Where there is a will, there is a way…

9 December 2011

Sandra Guzman
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)

COP17 is supposed to advance the elaboration of a binding agreement to resolve the adverse impacts of climate change. Unfortunately after one week of negotiations here in Durban the future still looks bleak and full of uncertainties given the lack of agreement on some of the key issues.

This week saw the delivery of the COP pass from the Mexican Presidency to South Africa, who have dedicated sessions with informal consultations on various issues including a transparent and inclusive format.  But there is no clear indication as to what kind of agreements we can expect from the various issues in the negotiation tracks.

On the one hand, the likelihood of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2CP-KP) is becoming increasingly remote because countries resisting the 2CP have intensified their position as Canada has done by announcing her intention to abandon the KP.  The African group has threatened to wash their hands of the entire process if no agreement is reached for a 2CP. The reality is that failure to agree a mandate, or a clear signal for the KP to continue, or for a legal framework that allows the constitution of a legally binding agreement will be disastrous for the entire UNFCCC regime.

Similarly, this week was crucial for the definition and design of the Green Fund because the countries must decide whether to open the text that resulted from the meetings of the Transition Committee or approve it and go forward with other definitions. Since it was not accepted by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the text came to Durban hoping for approval. However, the ALBA group conformed for Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba, noted that the text needed correction before they could give approval. The problem is that re-opening the text could delay the operationalization of the fund in Durban.

In the finance discussions there are two other issues that needs to be defined to create the international architecture – one is the issue of sources, and the other is where the resources are to be derived from. This is because although developed countries provide the funds from their public resources, there are other sources that may contribute to raise the funds necessary to achieve the goal of 100 billion dollars that must be provided by 2020.

All of these issues show the importance of civil society in this process because the governments are making decisions that don't necessarily reflect our social vision. We will continue to push for the creation of an integrated global regime that is effective, inclusive, transparent and democratic whilst dealing with climate issues in view of human rights, gender equity, and sustainability.

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