Interpreting agreed outcome

Legal assistance paper

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Date produced: 25/05/2012

Does the language of paragraph 1 of Decision 1/CP.17 mean that the AWG-LCA will be terminated at the end of COP18 regardless of whether the decisions at COP16, COP17 and COP18 amount to reaching “the agreed outcome pursuant to decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan)” ? I.e. what determines the termination of the LCA?

Summary: The AWG-LCA shall terminate at COP 18 and its mandate shall not be extended like has been the case in previous cases.

Advice:

The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) under the Convention was established by Decision 1/CP.13 (the Bali Action Plan). Paragraph 2 of Decision 1/CP.13 was to the effect that AWG-LCA shall complete its work in 2009 and present the outcome of its work to COP15 for adoption.

The AWG-LCA was unable to complete all of its work by COP15 resulting in the decision to extend the mandate of the AWG-LCA to enable it to continue its work with a view to presenting the outcome of its work for adoption at COP16 (paragraph of decision 1/CP.13).

Still at COP16, the AWG-LCA was unable to complete all of its work, resulting in the decision to extend the work of AWG-LCA for one year, in order for it to continue its work with a view to carrying out the undertakings contained in this decision and present the results for consideration at COP17 (paragraph 143 of decision 1/CP.16).

Again at COP17 (Durban), the AWG-LCA was unable to complete all of its work resulting in the decision 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” (emphasis added) (paragraph 1 of decision 1/CP.17).

Under the Bali Action Plan, it was initially envisaged that the AWG-LCA would complete its work by COP 15, but this did not happen and its mandate was subsequently extended at COP15, COP16 and COP17. Although the mandate of the AWG-LCA has been extended several times, it seems that the extension of the mandate of AWG-LCA at COP17 was unique in two respects: It was expressly decided that the AWG-LCA shall be terminated at COP18; and a new negotiating group known as the “Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” (ADP) was established.

It seems therefore, that the decision of COP17 that the mandate of the AWG-LCA shall terminate at COP18 is clear and unambiguous. Any unfinished work of AWG-LCA will be transferred to the new negotiating group, the ADP established at COP17. The final year of the existence of the AWG-LCA is 2012.