Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Progress at the Bonn Climate Talks and Hopes for COP17

Climate talks wrapped up in Bonn on Friday June 17 ahead of the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP17) which will take place later this year in Durban, South Africa.

Before the climate talks in Bonn, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) encouraged countries to come together: "No nation will solve climate change alone. And no nation is alone in feeling its impacts. We're only a few days away now from the mid-year climate negotiations and governments need to pick up speed."

After the Bonn talks, Figueres indicated that she is optimisitic that countries will make progress on a wide range of issues at COP17. These issues include the Kyoto Protocol, global mitigation framework, the Adaptation Committee, the Green Climate Fund, funding, and the Technology Mechanism.

She reiterated the importance of the link between negotiations on mitigation under the UN Climate Change Convention and mitigation under the Kyoto Protocol. As explained by Figueres, the Kyoto Protocol contains key rules to quantify and monitor efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and important market-based mechanisms that enable cost-effective mitigation. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 industrialized countries have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.

Figueres pointed to progress on the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Mechanism that will boost global clean technology cooperation. “Strong convergence has emerged on how the Adaptation Committee will be governed, what its composition will be and what its specific role will be,” Figueres said. “This progress means that the Committee could be fully operationalized at Durban."

The Bonn talks also made progress on the Technology Mechanism which will include a Climate Technology Centre and Network which will operate with the strong involvement of the global clean technology stakeholder community. Participants also discussed the effects of implementing mitigation measures including economic transition and diversification, along with health and trade-related issues.

Figueres said the Bonn session included discussions on the design of the Green Climate Fund, as well as identification of sources for long-term funding. Another meeting related to the Green Climate Fund will take place in Tokyo in July.

Other meetings are also planned to help pave the way for progress at COP17. A ministerial conference is planned for 2 to 3 July in Berlin. The leaderships of South African and Mexico are planning to meet with Heads of State and Governments at the UN General Assembly in New York in September and ministers are scheduled to meet approximately one month ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in South Africa.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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