Wednesday, 1 December 2010 11:58 AM

Values of Mexican Goddess to Inspire Climate Change Negotiators - Figueres

By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika Media Team29 NOVEMBER 2010 CANCUN ---- Reason and creativity, values of the Mayan goddess Ixchel, is what UN climate chief hopes will inspire climate negotiators to reach an 'acceptable' deal in Cancun in the coming 12 days.

Addressing the formal opening session at the Moon Palace Tuesday, Christiana Figueres urged negotiators to be guided by reason and compromise as they weave the new climate change tapestry the whole globe is waiting for.

"Weaving this tapestry is urgent to allow the poorest nations who need a predictable and sufficient help to deal with the climate crisis they are already experiencing.

"I urge you to resolve these issues with priority so that a balanced outcome in Cancun can be achieved. A tapestry with holes will not work and the holes can only be filled in through compromise, said Ms Figueres.

She was quick to admit however that progress will not happen if unresolved issues from both the two negotiating tracks - long term co-operative action (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol - are not resolved.

For LCA - negotiators need to formalise mitigation proposals put forward by Parties in 2010, mobilise long-term finance and create a new fund with the accompanying accountability of its delivery and response measures.

Similarly under the Kyoto Protocol, Parties need to clarify the future of the Protocol and avoid a gap after the first commitment period.

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, after which Parties need to negotiate a new international framework.

Speaking at the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on KP, Tuvalu's lead negotiator, Ian Fry pleaded with Parties to make a decisive decision on the future of KP.

"Tuvalu is disappointed that two emerging two positions on KP -one group wants progress while the other wants incremental progress.

"Small vulnerable states don't want KP to be held hostage in the long term co-operative action (LCA) process.

"It's either we give life to the Kyoto Protocol or take the life of people in vulnerable countries, said Fry, to the applause of hundreds of delegates at the opening session of AWG-KP Monday.


Earlier, at the LCA session, Papua New Guinea stirred debate when its chief negotiator, Kevin Conrad suggested that the Conference of the Parties resort to its Rule 42 to allow for a transparent process of negotiation.

Konrad referred to last year's Copenhagen Accord as an example of the failure of the UNFCCC process. After two weeks of negotiations, more than 20 world leaders put together the Copenhagen Accord, which did not reflect most of the issues agreed to in the negotiations.

"Consensus leads to settling issues at the lowest common denominator.

Konrad said PNG wants more transparency and participatory in the process and suggested the use of rule 42 to resolve issues in the negotiation process.

Rule 42 of the Draft procedures of the Conference of the Parties (COP) states that Parties shall make every effort to reach an agreement on matters of substance by consensus. If efforts to reach a consensus have been exhausted and no agreement is reached, the decision shall, as a last resort be taken by a two third majority vote.

COP16 chair and Mexico's secretary for foreign affairs, Patricia Espinosa in response referred PNG's concern to further consultation before she reports back to the LCA plenary.


Similar concerns of a' new text' introduced by the host government have emerged, in the event of an impasse and no agreement is reached.


In Copenhagen, the Danish chair introduced a new negotiating text to the surprise of the Parties.

A Pacific delegate who did not want to be named said whatever the outcome of Cancun will be, it should be seen as being Party-driven and not forced on them by a selected group of countries in collusion with the chair. This, he said was the failure of Cancun.

"COP15 wasn't a political failure, but the failure of the UNFCCC process, said PNG's Kevin Conrad.

As negotiators get down to the nuts and bolts of the negotiating text, the city of Cancun is on security lock down.

Mexican police and troops, supported by navy patrol boats have cordoned off areas around the Moon Palace hotel, a beachfront complex where the 12 day talks are being held.

The Cancun talks, often referred to as the Conference of the Parties 16th Session (COP16) are seen in many quarters as the last chance for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to restore faith in a process that has divided developed and developing countries.

It comes a year after the failure of the Copenhagen talks where leaders were supposed to deliver a post-2012 pact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deliver billions in aid to poor countries.

Instead, it gave birth to a face-saving compromise, the Copenhagen Accord, which was crafted by more than 20 world leaders in the final hour of the 2009 summit.

In the UNFCCC, meanwhile, negotiations have switched from a big vision to securing visible progress in small, practical steps.

"Perhaps the most important thing we learnt from Copenhagen is that there is no miraculous agreement which is going to resolve the problem of climate change," said Figueres.

"Quite simply, it (the one-off agreement) does not exist."

Campaign groups say Cancun must deliver given the visible record year of extreme weather.

"Negotiators should begin UN climate change talks with far more urgency and resolve following a year of weather related disasters, record temperatures, flooding and rising sea levels, said Oxfam.

In the first nine months of 2010, more than 20,000 people have died due to weather related disasters, more than twice recorded for 2009, according to a report released by Oxfam today.

"This year has seen massive suffering and loss due to extreme weather disaster. This is likely to get worse as climate change tightens its grip. The human impacts of climate change in 2010 send a powerful reminder why progress in Cancun is more urgent than ever, said Tim Gore, author of the Oxfam report, titled "More than ever - climate talks that work for those that need them most."

Even if many politicians seem to have tiptoed away from climate change as an issue, the public should not, urged the TckTckTck Campaign.

"There is a huge global movement of people demanding a low-carbon future and sending a clear signal that politicians have a mandate to take the bold steps needed to tackle climate change," said Paul Horsman, head of the TckTckTck Campaign.