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Pre-COP Ministerial Meeting

Mexico City, 4 November 2010


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



Excelencias, delegados, invitados especiales, senhoras y senhores,


First, let me sincerely thank Minister Espinosa and the Government of Mexico for arranging and hosting this gathering. I particularly thank you for the intensive work you and your colleagues have done this year to guide the negotiations in a examplary spirit of transparency and inclusiveness.


It is now up to you, Ministers, to transform that spirit of transparency into the spirit of compromise that will ensure a successful outcome at Cancun.


The President-designate and the Chairs need you to explore informally what might be the elements of a success in Cancun and to advise them now. Waiting for Cancun will be too late.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


Cancun has to be the next essential step on the road to a successful solution to the climate challenge. Cancun will be a success, if Parties balance their expectations so that everyone leaves carrying a positive achievement from their own perspective while allowing others to do the same.


This year, trust has been re- established … but it has yet to deliver an outcome. Nonetheless, all indications from Parties point to the fact that Cancun can achieve a significant outcome - and such an outcome is certainly needed.


It is needed to restore faith in the ability of governments to take the process forward. It is needed to prevent climate change impacts from reversing the hard - won development gains of the past few decades. And it is needed to ensure that greenhouse gas concentrations do not increase to a level that renders the below 2C threshold forever unattainable.


At the last session in Tianjin, in China, progress was made in identifying what could be achievable at Cancun. Parties indicated that a comprehensive outcome with a balance between and within the two negotiating tracks would be achievable.


Ministers, now is the time to further clarify what would constitute the politically balanced package for Cancun.


There are two weighty and politically charged sets of issues that need to be brought into balance on the scales of political compromise.


The first scale needs to balance three issues focusing on mitigation:


First, how can the mitigation targets pledged by developed countries be formalized and how will they be implemented accountably?


Second, how can these pledges help to advance negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol?


Third how will developing countries further their own mitigation responses in a manner that is perceived by all to be fair?


The second scale needs to balance three broader issues:


First, how can the transparency of developing countries’ mitigation actions be balanced to the support that developed countries must provide in order to operationalise adaptation, finance and technology.


Second, how can long-term finance be raised in a predictable and sufficient manner?


And third, how can the impacts of response measures be addressed in a satisfactory way?


These balances can be achieved if governments are flexible, and work is organized in an effective manner, and texts are brought down to a manageable size.


Ministers, Cancun is not intended to establish the ultimate framework for comprehensive global action. But it needs to be a decisive step forward in spurring effective climate change action. Specifically, it needs to create solutions to implement faster, broader action as a next step towards our common objective of an eventual legally binding outcome.


Much good work has been accomplished this year. I urge you to build on this here and now in the wonderful city of Mexico. The world is relying on your commitment and your flexibility to accommodate each other’s needs.


Thank you


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Please note: This is prepared text of the speech and may differ from the delivered version.

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