No world leader invited to Cancun climate change summit
By Neil Marks in Mexico City
Mexico yesterday continued to play down any hype about the outcome of the UN Climate Summit in Cancun starting in late November, with a senior official saying no world leader has been invited.
Benito Jiminez, Director General of Mexico’s Environmental Ministry, simply said world leaders are welcome to attend the Cancun summit if they want to but none has been formally invited.
He was speaking at a planning workshop for journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean ahead of the Cancun Summit. The only leader who Jiminez could be sure of to attend the Cancun summit is Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Mexico and the United Nations are careful not to raise expectations of what will come out of this round of negotiations by the Conference to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
On Tuesday, the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that she did not know which world leaders would be invited to Cancun and that this depended on the host nation.
And Jiminez also stressed that it was important that the United Nations lead the process, rather than have the process hijacked by the host nation as was the case in Copenhagen last December, when most world leaders touched down hoping to sign off on a legally binding new agreement to slow climate change and commit to funding poor countries which need help to cope with harmful climate events such as floods and rising sea levels.
But Cynthia Sharf, from the office of the United Nations Secretary General, while saying that Copenhagen did not achieve all that was expected, it generated unprecedented attention to climate change issues.
She said the UN has been helping to lead several efforts to stare the negotiations. Among these initiatives is the setting up of an Advisory Body on financing, on which sits President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Presidents of Norway and Ethiopia, joint chairs of the group, will present their findings on November 4, almost three weeks before the negotiations begin.
Frank Schroeder, also of the office of the United Nations Secretary General, said that the leaders have found that raising the financing to start up a multilateral fund to help poor countries would be challenging but feasible.
He said that the report of the advisory group would help to inform the negotiations in Cancun.
The Secretary-General established the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing on February 12, 2010 for the duration of 10 months. The Group was tasked with studying potential sources of revenue that will enable achievement of the level of climate change financing that was promised during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December.
The Group is co-chaired by Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Schroeder emphasised that the group was not set up to find finance but to develop practical proposals on how to significantly scale-up long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries from various public as well as private sources.
The panel was tasked with seeking ways to come up with $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of global warming. At the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen in December, world leaders also promised developing countries an additional $30 billion between now and 2012.
As a result, Schroeder said the group did not seek ways of raising short term financing.
The UN climate chief Tuesday said that financing for climate change adaptation is among the more advanced of the negotiations process for a new climate pact but she said there were political disagreements around how and when to agree on actions.