Tuesday 30 November 2010

Values of Mexican goddess to inspire climate change negotiators – Figueres

By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika Media Team
29 NOVEMBER 2010 CANCUN ---- Reason and creativity, values of the Mayan goddess Ixchel, is what UN climate chief hopes will inspire climate negotiators to reach an ‘acceptable’ deal in Cancun in the coming 12 days.
Addressing the formal opening session at the Moon Palace Tuesday, Christiana Figueres urged negotiators to be guided by reason and compromise as they weave the new climate change tapestry the whole globe is waiting for.

“Weaving this tapestry is urgent to allow the poorest nations who need a predictable and sufficient help to deal with the climate crisis they are already experiencing.

“I urge you to resolve these issues with priority so that a balanced outcome in Cancun can be achieved. A tapestry with holes will not work and the holes can only be filled in through compromise, said Ms Figueres.

She was quick to admit however that progress will not happen if unresolved issues from both the two negotiating tracks – Long term Co-operative Action (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol – are not resolved.

For LCA – negotiators need to formalise mitigation proposals put forward by Parties in 2010, mobilise long-term finance and create a new fund with the accompanying accountability of its delivery and response measures.

Similarly under the Kyoto Protocol, Parties need to clarify the future of the Protocol and avoid a gap after the first commitment period.

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, after which Parties need to negotiate a new international framework.

Speaking at the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on KP, Tuvalu’s lead negotiator, Ian Fry pleaded with Parties to make a decisive decision on the future of KP.

“Tuvalu is disappointed that two emerging two positions on KP – one group wants progress while the other wants incremental progress.

“Small vulnerable states don’t want KP to be held hostage in the long term co-operative action (LCA) process.

“It’s either we give life to the Kyoto Protocol or take the life of people in vulnerable countries, said Fry, to the applause of hundreds of delegates at the opening session of AWG-KP Monday.

Earlier, at the LCA session, Papua New Guinea stirred debate when its chief negotiator, Kevin Conrad suggested that the Conference of the Parties resort to its Rule 42 to allow for a transparent process of negotiation.

Konrad referred to last year’s Copenhagen Accord as an example of the failure of the UNFCCC process. After two weeks of negotiations, more than 20 world leaders put together the Copenhagen Accord, which did not reflect most of the issues agreed to in the negotiations.

“Consensus leads to settling issues at the lowest common denominator.

Konrad said PNG wants more transparency and participatory in the process and suggested the use of rule 42 to resolve issues in the negotiation process.

Rule 42 of the Draft procedures of the Conference of the Parties (COP) states that Parties shall make every effort to reach an agreement on matters of substance by consensus. If efforts to reach a consensus have been exhausted and no agreement is reached, the decision shall, as a last resort be taken by a two third majority vote.

COP16 chair and Mexico’s secretary for foreign affairs, Patricia Espinosa in response referred PNG’s concern to further consultation before she reports back to the LCA plenary.

Similar concerns of a’ new text’ introduced by the host government have emerged, in the event of an impasse and no agreement is reached.

In Copenhagen, the Danish chair introduced a new negotiating text to the surprise of the Parties.

A Pacific delegate who did not want to be named said whatever the outcome of Cancun will be, it should be seen as being Party-driven and not forced on them by a selected group of countries in collusion with the chair. This, he said was the failure of Cancun.

“COP15 wasn’t a political failure, but the failure of the UNFCCC process, said PNG’s Kevin Conrad.

As negotiators get down to the nuts and bolts of the negotiating text, the city of Cancun is on security lock down.

Mexican police and troops, supported by navy patrol boats have cordoned off areas around the Moon Palace hotel, a beachfront complex where the 12 day talks are being held.

The Cancun talks, often referred to as the Conference of the Parties 16th Session (COP16) are seen in many quarters as the last chance for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to restore faith in a process that has divided developed and developing countries.

It comes a year after the failure of the Copenhagen talks where leaders were supposed to deliver a post-2012 pact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deliver billions in aid to poor countries.

Instead, it gave birth to a face-saving compromise, the Copenhagen Accord, which was crafted by more than 20 world leaders in the final hour of the 2009 summit.

