Ms. Figueres in Bangkok urges action on climate measures

The top United Nations climate change official urged countries Monday to tackle the key issues of emission reduction targets as well as funding and technology to assist developing nations tackle global warming, as the first UN negotiations for this year got under way in Bangkok.

“Here in Bangkok, governments have the early opportunity to push ahead to complete the concrete work they agreed in Cancún, and to chart a way forward that will ensure renewed success at the next UN Climate Change Conference in Durban,” said Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican.

“If governments move forward in the continued spirit of flexibility and compromise that inspired them in Mexico, then I’m confident they can make significant new progress in 2011,” she added.

Dubbed the Cancún Agreements, the decisions reached at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in December last year include formalizing mitigation pledges and ensuring increased accountability for them, as well as taking concrete action to tackle deforestation, which account for nearly one-fifth of global carbon emissions.

Delegates at that meeting also agreed to ensure no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the convention that contains legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and whose first commitment period is due to expire in 2012.

Agreement was also reached on establishing a fund for long-term climate financing to support developing countries, and bolstering technology cooperation and enhancing vulnerable populations’ ability to adapt to the changing climate.
Ms. Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, called on governments to rapidly advance work to complete the institutions which were agreed and deliver the funding and technology to help developing countries deal comprehensively with climate change.

“It is important that the agreed actions and institutions are delivered on time and in accordance with the deadlines agreed in Cancun so that the broader global climate regime is up and running in 2012,” she said.

The institutions include a green climate fund to house the international management, deployment and accountability of long-term funds for developing country support; a technology mechanism to promote clean technologies and an adaptation framework to boost international cooperation to help developing countries protect themselves from climate change impacts.

The other main task governments have before them, she noted, relates to the emission reduction targets and actions which would allow the world to stay below the maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees C, which was agreed in Cancún.

Governments this year need to resolve fundamental issues over the future of the Kyoto Protocol, she stressed. “Governments need to figure out how to address this issue and how to take it forward in a collective and inclusive way,” she said. “Resolving the issue will create a firmer foundation for a greater collective ambition to cut emissions.”

Some 1,500 participants from 173 countries, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions, are attending the talks in the Thai capital, which are scheduled to conclude on Friday.

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