by and

Filed under: Climate change Development Environment

Today in Durban parties to the climate conference met once again to discuss the legal form of the outcome from the meeting. Will it be a new agreement, a protocol or any other form requiring ratification or will it be some kind of decision which is not legally binding?

A “menu” of legal options was put on the table by the chair, from which participant countries had to make a choice. Clearly the menu on offer included some options that would be difficult for many to digest:

  1. Legally binding instrument(s)
  2. Decisions including:- A mandate to define a legally binding instrument with a clear roadmap- Affirming the importance of a legally binding outcome to provide clarity and vision- A statement/declaration regarding future instrument(s), leaving the legal form open to discussion- Continuing to substantively address all pillars of the Bali Action Plan (pdf) trough Conference of Parties decisions

Developing countries are clearly in favour of option one. However, it seems that before there is more clarity substance, an agreement on the exact form will not be reached. So the parties have to decide not only on what to agree on but also in what form. Simple enough, one would have thought, but the implications are far-reaching.

If you are interested in all the complexities of legal form, we can recommend the newly published WRI report on The Challenge of Legal Form at the Durban Climate Talks.

Previous posts from Durban