In the UNFCCC, meanwhile, negotiations have switched from a big vision to securing visible progress in small, practical steps.

"Perhaps the most important thing we learnt from Copenhagen is that there is no miraculous agreement which is going to resolve the problem of climate change," said Figueres.

"Quite simply, it (the one-off agreement) does not exist."

Campaign groups say Cancun must deliver given the visible record year of extreme weather.

“Negotiators should begin UN climate change talks with far more urgency and resolve following a year of weather related disasters, record temperatures, flooding and rising sea levels, said Oxfam.

In the first nine months of 2010, more than 20,000 people have died due to weather related disasters, more than twice recorded for 2009, according to a report released by Oxfam today.

“This year has seen massive suffering and loss due to extreme weather disaster. This is likely to get worse as climate change tightens its grip. The human impacts of climate change in 2010 send a powerful reminder why progress in Cancun is more urgent than ever, said Tim Gore, author of the Oxfam report, titled “More than ever – climate talks that work for those that need them most.”

Even if many politicians seem to have tiptoed away from climate change as an issue, the public should not, urged the TckTckTck Campaign.

"There is a huge global movement of people demanding a low-carbon future and sending a clear signal that politicians have a mandate to take the bold steps needed to tackle climate change," said Paul Horsman, head of the TckTckTck Campaign.

Pacific calls for greater commitment from global community

UNEP Report finds Copenhagen Accord pledges will not reach targets of 2 degrees or less.

29 November, Cancun - Pledges to cut emissions under the Copenhagen Accord do not add up. Formed after the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Convention, in Copenhagen, Denmark last year, the Copenhagen Accord declared that deep cuts in global emissions are required to stop the increase in global temperature to below two degrees Celsius. It also called for an assessment that would consider strengthening the long-term goal including “temperature rises of 1.5 degrees.”

“The Emissions Gap Report”, a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) finds the pledges made do not reduce emissions enough to limit global warming to below two degrees Celcius as declared.

“If you add up all of what the countries have put on the table in terms of the pledges you get to emissions in 2020 that are far above the level needed to get down to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celcius,” said Dr Bill Hare of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of the Lead Authors of the report.

“I think one of the problems with the Copenhagen Accord process was that the goal was written down and the pledges came later and there hasn’t been a process that has said – ‘Great you have made some pledges but they don’t add up to enough.”

Dr Bill Hare with Leon Charles of Grenada, Chair of AOSIS

Studies show that emission levels of approximately 44 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 would be consistent with a “likely” chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celcius. The pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord leave a gap of nine gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to reach this goal, however if the world continued in a “business as usual’ fashion the gap would be 12 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Emissions Gap Report also shows that it is still technically and economically feasible now to achieve 40 billion tonnes or lower in 2020, according to Dr Hare - “so that it won’t break the bank and will actually have a lot of benefits for countries, so while reports show on the one hand that the pledges are not enough, we still have time to close this gap with enough political will”.

As of mid-November this year 140 countries have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord. Of these 85 countries have pledged to reduce their emissions or constrain their growth up to 2020. At the Cancun climate change talks, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are standing strong, calling for urgency to act now with deeper emission cuts than those pledged in the Copenhagen Accord, before it is too late.

“The window of opportunity to try and turn things around has been specified, we need to peak our emission rate, if we don’t we will miss the targets of creating a safer cleaner environment and that window will close,” said Ambassador Colin Beck, the Solomon Islands Ambassador to the United Nations. He believes this report states what the Pacific countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been saying for years.
Ambassador Beck being interviewed by international media in Cancun
The Emissions Gap Report emphasises that tackling climate change is still manageable, if leadership is shown. It is political will and leadership that is called upon to help make decisions that limit global warming and ultimately ensure the survival of the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). These populations are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet have done very little to contribute to the global problem.

“Each country has to step up to the plate so to speak and make its commitment,” states Dr Hare, “and if countries politically are not prepared to do that then we certainly won’t get enough action that will reduce global emissions fast enough to prevent the dire threats that face SIDS and others so it really comes down to politics.”

Cancun Must Set Stage for Planet-Saving Agreement

Vulnerable Pacific Islands raise expectations for climate change negotiations

29 November 2010, Cancun – A group of Pacific small island developing states (Pacific SIDS), among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, challenged other nations to raise their expectations for the negotiations that began in Cancun today.

