U.N. official sites progress in climate change session

The outcome of last week’s United Nations climate change conference in Cancún, Mexico, has put the negotiation process back on track, a U.N. official said Tuesday, outlining some of the key agreements reached at the meeting.

Progress was made on all fronts that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had identified before the conference, Robert Orr, the assistant secretary general for strategic planning, told reporters at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

“The fact that there was a hunger for a deal and a recognition of the stakes showed that governments have come to grips with the fact that their negotiation suffered a blow in the previous year and it was their responsibility to get it back on track,” said Orr.

Agreement was reached on anchoring climate change mitigation commitments of all countries into the formal process of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We now will have a system for receiving those commitments for monitoring, reporting and verifying those commitments,” Orr said. “There will be a process that will be quite transparent,” he said.

A deal was also struck on deforestation and land use, a development that is expected to unlock capital for forest conservation efforts because close to one-fifth of the accumulation of harmful greenhouse gases has been blamed on deforestation. “This agreement framework will have concrete impact on the ground,” Orr said.

On climate change financing, progress was made on the fast-track financing which will require developed countries to raise $30 billion over a three-year period to help poor countries cope with the consequences of climate change.

“The agreement in Cancún is important in that it establishes a mechanism to register and track these commitments,” Orr said.

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