Wednesday, 16 December 2009

COP15 president replaced by Danish Prime Minister: national statements begin

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika Media

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE PACIFIC AND GLOBAL COUNTRY STATEMENTS VIA THE UNFCCC LIVE WEBCAST (Pacific national statements will  be uploaded and reported as our team cover them)

Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- The discontent in the COP15 corridors with time-consuming wrangling over process and procedure leaving too much bracketed text for a positive outcome came to a head on Day 10. COP President and Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard stepped back for her boss, host country Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen to take over as plenary chair and COP15 President. The reason, according to news reports flaring from her announcement at this morning's plenary, is that the meeting which has now entered into high-level phase, requires a high level chair to match the level of the 120 world leaders in attendance. of chair. This doesn't explain the timing of Hedegaard's replacement, or why there was no prior announcement . With all eyes on Denmark, everyone who has come here also wants to leave with something. The problem is that time is running out for COP to be able to deliver a legally binding agreement which will let delegates leave Copenhagen smiling. For its part, Denmark's pro-active presidency could well have provided the context for Hedegaard stepping back. Her pro-active efforts to try and accommodate a good outcome have ironically created the very situation the Danes are trying to avoid. They stepped up engagement with the US position, knowing that Obama's senate will not be able to deliver a verdict allowing him to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol for the next six months. Other key groups such as the EU are pinning their support on the US signature, and the Danish presidency have hosted pre-COP events around the world aimed at building consensus. However it was their draft text for an agreement, leaked to the media last week that began rousing anger from some developing countries unhappy with feeling left out by what they saw. The leaked document also fuelled some developing country doubts on the neutrality and role of the COP President. Lengthy working group and plenary processes allowing 'obstructionist' tactics to slow down any real chance of reaching progress on text, have dogged negotiators.Just before the High Level Meeting statements began to flow, Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen reminded the leaders of the reason why his nation wanted to host the world's most important global event in decades.ENDS
"I still hope, and hope is bright green-- that the presence of so many heads of government in COP will pave the way for a successful outcome," he said,"Your presence makes a simple point. We are one planet. We share the same fate. We are all in this together."

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