Andrew Yatilman, Head of delegation for the Federated States of Micronesia, spoke on behalf of the Pacific SIDS. “While the politics of climate change may have shifted in the year since the world last met in Copenhagen, the dangers of life in a warming world are no less real. We must raise, not lower our expectations for Cancun.”

Yatilman delivered his statement on day one of the negotiations, where the Pacific SIDS are insisting on progress in a number of key areas that would set the stage for a planet-saving agreement to be signed in South Africa next year.

“Make no mistake, what happens in Cancun matters. That is why many of our Heads of State, Heads of Government, and ministers are returning this year to COP16 – to finish what we set out to do in Copenhagen and preserve a future for our people and our countries,” said Yatilman.

“First, the Pacific SIDS, as members of AOSIS, have consistently called for limiting the rise in average global temperature to well below 1.5 degrees to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and provide a reasonable opportunity for the survival of all our island nations.”

“A recently released UNEP report confirmed that there remains a wide gap between the emissions reduction pledges on the table and what is needed to achieve this goal. These pledges would likely take the world beyond 3 degrees – a reality that would leave many of our islands, and indeed entire island nations, uninhabitable. We must establish a process here in Cancun to reach agreement on targets, using the survival of small island nations as a minimum benchmark.

“Second, the agreements reached in Cancun must be a stepping stone towards a legally binding agreement that is needed to lock in the emissions cuts and other measures needed to protect the future of our islands. The stakes are too high for all players to rely on voluntary arrangements.”

“Third, our region faces enormous hurdles implementing adaptation programmes, and urgently needs the support of the international community in the areas of finance, capacity building, and technology transfer. It is essential that we establish a new global climate change fund that provides streamlined access that takes into account the special circumstances of SIDS and LDCs, so that our people can see concrete results in their communities.”

Speaking in relation to the Kyoto Protocol, Ambassador Donald Kalpokas, Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the United Nations emphasised the following:

“We must reach a conclusion to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations to avoid a gap between the first and second commitment periods. The Kyoto Protocol is the lynchpin of the international legal regime for responding to the climate crisis and a gap in commitment period would seriously undermine our ability to respond effectively.”

Pacific negotiators met prior to the COP to discuss priority issues for their islands and coordinate their negotiating strategy.

Heads of state and government from the Pacific island nations of Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu will be attending the Cancun meeting during the second week of negotiations to provide the high level political guidance needed to ensure a robust outcome.

For more information or for comment, please contact Michael Crocker in Cancun at 9982243678 or by email press@pacificsids.org

Full statements as per below - please click on the images to read:

Monday 29 November 2010

Mitigating climate change: Vanuatu leading by example with Renewable Energy targets

Ambassador Donald Kalpokas from Vanuatu to the UN

The power utility of Vanuatu (UNELCO) has set itself a goal of generating 33% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2013.   Here at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention, Vanuatu hopes the world will agree to strengthen climate change mitigation policies.  Although the nation is amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change it is also amongst those countries that barely contributes to the global problem. 

Despite this, Vanuatu is not discouraged in taking action and is doing what it can do to reduce carbon emissions by growing their reliance on renewable energy.

 “Vanuatu’s position is similar or closely linked to the Small Island Developing States, we hope to have some outcomes here concerning mitigation, when it comes to that we’d like to see support for our renewable energy projects and hope to make a case for that here through dialogue with our Pacific partners,” said Ambassador Donald Kalpokas, Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

Hoping for success at this conference in Cancun, Vanuatu is also interested in seeking further support to achieve their renewable energy targets.  Partners such as the Government of Italy and Austria have helped the country in achieving their energy goals, but at this meeting it is hoped that they will be able to negotiate for further developing assistance.

Vanuatu is part of the Pacific family that is attending the Cancun climate change talks, strengthened by Prime Minister of Vanuatu who is leading the delegation.  In all there is a team of eight that is joining the Small Islands Developing States to strive for success in Cancun.  As current chair of the Pacific Island Leaders Forum, Vanuatu is taking its responsibility seriously in supporting the rest of the Pacific at these negotiations.

