Big Decisions Reached At UN Climate Change Conference

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) – two bodies within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ) – have concluded work on a number of significant draft decisions to be presented in the final plenary of the UN climate conference this Friday in Cancun, Mexico.

The draft includes decisions on continued and strengthened support to developing countries’ efforts in climate change adaptation and mitigation. This also includes concrete technology transfer projects.

“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 Cancun in good faith to show the world that the multilateral process can deliver as long as a spirit of compromise, cooperation and transparency prevails.”

Espinosa said that this development should be seen as a positive sign for the conference as a whole. She urged all UNFCCC Parties to maintain the spirit of compromise with a view to reaching a balanced agreement.

The decisions included a near agreement that carbon capture and storage may be an eligible project activity under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. This, however, depends if it complies with stringent risk and safety assessments.

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, points out that the significance of the move. “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,” Figueres said.

Another achievement involves the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Expert Group. It was decided to broaden the Group’s mandate and extend it for a five-year term, which is the longest period given since it was established in 2001. The group provides technical assistance to LDCs on the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programs of action.

Other developments in the agreement include strengthening education, training and public awareness on climate change, engaging civil society more effectively 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,” Figueres said. “This underlines the commitment of the negotiation s to remain open, transparent and engaged.”