UNbacked negotiations on climate change pact pick up pace

28 September 2009Climate change negotiations are picking up pace as they enter their final stretch towards the December conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where countries are expected to wrap up talks on a new agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations reported today. Some 4,000 people – including government delegates from 177 countries and representatives from the private sector and environmental organizations – have gathered today in Bangkok, Thailand, for the two-week penultimate round of negotiations ahead of the meeting in the Danish capital.The Bangkok talks come on the heels of last week’s high-level summit – the largest ever on climate change – convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York. That event drew some 100 heads of State and government who issued a call for a comprehensive pact to be reached in Copenhagen. The leaders also underscored the need to boost action to help the world’s most vulnerable and poorest adapt to global warming, as well as the importance of industrialized countries agreeing on ambitious emissions reduction targets.“Your words have been heard around the world. Let your actions now be seen. There is little time left. The opportunity and responsibility to avoid catastrophic climate change is in your hands,” Mr. Ban said at the end of the New York summit.The negotiations in the Thai capital are expected to centre on the five areas discussed by world leaders in New York last week: adaptation action, technology, capacity building, finance and REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries).“Developing countries in our region have the potential to achieve a resource-efficient, low-carbon development pathway, but they cannot be expected to do this alone,” Noeleen Heyzer, who heads the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), told the participants today.She urged those in attendance to endeavour to achieve a “breakthrough on the arrangements and provisions for finance and technology for developing countries, which is key to unlocking the current impasse.”The last round of negotiations before the Copenhagen conference will take place in Barcelona, Spain, in November.