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Opening of the Tianjin Climate Change Talks 2010 

Tianjin, 4 October 2010


Address by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



H.E. Mr.DAI Bingguo, State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China,

H.E. Mr. XIE Zhenhua, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China,

H.E. Mr. HUANG Xingguo, Mayor of Tianjin Municipal Government, H.E. Mr. YANG Dongliang, Executive Vice-Mayor of Tianjin

H.E. Mr. LIU Zhenmin, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,


May I start by expressing my heartfelt thanks to the Government and the people of Tianjin, to Minister Xie, and through you to the Government of China for showing your support for this intergovernmental process by hosting these sessions and making all the arrangements in record time. With the exemplary commitment of your staff who have even sacrificed important holiday time, you have provided excellent facilities and logistics for these talks. This has been no small task and I thank you for rising to the challenge.


Dear friends, now is the time for you, as negotiators, to rise to your challenge. This is the last negotiating session before Cancun.


Now is the time to accelerate the search for common ground.


As you know, a concrete outcome in Cancun is urgently needed …


  •  … to restore the faith in the ability of Parties to take the process forward;
  •  … to prevent multilateralism from being perceived as a never-ending road;
  •  … to prevent continued disagreements from resulting in unacceptable inaction;
  •  … and, most importantly, to prevent climate change impacts from reversing development gains that have been painstakingly achieved over the past few decades.


The bottom line is that it is in no one’s interest to delay action. Quite on the contrary, it is in everyone’s ultimate interest to accelerate action in order to minimize negative impacts on all.


I know that this is not an easy task. But you have come a long way. At the last session in Bonn, you made essential and encouraging progress.


  • Under the LCA, you crafted a party-driven text.
  •  Under the KP, there is now a first draft text that shows the results of work undertaken since the year 2005.
  • And you revealed a growing convergence that a set of decisions under both the COP and the CMP could be an achievable outcome in Cancun.


Now is the time for you to articulate what can go into these decisions. If you want a tangible outcome in December, now is the time to clarify what could constitute an achievable and politically balanced package for Cancun, and what could be subject to further work after Cancun.


It would seem that you are on the verge of being able to agree on a set of decisions to start operationalizing some aspects of each element of the Bali Action Plan, which include, but are not limited to:


  • an adaptation framework;
  •  a technology mechanism and capacity-building arrangements;
  • a new fund to house long-term climate financing;
  • the launch of a readiness phase for REDD Plus


It is clear that not all the details of these elements can be agreed to; however, it is also clear that there is a need for these elements to be elaborated to a comparable level of detail.


At the same time, it is evident that these operational issues cannot advance without clarity on fast start finance and an overall agreement on a package of more politically charged issues that includes, but is not limited to:


  • The future of the Kyoto Protocol, specifically how to take commitments forward; The formalization of mitigation pledges put forward by Parties in 2010 and the accompanying accountability for their implementation;
  •  The mobilization of long-term financing and the accompanying accountability of its delivery;
  •  Response measures; and
  •  The understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.


These issues are critical in the negotiations, but they are not moving forward yet.


Without their resolution, the process will not be able to deliver in any area.


As governments, you can continue the standstill; – or you can move forward. Now is the time to make that choice.


Inspiring a key multilateral conference in 1955, Zhou Enlai, the former Premier of China, called upon delegates: “Qiu Tong Cun Yi”, which means “seek commonalities while putting aside differences”. That call was as pertinent then as it is now.


I urge you to demonstrate flexibility and a spirit of compromise to reach a balanced outcome, which may not be exhaustive in its detail, but should be comprehensive in its scope. Ladies and gentlemen, now is the time.


Thank you.


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