Key draft decisions agreed at UN climate change conference

Coral reefs are in danger from climate changes and ocean acidification

Two bodies within United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have concluded their work on a number of significant draft decisions that will be presented for adoption on Friday in the final plenary of the UN climate change conference under way in Cancún, Mexico.

The two groups – the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) – concluded their deliberations yesterday with draft decisions on continued, strengthened support to developing countries efforts in climate change adaptation and mitigation, including concrete technology transfer projects, UNFCCC said in a statement.

“These advances form an important part of the groundwork for strengthened global climate change action,” said Patricia Espinosa, President of the Conference and Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Mexico. “They also clearly show that countries have come to Cancún in good faith to show the world that the multilateral process can deliver as long as a spirit of compromise, cooperation and transparency prevails,” said Ms. Espinosa.

The progress, she added, “should be seen as a positive sign for the conference as a whole,” and urged all UNFCCC Parties to maintain the spirit of compromise with a view to reaching a balanced agreement that will take the world into a new era of cooperation on climate change.

The decisions included a near agreement that carbon capture and storage may be an eligible project activity under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), provided it complies with stringent risk and safety assessments.

The move is significant because it presents ministers, who will be asked to give political guidance to the negotiations, with only two clear options on the issue.

“This conclusion is important because it gives Parties a key to unlock other outstanding issues under the two tracks of the negotiations on Long-Term Cooperative Action and in the Kyoto Protocol,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres.

Another achievement was a decision to broaden the mandate of a Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Expert Group and extend it for a five-year term, the longest period given to the Group since its establishment in 2001. The Group provides technical guidance and advice to LDCs on the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programmes of action.

Countries also agreed to strengthen education, training and public awareness on climate change through increased funding for such activities, and to engage civil society more strongly in national decision-making and the UN climate change process.

“Faster and more effective action on climate change requires governments to welcome the fresh ideas and active participation of all sides of civil society, especially the young whose futures are at stake,” said Ms. Figueres. “This underlines the commitment of the negotiations to remain open, transparent and engaged,” she added.

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source: UN News Center