Bolivia submits Cochabamba Conference outcome to UNFCCC

Geneva, April 28, 2010  -- The Bolivian government forwarded a submission on April 26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat containing the outcome of the "World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth" held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from 19-22 April. [Read the full document at]

The Cochabamba conference was convened by Bolivia's President Evo Morales and was attended by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other Latin American political leaders.

According to the Bolivian submission to the UNFCCC, more than 35,000 delegates from social movements and organisations from 140 countries had participated in the conference.

The Bolivian submission incorporates the main content of the "People's Agreement" and the draft proposal for a "Universal Declaration of Mother Earth's Rights" that were adopted at the Cochabamba conference to facilitate the inclusion of proposals for the draft negotiating text to be prepared by the chair of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) for the working group's next session in June.

(At the last meeting of the working group in Bonn on April 11, parties had agreed to invite the chair of the AWG-LCA, Ms. Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe of Zimbabwe to prepare, under her own responsibility, a text to facilitate negotiations for its next session in June. Parties were also invited to make submissions containing additional views, by April 26 at the latest, which the chair may draw upon in the preparation of her draft text for consideration by parties at its tenth session. The Bolivian submission was in response to this invitation.)

Entitled "Draft Negotiating Text", the Bolivian submission followed a structure similar to that of the document contained in the report of the AWG-LCA from Copenhagen that was prepared by the former AWG-LCA chair, Michael Zammit Cutajar of Malta.

The Bolivian submission contained the following highlights:

  • It recognised "the need to establish an adequate limit to global warming and that with an increase in global warming of 2 degrees Celsius, there is a 50% chance that the damage caused to our Mother Earth would be totally irreversible.
  • It expressed determination "to deal with the root causes of climate change, including the elimination of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production in the developed country Parties and the dominant global capitalist system that gives rise to these".
  • It stated the understanding that "a system of unfettered and unregulated markets has resulted in prioritizing the extreme competition for profits and growth, and that this has separated humanity from nature, establishing a logic of domination over it, turning everything into a commodity: water, earth, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, rights of peoples, and life itself".
  • It said "that a new system must be built to restore harmony with nature and among humans and that there can only be balance with nature if there is equity among human beings".
  • It advocated "a development model that is not destructive or based on unlimited growth, and recognizing that countries need to produce goods and services to meet the basic needs of its population, but by no means can continue on the current path of development in which richer countries have a carbon footprint five times larger than the planet can bear".
  • It affirmed that "the historical emissions of developed countries are disproportionately responsible for climate change and its adverse effects to developing countries and that developed countries are thus responsible for compensating developing countries as part of a climate debt owed by developed countries to developing countries".
  • It urged "all Parties to cooperate for enhancing and promoting a supportive and just international economic system and architecture, including the global international trade system that would lead to sustainable development in particular in developing country Parties including, to better address the problems of environmental degradation, with the objective to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."
  • It stressed "that all multilateral policies and rules relating to climate change that affect the rights and interests of developing countries and local communities, including indigenous peoples, must be based on an open, inclusive, transparent, and participatory negotiating process that reflects the United Nations principles of sovereign equality and inclusive decision-making".

On a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, the submission calls for developed countries to "take the lead and strive towards returning greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to well below 300 ppm (parts per million) CO2eq with a view to returning concentrations to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term, and to limit the average global temperatures to a maximum level of 1 degree Celsius with a view to returning temperatures to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term".

According to the submission, "A shared vision integrates a set of global goals including a global goal for emission reductions, with the objective to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system in a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change and ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

Among these goals include "the equitable allocation [of] atmospheric space between developed countries and developing countries during the period 1750 to 2050 based on the principles of equity and historical responsibility, and the needs of developing countries in order to achieve their economic and social development and poverty".

It also states that "Achieving an equitable allocation of global atmospheric space between developed and developing countries is determined by: an agreed global emission budget between the period 1750 to 2050; an agreed methodology for sharing the global emissions budget among developed and developing countries; and the allocation, based on this methodology, of total assigned amounts to Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol and targets for a comparable effort for Annex I Parties that are not party to the Kyoto Protocol."

