Cancun Produces Deal

In the early hours of Saturday, Dec 11th, the CoP 16 came to an agreement and adopted a decision, despite opposition from Bolivia. After a long marathon session of negotiations, the plenary adopted a text produced some 12 hours earlier.

The document recognizes the issue of adaptation to be just as important as mitigation, requiring the appropriate institutional arrangements to enhance adaptation action and support. In this respect, the Cancun Adaptation Framework is established, with the objective of enhancing action on adaptation. The main institution to take care of this being the Adaptation Committee, which would provide technical support, information, and promote synergy, remains to be created, with a clear step-by-step process laid out.

Furthermore, a Green Climate Fund will be established to manage $100 billion of funding for developing countries. Its immediate establishment, and the high-level of agreement between the parties, can be found in the detailed institutional set-up described in the document. Also, the World Bank is invited to act as an interim trustee (or administrator of assets) for the first three years, pending review – a much expected outcome, nevertheless disliked by some civil society organizations and least-developed countries.

Also, a registry will be set up to record national mitigation efforts. This will effectively standardize the recording, modelling and reporting of the parties to the convention. The introduction of these standards to the Convention was a much-needed step towards a balanced record-keeping.

The final decision is on transfer of technology, which was much expected. It also entails the creation of a Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Center and Network – two bodies which will administer the Technology Mechanism under the CoP.

As a separate part, the countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol have come out with a document mired in disagreement. No second commitment period has been agreed upon, but the hope remains that it could be, since it is mentioned several times. The statement that the CoP “agrees that further work is needed to convert emission reduction targets to quantified economy wide limitation or reduction commitments” portrays the lack of change to the status quo.

This is certainly a step forward in negotiations and paves the way for the process to continue in Durban in 2011. Despite its positive outcome for the negotiations, its effect on combating climate change is minimal. Everyone agrees that more has to be done, but they have not stepped forward and acted to achieve this in the current document.

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