November 30, 2010

Opening statement by Christiana Figueres at COP 16 / CMP 6

Opening statement by Christiana Figueres at COP 16 / CMP 6

November 30, 2010
 
Opening of the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16)
Cancún, 29 November 2010

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

His Excellency Felipe Calderón, President of the United Mexican States
Mrs. Margarita Zavala
His Excellency, Patricia Espinosa, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mexico,
His Excellency, Lykke Friis, Minister for Climate Change and Energy of the Kingdom, Denmark,
His Excellency Juan Elvira, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) United Nations
Dr. Mario Molina, President Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies on Energy and Environment
Ms. Simona Gomez, Representative of Indigenous Community Tzetal, Mrs. Gloria Guevara, Secretary of Tourism
Mr. Félix González Canto, Governor of Quintana Roo,
Organizations and observers
Membrers of the Press

I would first like to express my deepest gratitude to President Calderon and the incoming President of the Conference of the Parties and all his team for the tremendous efforts in organizing this conference in this spectacular city of Cancun. In addition to the tireless and detailed preparations for this conference, I thank him for his tireless efforts to facilitate a better understanding and an active exchange between the parties over the last eleven months. His open and transparent leadership in this process has been truly exemplary.

Together with the Chairmen of the Working Groups, I know that Mexico will continue to play the role of strong leadership. Have confidence that the Secretariat of the Convention will support them all, the Presidency and all parties.

I also would like to extend my sincere thanks to those countries which have made a generous contribution to enable the participation of two delegates from all developing countries and 2 +1 delegates from the least developed countries and small island developing States.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to COP16, welcome to CMP6! Welcome to the land of the ancient Mayan goddess Ixchel!
Next to being the goddess of the moon, Ixchel was also the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you – because today, you are gathered in Cancún to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools.
Weaving this tapestry is urgent.
• It is urgent because according to the World Meteorological Organization, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have today reached their highest level since pre-industrial times;
• It is urgent because the poorest and most vulnerable need predictable and sufficient assistance to face a serious problem that they did not cause;
• And it is urgent because the multilateral climate change process needs to remain the trusted channel for rising to the challenge;
The task is not easy, but it is achievable.
I know that, because in the past, you have woven tapestries that have turned into significant achievements in the context of the already existing implementation agenda of both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
I urge you to further advance those issues here in Cancún and to continue weaving them into ever more effective achievements.
But evidently, in order to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Convention, a richer tapestry of efforts is needed.
During 2010, you have taken important steps.
• You revealed a commitment to live up to the fast start finance pledged in Copenhagen. Developed countries have announced pledges totaling USD 28 billion dollars and many of them are now making information available on the disbursement of these funds. This is encouraging and I urge developed countries to complete the work on this pledge in a transparent and timely manner;
• You also revealed a growing convergence that a balanced set of decisions under both the COP and the CMP could be an achievable outcome here in Cancun;
• You revealed a willingness to capture progress and advance work with a text under the Kyoto Protocol;
• And you revealed that you may be able to agree on a decision to start operationalizing the Bali Action Plan.
However, before those issues can move forward there are a number of politically charged issues that have not yet benefited from equal willingness to compromise, both under the Kyoto Protocol track and the LCA track.
With respect to the Kyoto Protocol, these politically charged issues include:

• The need to avoid a gap after the first commitment period and the importance of having clarity on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol;
• How the mitigation proposals put forward by industrialized countries in 2010 could help achieve clarity on this;
• And how to send a signal from Cancun that governments wish to continue engaging the private sector through the Kyoto Protocols market mechanisms beyond 2012.
Under the LCA, the unresolved issues include:
• The formalization of mitigation proposals put forward by Parties in 2010 and the accompanying accountability for their implementation;
• The mobilization of long-term finance, the creation of a new fund and the accompanying accountability of its delivery;
• Response measures;
• And the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.

I urge you to resolve these issues with priority so that a balanced outcome in Cancun can be achieved. A tapestry with holes will not work and the holes can only be filled in through compromise.
Excellencies, when the stakes are high and the issues are challenging, compromise is an act of wisdom that can unite different positions in creative ways.

Looking at what you have achieved over the past months, I am convinced that you can compromise to find your way to a concrete outcome in Cancun.
That outcome needs to be both firm and dependable and have a dedicated follow-on process for future work.
Excellencies, the goddess Ixchel would probably tell you that a tapestry is the result of the skilful interlacing of many threads. I am convinced that 20 years from now we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of the goddess Ixchel.
Thank you.#

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