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Interview: China chief climate negotiator says Durban outcomes should be understood, implemented completely

By Tang Zhiqiang, Han Mo (Xinhua)

10:04, May 26, 2012

BONN, Germany, May 25 (Xinhua) -- As a whole package of climate talks achievement, the decisions made in Durban last year should be understood and implemented completely by all parties, said China's chief negotiator at the Bonn talks Su Wei in a recent interview with Xinhua.

He insisted that the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility should be upheld, while developed countries should not evade their responsibilities and remove the firewall between developed and developing countries.

The ongoing two-week Bonn UN Climate Change Conference is the first formal negotiation since last year's Durban Summit which is scheduled to close on Friday.

One of the main topics of this conference is the debut of Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Actions. The platform was set to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties. The process should be completed no later than 2015 and the instrument will come into effect and be implemented from 2020.

As designed, Durban Platform shall plan its work in the first half of 2012, including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer. However, during the two-week negotiation, parties can hardly reach an agreement on the agenda of the platform and interpretation of the term "applicable to all parties."

Su said that China and some other developing countries consider the term "applicable to all parties" as a basic principle of international law, meaning the outcome of Durban platform should be accepted and implemented by all the parties, just as the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Climate Change Framework Convention are applicable to all the parties.

"The universality of responsibility does not mean the uniformity of responsibility," he said.

U.S. officials had argued that this means the obligations to reduce emission should be the same for all parties.

"Durban platform does not mean a new world for some developed countries," Su told Xinhua. "The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility should still be insisted after 2020. They are pillars of international system of battle against climate change."

Su accused some developed countries of trying to "jump the platform" by being eager to terminate talks in working group on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) under the Convention and on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (KP), and move forward to the Durban platform.

According to Su, outcomes of the LCA and KP working group will have legal force, while the work plan designed in Durban decision on enhanced mitigation ambition is voluntary at the moment. "They are trying to escape their legal obligations," said Su.

"It seems to be a procedural impasse, but it matters to the basic principles of the Convention and Protocol."

Durban Platform is just one item of the Durban package, which also included the second commitment period for Annex I parties under the Protocol and the Green Climate Fund under the Convention, Su said.

"The package should be understood and implemented completely, instead of selectively," he said.

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