.

Conference organizers on Wednesday released a preliminary draft which formed the basis for all night deliberations. The region’s negotiators reviewed the draft text and strategized for the remaining negotiations, as they expressed concerns on several key issues.

At the top of the list was the long-term temperature rise issue, with CARICOM stressing that the goal should be to hold temperature rises to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius and insisting that some of the alternatives proposed in the draft text were not acceptable. The region rejected, in particular, the option to hold temperature increases at two degrees Celsius, stating that it has been established by the Structured Expert Dialogue that figure is too high.

The region also noted the lack of agreement on recognition of the special circumstances of Small Island and low-lying Developing States (SIDS). The team has said that the special circumstances are real, have been recognized by the international community and world leaders, and are non-negotiable.

The CARICOM team also wants the text to recognize and respond to the fact that the SIDS, which bear the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change, have specific challenges with accessing finance especially for climate change adaptation and technology, given their capacity and scale of needs.

The team also pressed for agreement on outstanding differences on the loss and damage effects of climate change, so that it can be a major feature of the outcome document. The negotiators were also concerned that the provisions in the text for compliance were very weak.

However, the CARICOM team welcomed the provision in the text for five-year global cycles, and is recommending that this is linked to the renewal of mitigation commitments.


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