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New Zealand Youth Perspective on COP16 Outcome


New Zealand Youth Perspective on COP16 Outcome

Cancun, December 11th 2010.

After two weeks of difficult negotiations the COP16 climate talks in Cancun finally delivered concrete results, according to the New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD).

“In the final hours of the conference, countries were able to reach agreement around a set of outcomes that make tangible progress towards a fair, ambitious and binding global deal at COP17 in Durban next year.” says Paul Young of NZYD.

The package, dubbed the Cancun Agreements, was welcomed to repeated and prolonged applause in the final plenary.

NZYD joins a host of international NGOs in stressing that while the agreements do not go nearly far enough towards dangerous climate change, the positive and cooperative nature of the talks make it a vital step in putting the talks back on track after the failure of Copenhagen last year.

The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christina Figueres, stated that, “Governments have given a clear signal that they are headed towards a low-emissions future together, they have agreed to be accountable to each other for the actions they take to get there, and they have set it out in a way which encourages countries to be more ambitious over time.”

Some of the key outcomes of the Cancun Agreements were:

• Statement of the shared goal to limit global temperature rise to 2°C, and acknowledgement that current pledges are not commensurate with the deep emissions cuts required to achieve this.

• Countries with obligations under the Kyoto Protocol agree to continue negotiations with the aim of completing their work and ensuring there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the treaty.

• Details confirmed around climate finance for adaptation and mitigation for developing nations left out of the Copenhagen Accord have now been agreed on. A Green Climate Fund, with equal representation from rich and poor countries was established to assist in this process. Somewhat controversially, it will be administered by the World Bank in its first three years.

• Developing countries have agreed to take on actions to limit the rise in their emissions and, critically, agreed to independent verification of the effectiveness of these actions in exchange for funding and technology transfer from rich nations.

New Zealand Minister for International Climate Change Negotiations, Hon Tim Groser, played a critical in brokering the success in this last area.

Part of the negotiations especially relevant to New Zealand was around land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), and the contentious issue of how forestry emissions will be accounted for and considered in a global deal. A clear decision did not emerge in this area; this will need to be worked on throughout the ensuing year.

The Minister stated, "New Zealand has not achieved every element of what we sought to advance here at Cancun in a number of areas like agriculture and forestry but we will have the opportunity to advance these important issues of detail as the negotiations progress forward next year.”

NZYD has been following the forestry issue closely while attending the conference in Cancun. Says Mr Young, “We harbor some concerns about the implications for New Zealand’s emissions reduction efforts under the forestry rules that our government was advocating for, as highlighted by studies done by international NGOs.”

“While we are pleased that the proposed rules have not been pushed through over the objections of NGOs and several countries, we are concerned that no real outcome was reached in this area and several options are on the table. Whatever happens, we need to ensure that any forestry mechanisms put in place really do encourage emissions reductions.”

“The Mexican presidency deserves much credit for creating a negotiation atmosphere that was inclusive and transparent, which helped bring all governments together. We have regained some faith in the UNFCCC process, and look forward to more major progress being made in 2011.”

“We need countries to go home and continue to develop national plans to curb climate change. They must bring these actions into the international process if we are to truly secure an agreement in Durban that meaningfully addresses the urgency of climate change”, concludes Paul.

The next Conference of the Parties is scheduled to take place in South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

“The agreement in Cancun is not an end, but a fresh beginning.”

- ENDS –

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