By Stanley Simpson, Climate Pasifika Media
10 December, Cancun, Mexico - There was drama at the start of the final session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun.
First – the secretariat had to repeatedly ask the delegates to take their seats before the session – which was already delayed by half an hour - could begin.
COP 16 President Patricia Espinosa then entered the plenary session at the Ceiba and received a 2 minute standing ovation from the packed crowd in attendance.
No sooner had she sat down when there was commotion at the entrance as some delegates and negotiators tried to enter the jam-packed session – but were stopped by security.
There were loud shouts of “help, help” and a lot of pushing and shoving.
Some delegates outside started banging against the walls.
The Madame President then directed the secretariat to allow the party delegates who were still outside to come in.
By then the Ceiba was filled to the brim – and the session was delayed again for another 20 minutes.
South American countries made the first three interventions.
With the first intervention from Bolivia who declared that they did not accept the draft text. Many in the crowd remarked “it is going to be a long night.”
Peru then spoke next and urged countries to adopt the draft text – to great applause.
It was clear that many were resigned to the compromise – were tired – and were wanting to go home.
Venezuela spoke straight after and raised their concern on the conduct of the security personnel saying they should keep a “cool head.”
On the draft text – they were not happy – and noted that there had been “tears and fury” but the “minutes are fundamental” to achieving a good climate change text.
Venenzuela called on delegates “not to give up” or be in “too much of a hurry” on the text.
South Korea made the first intervention in English – all the previous three had spoken in Spanish – and described the talks as a “roller coaster and full of steep slopes.”
They said they believed countries had risen to the challenges of climate change.
Grenada spoke on behalf of the AOSIS.
They congratulated the Madame President on her transparency and flexibility and welcomed the text although they outlined that it was “not perfect.”
They said they understood the balance needed to come up on the text and the compromises that had to be made.
AOSIS welcomed the proposals on adaptation and provisions for loss and damage.
“We have concerns – but our concerns will wait – given the late hour.”
The AOSIS intervention was well received.
As this report is being written outside the Ceiba – a lot of applause can be heard – signaling a better atmosphere to the talks a year ago in Copenhagen.