“Even if we don’t get a legally binding agreement here, we want to see a way forward from here so that the next Conference of the Parties will address this issue.”

The 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Conference on Climate Change is held in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 11 December.

Kiribati hopes Ambo Declaration reflected in Cancun climate outcomes.

Andrew Teem (middle) with members of the Kiribati delegation

28 November, Cancun, Mexico - Kiribati has had a demanding year as the small island nation strengthens its stance at the climate change negotiations.  There is a 13 strong delegation that will be in attendance at the UN Climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, led by President Anote Tong.

In November this year the Tarawa Climate Change Conference which brought together 18 Small Island Developing States from the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand, resulted in the Ambo Declaration (please read below/attached).  It is hoped that the Small Islands developing States will take on essential parts of the Ambo declaration to be negotiated for in Cancun.

“What Kiribati would really like to see from the conference here in Cancun would be that at least some of the more important elements of the declaration itself can be taken on board with that at least with the negotiations,” said Andrew Teem, the Senior Policy Adviser for the Office of the President in Kiribati.

“It would be ideal if these could be reflected in the decisions that come out of Cancun.”

As with other Pacific island nations that engage in the climate change negotiations, the issues of ‘adaptation’ and ‘financing’ are significant concerns for Kiribati.  The expectations for a solid agreement at this Cancun climate conference are being downplayed however for Kiribati they are still hopeful for some positive outcomes as are other members in the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS).  Teem states they have to be realistic in the expectations from this meeting and should focus on the issues that can lead to solid decisions at a later date.

“The reality of the situation at the moment is that it will not be possible within the next two weeks to come up with something solid which is better than an agreement that would mean nothing later on.  We need to work to make sure the decisions that come out of Cancun will need to reflect the same concerns that we have been advocating over the past few years.”

The UNFCCC COP 16 is held in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 11 December. 

Text from the Ambo Declaration - can be read in proper layout at:  

