African Press International (API)

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UN climate change negotiations conclude in Ghanaian capital

Posted by African Press International on August 29, 2008

The latest round of the United Nations-sponsored global Climate Change Talks in Accra, the Ghanaian capital concluded Wednesday with clear signals that the pace of negotiations to get to a deal on long-term strengthened international action on climate change is picking up.

According to a press release issued here Thursday, important progress was made in Accra on a number of key issues for the deal, to be clinched at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Furthermore, the release said, parties under the Kyoto Protocol advanced their work on the tools and rules available to developed countries to set ambitious reduction targets beyond 2012.

This has been a very important and encouraging meeting”, said Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “We are still on track, the process has speeded up and governments are very serious about negotiating a result in Copenhagen.”

The meeting in Accra constituted the third major UNFCCC negotiating session this year and was the last meeting in the run up to this years UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to be held in Poznań, Poland, from 1 to 12 December.

Around 1,600 participants, including government delegates from 160 countries and representatives from environmental organizations, business and industry and research institutions, attended the one-week meeting in Accra.

“The highlight of this session is that governments have agreed to compile different proposals for solutions in a structured way for discussion at the next landmark meeting in Poznan,” the UNs top climate change official said. “So Accra has laid the foundation of what could serve as a first negotiating text for a Copenhagen deal,” he added.

In a working group on long-term cooperative action under the UNFCCC, discussions took place on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. “Countries have made it very clear that issue of forests need to be part of a Copenhagen deal,” de Boer said.

“Thats important because emissions from deforestation account for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

A second workshop provided more clarity on so-called “sectoral approaches” through which countries can address emissions from a whole sector of their economy.

Countries meeting in Ghana emphasized that such approaches should not lead to binding commitments for developing countries and that is up to a country to decide if it wants to put sectoral policies in place or not.

For the fist time at a UNFCCC gathering, governments discussed what is needed both in terms of financing and technology to step up action on both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

“Parties were deeply committed and submitted proposals for solutions on the issues”, said Luiz Figueiredo Machado, Chair of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention. These proposals will now be assembled and submitted to the meeting in Poznan.

According to the release, at the Africa Carbon Forum scheduled to be held in Dakar from 3 to 5 September, African countries will discuss what can be done to improve the CDM. The forum will be the first event of its kind to be held on the African continent and will include a carbon investment trade fair, conference and policy meeting.



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