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Cancun Agreements and REDD+ outcome

The “Cancun Agreements” were accomplished in Cancun in December 10 2010 at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with consensus of 193 countries.

REDD+ is clearly one of the “winners” from climate change negotiations held in Cancun Mexico last December. The Cancun Agreements provide key guidance for all stakeholders – governments, NGOs, multilateral institutions – who are helping countries prepare for REDD+ in the “fast-start” period through 2012.

A decision was adopted to halt and reverse forests destruction as guideline encouraging five activities and a three-phase process that promotes a sub-national approach. Activities must be undertaken in accordance with national development priorities, objectives and capabilities and should respect sovereignty, the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Additionally, a set of social and environmental safeguards was defined.

However, their actions will remain outside of (though now guided by) the UNFCCC, until discussions about appropriate methods for tracking and financing national mitigation actions are completed.

Additional results of the AWG-LCA negotiating track include the following decisions:

  • Mitigation Commitments: It “anchored” the Copenhagen Accord’s mitigation pledges by both developed and developing countries. This resolution took note of developed countries emissions reduction targets.
  • Adaptation: A Climate Adaptation Framework and a linked Adaptation Committee will be established to achieve an action-oriented treatment of response and resilience. The framework will prioritize areas for action, while the Committee will identify gaps, highlight good practices, and make recommendations on unmet needs.
  • Finance: Pledges under the Copenhagen Accord totalling USD30 billion for fast-start for the period 2010-2012, with a balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation, and USD100 billion/yr for long-term finance were confirmed. A Green Climate Fund with a board of equal representation from developed and developing countries will manage a portion of these resources. The World Bank will serve as trustee on an interim basis for 3 years since this fund has begun operations.
  • Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV): Developing countries will provide updates on progress on their nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs).If international financial support is required for a domestic plan, it will be subject to international MRV that is non-intrusive, non-punitive and respectful of national sovereignty. A public access registry to collect NAMA will be established. Updates of national GHG inventories and NAMA needs and support received are to be submitted every 4 years.
  • Technology: A Technology Mechanism to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sustainable technologies to the developing world in support of efforts toward low carbon development was established. The decision set up a Technology Executive Committee and a Climate Technology Centre and Network.

On the other hand, the Kyoto Protocol working group track (AWG-KP) final text does not set a deadline to accomplish its task. This formulation walked a fine line between developing countries supporting a second commitment period and those, such as Japan and the Russian, who had come out against it. However, those wanting more did get some reassurance in the text that the AWG-KP’s work should be completed “in time to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods.”

In addition, although Annex I parties’ emission reduction commitments for a second commitment period were not established, the AWG-KP text “takes note” of developed countries’ voluntary quantified emission reduction pledges, as communicated by them. These two provisions appear to provide further reassurance to these parties that the Protocol is still a valid agreement.

The 17th meeting of the COP and the 7th meeting of the COP/MOP will take place in Durban, South Africa, between 28 November - 9 December 2011, opportunity in which parties will have to agree several key issues that have been identified in the findings of this report.