China, India, Russia and South Africa express concern that GMBM proposals do not address differentiation
Thu 14 Apr 2016 – The 2016 round of ICAO’s Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) to provide Member States with information and receive feedback on developing a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address carbon emissions from international aviation has concluded in Mexico City. Although the ICAO Secretariat has indicated the five regional events went well, there will be some disappointment that more non-Council States did not attend. Both ICAO and the industry, which has held its own regional outreach events, have targeted States that are not represented on ICAO’s governing body to inform them of the GMBM scheme’s proposals. In an unusual move, China, India, South Africa and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement during the GLADs to express their concern that the current proposal did not adequately reflect the differentiation between developed and developing countries, and questioned the scheme’s carbon-neutral goal.
The number of delegates attending the GLADs was higher than that for the first round in 2015 but the number of States represented, according to reports, was well down, with less than a third of Member States participating. However, those States that did attend were responsible for nearly three-quarters of international aviation traffic.
“The structure and format of the GLADs was designed specifically to inform and engage non-Council States on the design and implementation aspects of the proposed global MBM,” commented ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “This type of outreach is essential to facilitate well-informed discussion and decision-making by all our 191 Member States, and it is especially relevant given that the world will be so keenly focused on the decisions we adopt at our Assembly this September.”
Discussions appear to have centred around three key elements of the carbon offsetting scheme’s proposals contained in the latest draft Assembly Resolution text, namely the criteria as to which States should be included in the scheme, action to minimise market distortion between airlines and how offsetting responsibilities should be distributed. Feedback was also sought from States on whether key considerations raised by 2015 participants for the scheme’s design – such as administrative simplicity, environmental integrity and cost effectiveness – had been addressed in the proposals. Topics also under discussion included the possible means for differentiation without discrimination among States and the assistance and capacity-building that may be needed to support the GMBM scheme’s effective implementation.
However, the statement by China, India, Russia and China indicates they believe not enough attention has been paid to the differentiation in responsibilities for mitigating international aviation emissions between developed and developing countries, a principle which they say was reaffirmed by the Paris Agreement.
“The resolution to be reached in ICAO shall be in full accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR&RC) and its implementation shall not lead to discrimination against the sustainable development of international aviation of countries, in particular developing countries,” reads the statement. “Differentiation between developed and developing countries should be reflected in each crucial component of the resolution.”
Developed countries should take the lead in the post-2020 period but some had so far shown a reluctance to do so, contend the four countries, and had imposed unilateral action against a global consensus, “which has made the aspirational CNG2020 [carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020] unfounded and non-pragmatic.”
While they would undertake “robust actions” to reduce domestic aviation emissions through technology, operations and infrastructure measures, as well as through the use of sustainable jet fuels, action to address international aviation emissions “should be built on differentiated arrangements, while providing flexibility to developing countries.”
Another joint statement issued last week at the conclusion of a ministerial meeting on climate change held by the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, China and India) in Delhi also expressed concern that the GMBM proposals “may impose inappropriate economic burden on developing countries, where the international aviation market is still maturing.”
The statement urged ICAO “to develop climate change measures in a manner that is consistent with the principles of CBDR&RC and to align the GMBM with the relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement.”
An informal briefing was made yesterday to the ICAO Council and other relevant organisations, including industry representatives, on the GLADs outcome, and followed by a closed second meeting of the 18-State High-level Group set up to take the GMBM proposals forward. Any changes to the current draft proposals will need to be made within the next month, in time for the specially convened High-level Meeting of all Member States taking place May 11-13 to discuss the GMBM.