TERHAN, 29 November 2008 (UNIC)-- The United Nations Climate Change Conference -Poznań, Poland gets underway on Monday, 1 December. The two-week meeting, the fourteenth Conference of the 192 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fourth meeting of the 183 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, is the half-way mark in the negotiations on an ambitious and effective international climate change deal. The deal is to be clinched in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 and will enter into force in 2013, the year after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Around 9,000 participants, including government delegates from 185 Parties to the UNFCCC and representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions will attend the two-week gathering.
The opening of the conference on 1 December will be attended by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The High-Level Segment of the Conference (11 and 12 December) will be attended by around 150 Environment Ministers. This part of the conference will be opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and attended by the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Apisai Ielemia.
At Poznań, Parties to the UNFCCC will take stock of progress made in 2008 and map out in detail what needs to happen in 2009 to get to a strengthened agreement. At the meeting delegates – including Ministers – will discuss their vision for long-term cooperative action on climate change. At the conference, a text will be tabled which could serve as the basis for a first draft of the negotiating text for an agreed outcome at Copenhagen. This text will be fine-tuned in the course of the gathering.
One of the key questions will be what kind of mechanisms need to be put in place to deliver on finance, on technology and on capacity building to curb emissions, spur green growth and to cope with the inevitable impacts of climate change. The issue of technology will also be high on the agenda and the meeting will deal in depth with the issue of risk management and risk reduction strategies.
Poznań is also expected to produce concrete progress on several issues which are important in the short run - up to 2012 - particularly for developing countries, including adaptation, finance, technology and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
In the context of adapting to the effects of climate change, Parties are expected to put the finishing touches to the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund so that is it ready to roll out concrete projects in 2009. The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań will also conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol and assess to what extent the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) can be streamlined and its geographical reach extended.
“The need for real progress on tackling climate change has never been more urgent,” said Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. “The effects of climate change that science has identified are already weighing upon those most vulnerable, and who await the financial and technological resources they need to deal with these impacts”.
Alluding to the fact that the Poznań conference is taking place in the broader context of the current global financial crisis and economic recession, the UN’s top climate change official warned against the danger of the world being detracted from the fight against climate change. “We must now focus on the opportunities for green growth that can put the global economy onto a stable and sustainable path,” he said.
About the UNFCCC
With 192 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has to date 183 member Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference
with the climate system.
About the CDM
Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol buy CERs to cover a portion of their emission reduction commitments under the Treaty. There are currently more than 1230 registered CDM projects in 51 countries, and about another 3000 projects in the project registration pipeline. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2.7 billion CERs by the time the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.