UN climate chief urges governments to deliver on Cancun pledges
The UN’s top climate change official has issued a timely call for governments to accelerate efforts to deliver on last year’s Cancun Accords, ahead of the year’s first official round of international climate negotiations in Bangkok next month.
Diplomats are scheduled to recommence negotiations at a meeting in Bangkok scheduled to run from April 3 to 8. The conference is intended to provide an update on progress against the Cancun Accords and agree a work-plan for this year’s negotiations, which will culminate in December at the COP 17 summit in Durban, South Africa.
Speaking at a meeting of environment and climate ministers in Mexico City intended to prepare for the Bangkok summit, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC climate change secretariat, said governments had to be ready to begin delivering on the Cancun agreements.
“Governments must move purposefully down the path they have set, and that means maintaining momentum at Bangkok in order to take the next big climate step in Durban at the end of the year,” she said.
“Governments need to maintain momentum at Bangkok by agreeing to a clear work-plan for 2011 and by taking forward outstanding substantive work. This includes work on making the institutions for climate funding, technology cooperation and adaptation fully functional within the deadlines agreed in Cancun.”
There had been reports that efforts to deliver on the pledges made in Cancun had already run into trouble after the UN was forced to postpone the first meeting of a crucial new committee tasked with overseeing the formation of an international Green Climate Fund after a row over which countries will be represented on the committee.
However, Figueres said the Green Climate Fund Transitional Committee was being finalised constituted and would host its first meeting in Mexico City April 28-29.
She also said that progress has been made on the formation of an Adaptation Committee, where countries have will put forward proposals to accelerate adaptation efforts, and that detailed discussions on how to deliver on the Cancun pledge to improve the transfer clean technologies between countries would take place in Bangkok.
In addition, she said the UN had begun work on a prototype registry designed to match proposed climate change projects from developing countries with funding commitments from industrialised nations. She added that the prototype will be ready for launch at the next UNFCCC conference in Bonn in June.
The UN last week published an update on the voluntary carbon emission targets put forward by industrialised nations and developing country action plans that have been submitted in compliance with the Cancun Accords.
Figueres said the update would provide the starting point for this year’s negotiations. But she reiterated warnings that the emission reduction targets currently put forward by countries are insufficient to limit global average temperature rises to the agreed target of two degrees centigrade.
“Taking forward issues from Cancun also means that Bangkok needs to address building strong mechanisms and possible market incentives that allow everyone to work together to cut emissions at a cheaper and faster rate,” she said, adding that pressure was also on governments to reach an agreement on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which is currently due to lapse in 2012.
The on-going stand-off over whether to extend or scrap the Kyoto Protocol threatens to overshadow the negotiations for much of this year and has raised fears that the legal framework for carbon trading schemes such as the Clean Development Mechanism could collapse unless some sort of agreement is reached before 2012.