Monday, 3 October 2011

UN climate chief calls on Parties to ‘bridge the negotiations gap’ in Panama

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

01 October 2011 Panama - The ‘resumed’ climate change negotiations in Panama opened on Saturday with a call to ‘bridge the remaining differences between Parties’ in preparation for the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) in Durban in December.

And, UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres urged climate negotiators to come up with some negotiating text that will eventually form the legal framework to be endorsed in Durban.

While Figueres understands the negotiations are working against the clock, she pleaded with negotiators from 192 nations to address the second commitment to Kyoto Protocol and resolve a mitigation framework under the UN climate change convention for developed and developing countries.

“This may require immediate interim arrangements that safeguard environmental integrity and ensure continuity of the regime. It should also begin to glimpse the evolution of the legal framework in the medium term, said Figueres.

Choosing to meet in Panama City is perhaps symbolic, added Figueres.

“Panama connects the North and the South by virtue of its location. And by virtue of its legendary canal, it connects the East and the West.

“In a similar manner, this session needs to clearly identify where Parties’ positions connect in
order to advance towards Durban on a firm footing, said Figueres.

She said Durban is within our reach.

“Although we have much work ahead of us, it is encouraging to see the progress already achieved this year in giving life to the Cancun Agreements. The agreements have many components, but I want to highlight the design of the Green Climate Fund and Technology Executive Committee, as well as progress on the Adaptation Committee.

“I trust that this session in Panama, bridge between two oceans and two continents, can inspire you to build a firm bridge towards Durban. In particular, I would like to encourage you to make this a firm bridge based on texts, produced by you, which would be considered in Durban. With this Panamanian bridge, Durban can be the success it has to be, said Figueres.

UNFCCC COP 17 hosted a booth at UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun, 2010

Attempting to bridge that gap is the South African delegation here in Panama. It’s conducting several informal meetings at the margins of the talks to engage the views of Parties on the way forward to achieving an ideal global frame work to flight climate change in Durban.

South Africa is reaching out to Parties to respond to specific questions on what they expect in the final outcomes of Durban, the South African delegation informed the opening plenary sessions of the Panama negotiations Saturday.

Similarly in the lead up to the Cancun climate change meeting, hosts Mexico canvassed the views of Parties at informal sessions before the COP16 meeting December 2010.

South Africa engaged former United States President, Bill Clinton to kick-start the informal discussions in the hope that Durban will produce a legally binding climate change framework that will rescue the world from the climate change crisis.

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