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December 6, 2010

Cancun Climate Summit
HSA Report #1

HSA Report: From Cancun Balance after the first week of the COP 16: the significant threat of a Copenhagen Plus Accord

Following the first week of negotiations in Cancun, the key conclusion that civil society groups have reached is that the same actors behind the Copenhagen Accord are the ones who continue to collude – this has been their plan from the beginning – to put the negotiations into a blind alleyway. It is necessary to spell out what is happening in these climate change negotiations and to get the word out internationally regarding the risks at play. In last year´s COP 15 in Denmark, finalizing the draft agreement only kicked into high gear just as the Presidents were arriving, some three days before the negotiations were scheduled to end.

Here in Cancun this non-transparent and anti-democratic way of working that favours the interests of the Northern industrialized nations began on the second day of the COP discussions having gotten under way. Right from the start some countries began suggesting that if an agreement couldn´t be reached by consensus, they should resort to a vote. This ´suggestion ´from Papua New Guinea was immediately responded to by Bolivia, issuing a strong endorsation of the multilateral principles underpinning UN negotiations, indicating that this was not about a handful of nations trying to block an accord but rather that this had to be adopted by consensus and be balanced, to conform to the norms present in the United Nation Framework Convention.

On the second day of the COP, the Mexican Presidency proposed the creation of an Ínformal Group´ to try and collect the principal positions and to present a first draft text for discussion by Ministers present in the home stretch of the negotiations. The key role being played by the Mexican Presidency in this dynamic is evident. However, in a tactical move, the ALBA countries avoided naming it directly in their December 3rd press conference. The social organizations for their part prepared and circulated a letter directed at the Mexican Presidency demanding a democratic and transparent process(SEE ANNEX 1).

In the aforementioned press conference the ALBA countries denounced the intention of a group of developed countries to not sign on to phase two of the Kyoto Protocolo that would begin in 2013. The countries behind this were not mentioned, however, Japan had already made this position explicit a few days ago. This statement was backed by Arab and African countries along with the G-77 and China. If a second period of commitments on greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries as outlined in the Kyoto Protocol is not agreed to, it will be impossible to make headway on other themes given that the responsibility to pay for the climate debt resides there.

The ALBA countries also made it clear that if the text that is to be presented on the afternoon of Saturday the 4th did not contain dispositions for a second period of commitments as found in the Protocol, they would not be signing on to this accord. The real COP 16 decisions are being taken by this Ínformal Group´ an exclusive grouping whose real purpose is to produce a ´Copenhagen Plus Accord´. In the first week no important components of the key themes were negotiated. The ´Informal Group´s´draft accord contained a few basic points on financing and on technological transfer (details to be negotiated at a later date), but didn´t include new commitments to reduce emissions which would in effect be the death knell for the Kyoto Protocol. It would also open the door to the packet that includes forests and REDD Plus. The President of the COP commented on the decisions by Bolivia and the ALBA countries stating that this group was putting forward positions that were more ideological and political than environmental. (See note in La Jornada)

In reality all Bolivia and the ALBA countries were doing was to defend what was already stipulated in the Convention Framework of the Kyoto Protocol regarding the second phase of the commitments to reduce emissions – something that the industrialized countries had already signed on to.

It is worrisome that other countries that could play an important role in denouncing this anti-democratic process have yet to stand up and strongly establish their positions, thus in effect contributing to the isolation of the ALBA countries. This is key given that everything indicates that beginning in the second week of the negotiations greater pressure will be brought to bear on Bolivia and the ALBA, in an attempt to tell the world that those nations are to blame for the failure of the COP in Cancun. Just Transition The unions denounced the omission of the concept of Just Transition from the text of the negotiations, which then puts at risk the discussion that it shouldn´t be the workers who end up shouldering the costs of the transition to a model of environmental sustainability.

With regard to financing, there has been a recognition of the need for a global fund. However, there are no commitments on the provision of these funds in line with the Copenhagen Accord criteria re. the origin of such funds(where ´mobilizing resources´ is mentioned, but these are not necessarily public funds) as well as the amounts(minimum 1.5% of GNP). In reality the funds talked about in the ´Copenhagen Accord´ aren´t new, as they had already been promised by northern nations; the ´immediate financing´ that is mentioned there is nothing new.

There is no clarity on how resources are to be managed, or the scale involved. The U.S. is proposing a fund similar to the ÁIDS Fund´ to be sent to the most vulnerable countries. In addition the U.S. and some other developed countries have declared their interest in that these funds be controlled by the World Bank.

The text released on Saturday the 4th included REDD, REDD Plus that would undoubtedly be financed via carbon marketing mechanisms. At the same time, prior consultations with the indigenous peoples was excluded. South-South Summit

The Jubilee South, Friends of the Earth-Latin America and the Caribbean(ATALC) and the Pan African Alliance for Climate Justice networks(PACJA) organized in Cancun from the 27 of November to the 4th of December the South-South Summit on Climate Justice and Financing. See declaration. On December 3rd there was a mobilization in the centre of Cancun sponsored by Jubilee South demanding ´World Bank out of Climate´. It was the first public mobilization and it helped to raise the profile in the city for the positions on this theme being taken by the social movements.

Jubilee South held a press conference where they stated: ¨Climate financing should not be based on loans or other options that generate debt. It is already a great injustice that the people in the South have to shoulder the worst of the impacts of a crisis for which they bear no responsibility. Similarly it is unjust that we are forced to pay the cost of dealing with these impacts¨ said Lidy Nacpil of the Philippine Coalition Against Debt, a member of Jubilee South. Miguel Borba de Sa, in representation of Jubilee South Americas , added ¨The World Bank has been promoting a paradigm of ´development´ that has led to global warming and climate change problems. Also, it has been pushing false solutions to the climate crisis that only prepare the road for continued profiteering by global elites and transnational corporations¨.

The 8th of December will be the day of action against the World Bank In the streets: Activities of the social organizations The meeting spaces of the social organizations are beginning to receive people who have been arriving on the caravans from different parts of the country, with 500 arriving yesterday to pitch their tents at Super Block 21 and the sport centre Jacinto Canek( the locations for Dialogo Climatico-Espacios Mexicanos(Es-Mex), and Via Campesina). International delegations have also been arriving to take part in the different for a that have been planned, and in the march to be held December 7th.

Via Campesina´s Global Forum began on the 4th of December while the Es-Mex. International Forum for Climate Justice kicked off on the 5th of December. Local organizations continue to prepare the spaces and are in charge of logistics leading up to the arrival of the caravans and are working out the last details around the December 7 march.

For their part the indigenous organization CAUCUS has been meeting in the days before COP demanding the inclusion of indigenous rights and of prior consultation of the indigenous peoples in the negotiating texts, in recognition of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights. They reject market mechanisms as a solution to the climate crisis.

For more information on the COP 16 negotiations:

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