It seemed that this morning's plenary session snuck up on Cop15 President Connie Hedegaard.
The session was intended to cover a variety of matters and close with a consideration of proposals by parties under Article 17 of the convention. Article 17 is concerned with emissions trading in relation to the guidelines, reporting and accountability.
Tuvalu, currently the fourth smallest country in the world, proposed formal provisions for Article 17. "We already have a protocol, a good one, there were ambitious plans made at Cop14 in Bali. Parties adopted the Bali plan to advance the implementation of the convention and are legally bound to the Bali protocol. The proposals for new systems and protocols are premature," said the delegate from India.
On went the discussions with countries such as Kuwait and the Syrian Arab Republic joining India and China. Eventually, President Hedegaard – or Madam President as most addressed her – stepped in and suggested the formation of a contact group. This would suggest an informal, closed-door meeting to discuss whether or not provisions of Article 17 would be put into effect. With a group like this, only select delegates from Annex 1, and non-annex 1 countries would be allowed, most likely excluding countries such as Tuvalu. The U.N: We make committees.
The countries that supported the formation of this contact group were split down the middle with Small Island and African countries against, and countries such as India and China supporting the group. The delegate from Tuvalu was extremely persistent in having the floor to emphasize that there needs to be informal, open discussions about the provisions. The President decided that there needed to be a recess. Afterwards, the next plenary to take place was on the topic of forming a contact group. In response, without any hesitation, the delegate from Tuvalu demanded an immediate decision, without which they would suggest a suspension of the entire conference.