Monday, November 06, 2006

COP12/MOP2 Climate Change Conference Begins In Nairobi

Nov 6: The United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Nairobi, Kenya got underway with calls for action and a stark warning that climate change is fast proving to be one of the greatest challenges in the history of humankind. President of the conference, Kenyan Environment Minister Kivutha Kibwana said, "Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most serious threats that humanity may ever face." The two-week conference running from November 6 to 17, 2006, the twelfth Conference of the 189 Parties (COP12) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the second meeting of the 166 Parties (MOP2) to the Kyoto Protocol, is the first UN climate summit in sub-Saharan Africa and is expected to draw around five thousand participants.

President Kibwana called on Parties meeting in Nairobi to work together to ensure that real action is achieved on the issue of adaptation to climate change. He said, "Past and current greenhouse gas emission levels have already committed us to at least some level of temperature increase, and therefore a certain level of adaptation measures will be needed as a result." The UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer called for specific activities to be agreed within the five-year work plan on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. He said, “We expect countries to take decisions in Nairobi that will enhance action on adaptation on the ground.” Another key outcome expected of the conference is agreement on how to manage the UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund. The Fund is financed by a share of proceeds generated by the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM). The CDM permits industrialized countries which are members of the Protocol to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries, and thereby generate tradable emission credits.

Among other items, perhaps the most important is negotiating commitments beyond 2012 for countries under the Kyoto Protocol and talks under the UNFCCC on the future of the climate change process, with a focus on how to advance development in a sustainable way and on how to realize the full potential of market-based opportunities. In an opening statement to the 189 Parties, Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, "The international climate change process is about building the future. The urgency of addressing the challenge of climate change is such that the foundations and the walls have to be built at the same time, to use the construction analogy. The foundations include crucial blocks such as capacity building, technology transfer to developing countries and adaptation to climate change impacts. These are critical for developing countries to participate in the process. The walls are being constructed in the discussions on the future under the Convention’s Dialogue and the Ad hoc Working Group (AWG)...

"Much has been achieved over the last year: the first session of the Dialogue under the Convention and the first session of the AWG; two regional workshops on adaptation for the Latin American and African regions; an explosion of activities in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); the launch of the Track II procedure under the Joint Implementation; start of the development of the International Transaction Log; start of the work of the Compliance Committee; and advances in the area of technology transfer, including publication of the practitioner’s guide on financing.

"There are also important initiatives emerging outside the UNFCCC process. The World Bank will be presenting its new framework on generating investment into clean energy and green development, a mortgage that is required to advance the construction. Sir Nicolas Stern [See previous post] will be reporting on the results of the extensive review of the economics of climate change that he led, and presenting his view on what will be the cost if we do not rise to the challenge in time... the overall challenge is a substantive one. Harambee, let us pull together, so that the process moves forward on those critical issues. Let’s make this meeting the success that the world expects!"

Access a release (click here). Access the opening statement of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer (click here). Access the COP12/MOP2 website for all conference materials, documents and information (click here). Access complete and daily reporting from Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) -- a balanced and independent reporting service (click here). [*Climate]