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Editor's Note: Gathering Views for 2015 Targets and Goals 

Issue #207 | 10 May 2013

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

As we move further into 2013, consultations for key decision points in 2015 continue at a steady pace.

One key decision point in 2015 will be under the framework of the climate change negotiations. As part of the process leading to that point, the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2), at its meeting from 29 April to 3 May 2013, considered the ADP's two workstreams: on the 2015 agreement (Workstream 1) and pre-2020 ambition (Workstream 2). As our Earth Negotiations Bulletin report from that meeting indicates, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres called 2013 “the year of the sponge,” where parties and the Co-Chairs are gathering views and ideas. Negotiation analysts would see elements of issue definition and formula building in this year of the sponge, and recognize the stage's importance in framing the issues and beginning to signal possible options for integration, tradeoffs and endpoints.

At the end of the week, ADP 2 suspended its session with a view to resuming it in the context of the next Bonn Climate Change Conference, which will convene from 3-14 June 2013. Our report notes that, “With only 19 months to go, the pressure is on for the ADP to show that it is …capable of delivering on its ambitious, albeit vague, mandate.” Our team will be in Bonn next month, to continue tracking the views and ideas, and efforts to turn them into an agreement.

Figueres' sponge analogy could also apply to the post-2015 development agenda stage that is coming to an end now. Global thematic consultations have been organized around eleven topics, with high-level meetings concluding many of the consultations during the past few months. As the upcoming events calendar in this issue of Linkages Update indicates, a few e-discussions continue on selected topics. Additional meetings and publications are also seeking to contribute views and ideas to the framing of the outcome from this process, including two events highlighted in this issue of Linkages Update: the Seventh Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum in Asia and the Global Consultation on Sustainable Transport in the Post-2015, and the Asian and Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) on Rio+20 Outcomes. An upcoming joint expert meeting on growth and development will focus on that theme in June, to address inequalities, structural change, and economic diversification, among other issues. And the much anticipated report from the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to be circulated soon, allowing those following that process to see how the HLP has framed the views and ideas it has gathered.

On another 2015-related theme, but in this case focusing on implementing rather than framing the initial goals, each month we have recorded announcements of a growing number of wetlands of international importance. These designations contribute to the efforts to reach the goal contained in the Ramsar Convention on Wetland's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. As of 9 May 2013, the Ramsar Convention website indicates that 2,122 sites have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance, for a total surface area of 205,366,160 hectares.

In many ways, our reporting efforts are like the sponge that Figueres discussed, gathering and documenting the views and ideas expressed at meetings, to facilitate our readers' efforts to incorporate them into informed decisions. We look forward to reporting on continuing efforts to gather views and ideas, to translate them into possible agreements, and then to monitor implementation efforts once the outcomes have been adopted.