Caption: Fijian Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli at the meeting in Lima, Peru. Photo: SUPPLIED.

International climate change negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has a mere 20 year history but even observers will lose sleep trying to understand the process.

Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli, in his year-long role as Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI), has brought a fresh approach into the process that has positively shaken up proceedings at the climate conference currently underway in Lima, Peru.

Mr Yauvoli’s friendly but firm time management approach, with an emphasis on efficiency and focus, has resulted in prompt, timely and well-coordinated negotiating sessions. The high-level UN undertaking, a great honour for the Permanent Secretary, is a first for Fiji.

Two permanent subsidiary bodies exist under the UN climate change Convention: the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), which links expert information or the science to policy; and the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI), which makes implementation and policy recommendations to the Convention.

During the first week of negotiations, many parallel, informal meetings of SBSTA and SBI took place, with each series of meetings focusing on specific agenda items. In an ideal Conference of the Parties (COP), the end of the first week of negotiations would see an agreed draft Decision presented under each Conference agenda at the high-level segment of the negotiations during week two (this week).

A sometimes highly complex and often lengthy task, the effective coordination of the subsidiary bodies in week one is vital to the success of the Convention process, including the regularity of sleep patterns among negotiators.

At yesterday’s closing of the SBI and SBSTA plenary meetings in Lima, ‘old-hands’ have already praised the efficiency of this year’s SBI and SBSTA processes. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, a former climate negotiator for her Costa Rican homeland, made reference in her closing SBSTA remarks, to how unusual it was that the initial proceedings were concluded during sunlight rather than the usual moonlight.


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