We, Leaders, Ministers and Representatives of Governments participating in the Tarawa Climate Change Conference held on 10th November 2010, recognizing that, climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and that there is an urgent need for more and immediate action to be undertaken to address the causes and adverse impacts of climate change, expressed;
1. Alarm at the impacts of the climate change crisis already being felt in our countries threatening the sustainable development and security of our countries, especially the immediate threat to the livelihood and survival of the most vulnerable States on the frontline, including Small Island States, Least Developed Countries and countries susceptible to drought and desertification;
2. Grave concerns over recent scientific findings on the worsening state of the global
climate as a result of human induced climate change, especially the primary impacts such
as sea level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather events and their adverse
consequences, threatening the survival of atoll and low lying nations, their people and biodiversity;
3. Acknowledgement that anthropogenic climate change can be mitigated through greater cooperation by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and through individual and global commitment to achieving deep cuts in current and future emissions levels, and agreed to pursue this vigorously;
4. Ongoing commitment to the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Road Map mandate and to building on the political understandings of the Copenhagen Accord.
5. Deep concerns over the slow pace that international negotiations within the UNFCCC is taking to reach legally binding agreements necessary to meet the ultimate objectives of the Convention and call upon all Parties to work together to fast track the pace of these negotiations to safeguard the future of peoples, particularly those in the most vulnerable States in the frontline;
6. Acknowledgement that there are elements of common ground in the negotiations that can
be agreed on to form the basis of action in the immediate term, elements which when implemented will reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of developing countries, in particular, the most vulnerable States on the frontline, especially Small Island States, Least Developed Countries and those countries susceptible to drought and desertification.
7. Express concern over loss and degradation of biodiversity and its impact on human livelihood and welfare, in particular, in the most vulnerable States in the frontline, and also concern over the emissions added by land degradation;
8. Recognise the connection between low cost, sustainable adaptation and mitigation options and maintaining a healthy biodiversity and urge all nations to use aspects of biodiversity to increase their climate resilience and pave the way for cost-effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable development especially in the most vulnerable States in the frontline and further support the initiatives to implement the outcomes of CBD COP 10 including the CBD Biodiversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
We, Therefore Declare our resolve in moving forward with our collective commitment to addressing the causes and impacts of climate change and:
9. Call for decisions on an “urgent package” to be agreed to at the COP 16 for concrete and
immediate implementation reflecting the common ground of Parties, consistent with the principles and provisions of the Convention , and the Bali Action Plan, inter alia, to assist those in most vulnerable States on the frontline to respond to the challenges posed by the climate change crisis;
10. Welcome the growing momentum and commitment for substantially increasing resources
for climate change financing and call on developed country Parties to make available
financial resources that are new and additional, adequate, predictable and sustainable, and
on a clear, transparent and grant basis to developing country parties, especially the most
vulnerable States on the front line, to meet and address current and projected impacts of
climate change;
11. Acknowledge that the new fund to be established under the Convention should be operationalized as soon as possible with efficient and transparent institutional arrangements that ensures improved access, a balanced allocation of resources between adaptation and mitigation and considers the unique circumstances of most vulnerable States in the frontline;
12. Acknowledge that the new fund should provide for developing countries and in particular,
the unique circumstances of the most vulnerable States on the frontline to the adverse impacts of climate change;
13. Call on Parties to the UNFCCC to consider the need for establishing an international mechanism responsible for planning, preparation for, and managing climate change related disaster risks in order to minimize and address the environmental and economic costs associated with loss and damage;
14. Urges the developed country Parties to the UNFCCC to support the implementation of country-driven institutional strengthening and concrete adaptation priorities aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing country Parties, in particular, the most vulnerable States on the frontline to the adverse effects of climate change;
15. Support consideration of the development and implementation of strategies and actions
directed at protecting people displaced within or across borders as a result of adverse
effects arising from climate change extreme events;
16. Call on the developed country Parties to support the implementation of capacity building
and transfer of technology priorities of developing country Parties to enhance their ability to contribute to the rapid reduction and mitigation of global emissions and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and further supported by transfer of environmentally sound technologies on mitigation and adaptation;
17. Call on developed country Parties to give priority support to the capacity building and technology transfer needs and priorities of the most vulnerable States in the frontline due to the urgency of the climate change crisis facing them;
18. Called on all Parties to the UNFCCC, in recognition of the urgency of the climate change crisis, to aim for concrete decisions at COP 16 that will give an explicit mandate for the timely conclusion of negotiations towards a legally binding outcome in line with the Bali Road Map and the political understandings of the Copenhagen Accord;
Adopted in Tarawa, Kiribati, 10 November, 2010
Adopted by:

Climate financing a focus for Fiji at Climate negotiations in Cancun

Members of the Fiji Delegation with delegate from the Forum Secretariat and Palau

28 November, Cancun, Mexico - ‘Easy access to climate change funding’ is a key concern for Fiji at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico (COP 16).   The issue of new funds to help address climate change concerns in Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and where they will be managed from has been under discussion during the negotiations this year. 

“For Fiji, wherever the fund is ultimately,” said Sainivalati Navoti, Director Political and Treaties in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Fiji, “what we would like to see is easy access to that fund, accessible sources of the fund that allow us to continue to address that challenge that climate change poses for Fiji.”

There is a strong team in the official Fiji delegation from diverse fields to accompany the Fiji government representatives including the Pacific Council of Churches and the Fiji media.  With a wide range of delegates, Fiji intends to be meaningful contributors to the negotiations process as they have been with other Pacific island nations since the negotiation meetings increased under the Bali Action Road Map.

“This is the reality of multi-lateralism, if we want to have a binding treaty we need to negotiate and it’s not easy because there is a lot of sovereign interest at stake.  If we do come up with a treaty it has to be give and take, we need to talk and identify areas that we can arrive at a compromise because that is the rule of the game and we have to play.”

The head of delegation for Fiji is Col. Samuela Saumatua the Minister of Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment.  He is accompanied by Fiji’s Ambassador to the European Union, Ambassador Peceli Vocea, who is also the board member of the adaptation fund.  The Director of Environment of Fiji is also a member of the delegation along with those from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Environment and other partners.

The UNFCCC COP 16 is held in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 11 December.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Cook Islands, a valuable member in the world negotiations against climate change

Members of the Cook Islands delegation

27 November, Cancun, Mexico - The Cook Islands are committed to the climate change cause.  The nation of 15 small islands is a valuable member of the Pacific wide team that works as one in the fight for an agreement crucial to our survival. As time passes and science gives weight to the impacts of climate change - the need for an agreement grows stronger each day.

