Friday, August 20, 2010

Mexican diplomacy in the rescue of Cancun climate change summit

LONDON - Leading figures in the Mexican negotiating team are trying to save the upcoming UN climate change summit in Cancun from collapse in a bout of frantic diplomacy and bring developing countries back on board. They have spent the past few weeks attempting to restore confidence in the negotiating process after the most recent round of talks in Bonn ended in a standoff between industrialized and developing countries.

Fernando Tudela, Mexico's chief negotiator, said the host nation accepted the Cancun summit would not deliver an international climate change treaty, but insisted a "spectacular breakthrough" was still possible. Tudela said the Cancun summit would aim to deliver "a set of meaningful decisions" on issues such as climate financing and adaptation, while also engineering an end to the "regime standoff" that has marred past negotiations.

Tudela's colleagues have been attempting to lay the foundation for an advance over the past few weeks by reaching out to those countries that have repeatedly blocked climate change negotiations. Also, Mexican officials are actively courting those developing countries that have "felt excluded" from the negotiations. The nations that admitted being frustrated by their exclusion from the Copenhagen climate change summit include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, the Gulf states, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

Mexico's climate ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba said, "We have a very clear understanding that this is a process that needs to have everybody involved, not only the major [greenhouse gas] emitters." He also revealed that Mexico was attempting to broker a deal with African countries to ensure they are better prepared for the next round of climate change talks. The talks, formally known as the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP 6) will be held at the seaside resort from November 29 through to December 10, 2010.

Meanwhile, Patricia Espinosa, Mexico's minister for foreign affairs, who will chair the COP15 meeting in the Cancun summit, this week travelled to India to meet with the country's influential environment minister Jairam Ramesh. According to reports in the Hindustan Times, Espinosa told Ramesh that "an ambitious outcome at the global meet requires India's sustained political guidance and support." The two countries' negotiating teams also discussed their respective positions ahead of the Cancun climate change summit, particularly with regards to carbon emission targets and technology transfer arrangements.

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