What are we doing in Doha?

An assessment of our activities during the first week of COP18

UNFCCC UNFCCC The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit held in Rio in June 1992. The objective of this treaty is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. However, the treaty is legally non-binding. It was signed by more than 180 governments and promotes the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and precautionary action. COP18 – First week assessment

1. Negotiations
2. Trade union actions (Working group meeting, Statements, Workshop on potential consequences, side event, meeting with ES and COP President, meetings with governments)
3. Solidarity actions with migrant workers (Solidarity Diner, Visits to labour camps, Morning exchange between migrants and international delegation, Picnic, Rally)
4. What to expect from the second week

1. Negotiations
The first week of the COP was defined by the parallel openings and discussions of several (7) bodies of the Convention. If some issues were known to be politically-sensitive and therefore expected to be solved in the second week (the length of the second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol Kyoto Protocol The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement adopted in 1997 and linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It sets binding obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. , the extent to which there will be carry over of emissions from the first to the second period, if countries without targets under the 2nd KP will be able to access flexibility mechanisms) the first week was rather the space for more technical discussions on implementation issues and the continuation of exchanges on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) the body which should concentrate all debates around the future of the climate negotiations.
All the decisions forwarded to the COP by the SBSTA and the SBI are already available in the website (but none of them appears to me as critical for the labour movement… I let you indicate me if I’m wrong). The only exception being the draft decision to hold the next COP in Warsaw, Poland.
The discussions on the ADP are in very early stages – with Parties often mixing the two tracks of the discussion – roughly: 1) the workplan for 2013 and the way to organize the work 2) the contents of the next agreement.
Many developed countries saw this debates as diverting the attention from the need to reach agreements under the LCA and the KP as well as an attempt from the developed world to only prioritise the post-2020 commitments (rather than pre-2020 ones)
In bilaterals with developed countries, what could be seen was that there is not a clear idea of the future work, beyond holding workshops around principles and ideas –avoiding as much as possible a workplan that defines in advance the issues which will be discussed-like it was the case with the LCA/Bali Action Plan. More information on our assessment on these ideas and how we could frame just transition in future exchanges with governments will come in our final report.

2. Trade union actions
- Working group meeting
We hold our ITUC working group meeting. It was chaired by Angelique Kipulu from CSC Congo, who is also a member of the ITUC General Council, and was attended by 35 delegates .The minutes of the meeting will be sent to all WG members for your comments and contributions as soon as possible.

- Statements
The ITUC was invited to deliver several statements in this COP.
They have all been posted in the ITUC blog
*COP (on Finance): Anne Beth Skrede, Lo Norway (28 Nov)
* SBI (on Response Measures): Joaquin Turco, CTA Argentina (27 Nov)
* SBSTA (on loss and damage, in cooperation with the Gender MG): Angelique Kipulu, CSC Congo (28 Nov)
* AWG-LCA: Brian Kohler, IndustriALL (28 Nov)
* AWG-KP: Amy Schwebel, ACTU Australia (28 Nov)
* ADP: Anabella Rosemberg, ITUC (28 Nov)
- Workshop on potential consequences (28 Nov)
The ITUC was invited to make a presentation on the Forum on Response measures, under the issue “Building collective and individual learning towards a transition to a low GHG emitting society”. The presentation, which focused on trade unions’ contribution to the transition, the role of the Just Transition in it, as well as the potential for international action in it, has also been posted in our ITUC Blog. Overall, Parties didn’t react much to the experts’ presentations but the delegates from Argentina and the EU (France) praised some of our recommendations. The Forum is supposed to continue its work for the next year and meet at least twice (in Bonn and in the next COP).
All the presentations from the workshop will soon be made available by the Secretariat.

- ITUC side event on climate finance (30 Nov)
Organised jointly by the ITUC, TUAC and Sustainlabour, the side event was aimed at discussing different means to bridge the commitment gap when it comes to climate and development. The meeting was chaired by Sharan Burrow, the keynote presentation was done by Pierre Habbard (ITUC/TUAC) and several experts where invited to comment on it, including: the government of the Dominican Republic, the OECD, Heinrich Boll Foundation, IBON, ETUC and TUCA.
We had a fairly good attendance (of around 80 people, with only half of them from the trade union delegation, which means that the event attracted public well beyond our ranks).
- Exchanges with the Executive Secretary and the COP President and Civil Society
In the dialogue with Christiana Figueres, we asked about the “landing of the LCA”- as this is the last meeting of this body and we are interested in knowing what will happen with issues that have not been solved by it, and we raised concern about the working and living conditions of migrant workers, including all those working in the conference center, and ask Christiana for her commitment that none of them had to surrender their passports for the sponsorship system which exists in the country. The ES shared her disappointment about the slow progress in the LCA, and considered the answer to our question would be more clear in the upcoming week and committed to investigate about migrant workers at the Conference Center.
When it comes to the Dialogue with the Presidency, it was clear that there is no much interest in the negotiations there, with very little information shared in the session. In addition to raising our concerns again on migrant workers in the country, we also asked him as a COP President about the upcoming ministerial consultations on the ADP (scheduled for Wednesday) but he didn’t react on any of our points.
- Meetings with Governments
Thanks to the efforts of our delegation (some in Doha, some from abroad), we managed to meet with the following governments during the first week: United States, Australia, Nepal, United Kingdom. Thanks to all of you.

3. Solidarity actions with migrant workers
The ITUC run a series of activities in Doha, including the organization of visits to labour camps, accompanied by local organisers, trade unionists from Nepal and BWI representatives. On Thursday, a delegation of migrant workers was invited to participate in a Solidarity Diner with representatives of the ITUC delegation in a restaurant in the Corniche- a place where migrant workers are normally not allowed to enter.
In addition, a morning exchange between migrants and international delegation took place on Friday 30th, followed by a picnic in the Sheraton parc. These two events allowed for a frank exchange with workers, and all our delegation left them re-energised as well as convinced that we must maintain pressure over Qatar on the situation…
Finally, the ITUC coordinated the participation of our delegation in the climate action rally, on Saturday morning. Around 40 union delegates marched with masks representing migrant workers as well as with a (forbidden) banner recalling our campaign “No world cup in Qatar without labour rights”. We obtained quite a good media coverage, including from Reuters.
You can see photos from the rally in the ITUC flikr account, and a video will soon be posted in Equal Times.

4. What to expect from the second week
The next two days should mark the end of negotiators-led discussions in the LCA and the KP, with ministers taking over on Wednesday for the high level segment.
Decisions are expected on KP (carry over, length-most probably 8 years-, access to mechanisms) and on LCA probably on the issue of review. Most of the other issues will be either sent to Subsidiary Bodies or recently created ones (Adaptation to the Adaptation Committee, Finance to the standing committee, Technology to the TEC and the Technology Center and Network) or hooked to the ADP (mitigation to the “ambition” work)
This week will should also define some guidelines for ADP next years’ work.


COP Statement - Finance
LCA Statement
Potential Consequences - ITUC Presentation