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The Success Story of Cancun COP-16

At Cancun the process of international negotiations to tackle the challenge of climate change was brought back on track.

It salvaged the talks between developed and developing countries from total failure. The Conference started with low expectations and it delivered more than expected. Although, the harder questions like future of Kyoto Protocol, Term of Reference for the Adaptation Committee, mechanism for adaptation funds availability and its disbursement, targets for reduction in emissions etc are left to be decided in future meetings/COP17. However, at the end of the conference, developing and developed countries all left Cancun happy.

For Pakistan, it was a step in the right direction. Our participation in different groups such as negotiating finance, adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, emerged better than the previous years. Most importantly, we informally were part of a group (including Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Columbia, others) vying to be included/declared among the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The previous definition mentioned the vulnerable countries and specifically mentioned Small Island Developing states (SIDs), Least Developing Countries (LDC) but not countries like Pakistan specifically. As a one step forward, the definition now deletes specific references to SIDs and LDCs. With continued effort Pakistan may be recognized as among the most vulnerable to climate change because of its proneness to glacier melt, floods, drought, sea level rise and poverty, security risks etc.
Cancun resulted in better future for REDD+ and Pakistan would take benefit of it. So at Cancun the Negotiations got back on track as a “serious package” of measures. The agreement did not give everybody everything they wanted and would still require work towards a final deal at a meeting next year in Durban, South Africa. It was able to set up a green climate fund as part of efforts to deliver 100 billion US dollars a year by 2020 to poor; includes a scheme to provide financial support for countries to preserve their forests, in a bid to combat deforestation which accounts for almost a fifth of global annual emissions, and makes progress on how countries’ actions are going to be monitored and verified. Most importantly, the countries leave here with a renewed sense of goodwill and some sense of purpose. The gains made lay the foundations for action towards a legally binding agreement.

From developing countries point of view I would like to endorse some of the sentiments shared by our colleague negotiators for G77 and China group and informal group of countries pressurizing to be recognized amongst the most vulnerable countries among developing countries such as:

Our diversity is our biggest strength! Once we were united in our diversity the partners from Annex 1 could not handle and we finally got the adaptation framework under UNFCCC; Adaptation Committee providing recommendation including to the financial mechanism ; The recognition of the process for LDCs; The work programme to address loss and damage; Recognition the need to support planning and action in developing countries; The need to build resilience, including through economic diversification;  the linkages with regional centers and networks, the linkages with the national arrangements, the note on the international adaptation center in a developing country

We will have submissions from parties to be done by February 21st 2011.  Let’s keep up to design a good strategy to maintain our unity and to continue to advance on the adaptation issues under the UNFCCC

Congratulations for the hard work and commitment shown during the negotiations/coordination at Cancun. We need to keep working with the same spirit in the near future to achieve our common objectives.

By: Dr. Raja Aurangzaib Khan

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