The High-Level Segment of COP 16 has been in full swing for the last couple of days. This basically means over two full days of statements from all Parties to the UNFCCC. Some are from Heads of State, which receive most attention, especially when it’s a better-known personality such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales or Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg (who Co-Chaired the development of the recently released UN Secretary-General’s Report on Climate Finance), says IUCN’s Climate Change Coordinator, Ninni Ikkala.
The majority of countries are represented by their Ministers of the Environment, others by Prime Ministers, Vice-Presidents, other Ministers or Special Envoys. Listening to key countries such as China, India or the US is especially awaited in the long list of long speeches, although ultimately there have been very few new messages.
The real negotiations are still on-going, to various degrees, in the corridors. A new Chair’s text under both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol came out yesterday and shows some progress. Cancun decisions could still be awaited on issues such as REDD plus (Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation), adaptation, fast-start financing and a process towards a new climate fund.
But will these be agreed upon unless there is progress on the “big issues” of mitigation targets, the future of the Kyoto Protocol and long term finance? As the hours are running out for COP 16, is there still hope for a balanced set of decisions?