Over the next two weeks in Cancun, Mexico the world comes together, yet again, at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (COP16).

While expectations are being downplayed at this meeting, the Cook Islands are still working towards an agreement, after all the nation is amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but is one of the nations that contributes least to this global problem.

"I think they are trying to downplay the ambitions of this meeting, but for the Cook Islands it's important that we keep the pressure on to try and come to some sort of agreement. I mean, we can’t just keep deferring the hard decisions, we've got to make a decision and set a deadline for this process," said Myra Patai the  Director, International Organizations & Treaties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration - the head of the Cook Islands delegation.

The Cook Islands have been actively engaged in the climate change negotiations which have been held more regularly after the formation of the ‘Bali Roadmap’ at the 13th Conference of the Parties two years ago. They have in their team experienced local negotiators who are tasked with leading different working groups for the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) in addressing the range of agenda items.

“For the Cook Islands we have two key issues; to address problems of rising Greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on us and we’re hoping to put in place an agreement that will capture those countries that aren’t part of the climate change agreement process. We’d also like to see a second commitment period for parties under the Kyoto protocol is established.”

Here at the climate change meetings, it is often commented upon by fellow Pacific delegates that the Cook Islands country team is largely made up of the female gender, however Patai says the strength of their team is more that it reflects the diverse interests from the island nation as the country battles climate change together. In all there are eight delegates in the Cook Islands official team who stem from different government ministries, as well as nongovernmental organisations.

“I think this really reflects what we do back home we have set up a climate change country team which comprises of almost all of government ministries as well as traditional leaders, business people and NGO’s. I think Government understands that to address climate change effectively requires a comprehensive response, that government cannot tackle climate change on its own.”

Pacific prepared for climate talks in Cancun

Cancun, Mexico, 27 November - The Pacific region is preparing their stance in cooperation with all Small Island States at the climate change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico next week. While the possibility of a new global agreement on climate change is being downplayed, it has not dampened the efforts of the Pacific as they ready themselves for the final round of negotiations for 2010. There is strong representation from the Pacific region in Cancun with Heads of State, Environment Ministers and Ambassadors of the Pacific in attendance with their officials.

The 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 16) is bringing the World together for two weeks of climate change negotiations. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) coordinated a meeting of the Pacific islands countries to assist them in preparing for the two weeks of intense discussions.

“I think judging from the dialogue in the Pacific meeting there is a strong desire to see some tangible outcomes from Cancun,” stated SPREP’s climate change adviser Mr. Espen Ronneberg.

“Of course expectations have been downplayed by the host and a number of other influential countries but we’ll have to work through all the issues and see how we can best rescue something that can be of benefit to the region.”

During the preparatory meeting the Pacific delegates discussed issues on the agenda, exchanging views and information, allowing for frank talks before attending the formal meetings. One of the main issues of concern that was discussed extensively by the Pacific region as they prepared for the coming weeks is that of financing.

“We do need to see new and additional resources being made available. The existing funds and so forth that are available to the countries are viewed by many as inadequate and there is so much complexity in accessing the funds. We need new funds and funding modalities that are easier for our countries to take advantage of.”

The final day of the preparatory meeting allowed for negotiations training for the Pacific Island delegates which were coordinated by the highly experienced Tuvalu negotiator, Mr. Ian Fry. His training programme stages a practical exercise to strengthen negotiation skills and for this particular session of the Pacific the activity focussed on the adaptation agenda and the negotiations text now at the table.

“This was a very successful day of negotiations training, these exercises are very helpful, and it is good to have a refresher even for our more experienced negotiators as well just to take a step back and see the negotiations from the perspective of other countries. It is daunting for the new people for whom this is their first COP, and the negotiations training exercise is very valuable in preparing them for the weeks to come.”

The Pacific preparatory meeting was held in Cancun from 21 – 23 November, while the formal Cancun COP will be held from 29 November to 11 December.

Friday 26 November 2010

News from COP 16 in Cancun

We will e uploading news to this site on events unfolding at the COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. These updates should will be starting soon so keep watching this space.