by Matt Jokajtys, Student Guest Blogger currently at UNFCCC-Cancun

The COP president has approved a proposal by AOSIS to form two new contact groups to discuss the legal form of a new climate agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada, on behalf of AOSIS, proposed that one contact group be formed under the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP), and one under the Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP). The contact group under the COP is aimed at providing an “effective, visible and lasting place for discussions on architectural proposals or on legal form.” Before the establishment of this contact group, proposals were only discussed in the COP plenary, and competed with many other issues for attention. The contact group will discuss various existing proposals by AOSIS, Australia, Costa Rica, Japan Tuvalu, Japan, and the United States. The hope is that focused discussions will be able to produce an “end game” to the Bali Action plan, thereby providing certainty for governments, markets and the private sector while mobilizing investment.

The contact group under the COP/MOP would discuss proposals that have been formally tabled for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. At present, there are 12 proposals for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol from 122 members. The aim for this contact group is to speed the discussions addressing the growth in global GHG emissions and provide a seamless gap between the first and subsequent commitment periods under the Kyoto Protocol.