It further states that "developed country Parties shall not resort to any form of unilateral climate related trade measures including border adjustment measures and tariffs against the goods and services of developing country Parties on climate-related grounds as such measures violate the principles and provisions of the Convention including those related to common and differentiated responsibilities (Article 3.5 of the Convention), to trade and climate change, and to the relation between mitigation actions of developing country Parties and provision of finance and technology by developed country Parties (Articles 4.3 and 4.7 of the Convention)".

On mitigation actions by developed countries, the submission states that "the Kyoto Protocol shall remain as a specific binding instrument for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in developed countries."

It also called for "an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period 2013-2017 (be) adopted under which developed countries commit to significant domestic reductions of at least 50% compared to 1990 excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases".

It stated that "all Annex I Parties to the Convention shall, in accordance with their commitments of Article 4.2 of the Convention, undertake ambitious national economy-wide binding targets for quantified emission reduction commitments of at least 50% of their domestic greenhouse gas emissions during the period 2013 to 2017 and by more than 100% before 2040, compared to their 1990 levels and adopt policies and actions accordingly to achieve these targets".

"Mitigation commitments of developed countries must be comparable in scale, timing and legal effect. To ensure comparability of efforts, Annex I Parties that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (referring to the US) are called on to undertake quantified emission reduction commitments that, inter alia: are for the period 2013 to 2017; quantified in terms of the base year of 1990; subject to comparable provisions for monitoring, reporting and verification; and subject to comparable provisions for compliance and enforcement", said the submission.

"If, after measuring, reporting and verifying, the failure of a developed country to fulfill its reduction commitments is identified then penalties should be applied. This may include increased future reduction commitments by an amount calculated as a multiple of the shortfall in implementation. Financial contributions may also be assessed as penalties or fines and paid into an enhanced financial mechanism under the Conference of Parties."

On the provision of financial resources and investment, the submission states that "it is agreed that the amount of funds to be made available annually to developing country Parties shall be equivalent to at least 6% of the GNP of developed country Parties comprising 3% for adaptation, 1% for mitigation, 1% for technology development and transfer and 1% for capacity building".

It states further that "US$400 billion, from public finance sources, shall be made available by developed countries for fast track financing of global efforts to address climate change. An equivalent of US$150 billion worth of Special Drawing Rights shall be issued by the IMF as partial fulfillment of this undertaking by developed countries."

The submission also proposed the establishment of "a financial mechanism of the Convention, to be known as the Multilateral Climate Fund", which "shall function under the authority, guidance of and be fully accountable to the Conference of Parties".

On technology development and transfer, the submission states that the "Transfer of technology must fully compensate the loss of development opportunities due to the costs and technological demands to developing countries to live within a restricted atmospheric space. Poor countries face climate-related challenges to their development that were not faced by the developed countries in the process of their own development".

It called for Parties to "agree to take measures to ensure that international rights and obligations relating to intellectual property shall be supportive of and do not run counter to the objectives of the Convention".

Further, it also proposes that "patents on climate-related technologies may be excluded by developing country Parties. Steps shall be taken to expand technologies in the public domain. Nothing in international intellectual property agreements shall be interpreted or implemented in a manner that limits or prevents any Party from taking measures to address climate change, in particular the development and transfer of technologies, including the development and enhancement of endogenous capacities and technologies of developing countries and transfer of, and access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how."

It also said that "all necessary steps shall be immediately taken in all relevant forums to exclude from IPR protection and revoke existing IPR protection in developing countries and least developed countries on environmentally sound technologies to adapt to and mitigate climate change, including those developed through funding by governments or international agencies and those involving use of genetic resources that are used for adaptation and mitigation of climate change".

On carbon markets, the submission states that "there should not be use of an international carbon market or an international carbon market approach in the offsetting of Annex I Parties' mitigation commitments or in the financing of developing countries' climate actions as it has serious adverse effects."