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FEATURE: Behind the scenes – preparing for COP20 in Lima

Also posted in Spanish

Kinga Lodge of CDKN was in Lima, Peru this week supporting a workshop for negotiators preparing to host this year’s United Nations climate conference.

Peru has taken on the Presidency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC’s 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) in 2014. It’s a vital year in the run up to the next COP in Paris in 2015, where Parties will meet to deliver a global, legally binding climate agreement.

The international negotiations under the UNFCCC are an increasingly complicated and demanding process. This is particularly the case for delegations from developing countries which  may have more limited resources than their developed country counterparts. This week, UNITAR, Ricardo-AEA and CDKN held a two-day workshop with around 45 people in Lima, supporting the Peruvian delegations preparations to be both negotiators and COP President.

The workshop drew on CDKN’s wider work in supporting developing countries’ preparations for the COP process. It was designed to bring everybody from the Peruvian delegation up to speed with the key negotiating tracks and themes, structures and relationships between different bodies of UNFCCC, and the context and meaning of the past agreements.

The agenda was broad: taking in the top topics of mitigation, adaptation, finance, and reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). There was also a lot of emphasis on the process of the UNFCCC talks, inter-linkages between different themes, and the practicalities of how the Presidency addresses deadlocks.

Participants underlined many times that it is the responsibility of the Presidency to build consensus. With the deadline for a global climate deal just over 18 months away, Peru’s role as a facilitator of a future agreement will be vital. Members of the Peruvian delegation who are relatively new to the UNFCCC negotiating process received training to support them in finding a balance among the interests and positions of the different parties.

Guest speakers from the UNFCCC, the United States, Chile, Granada, Barbados and Brazil had an estimated 100 years collective experience of the UNFCCC process. They shared their experiences and stories of what happened at different COPs and how the respective hosts managed their Presidencies in Bali, Durban and Copenhagen. Locally here in Lima, a lot of effort is being invested by the COP delivery team, particularly on stakeholder engagement – both public and private sector. Local civil society organisations were involved in developing and taking part in the workshop, and are members of the delivery team.

Some people at the workshop this week have already coined the phrase the “Amazonian COP” for this year’s meeting. There is a general feeling of pride to be hosting negotiations and determination to be a successful Presidency of the COP, particularly given the clear understanding of its importance as a stepping stone to Paris.


Image: courtesy Thomas Mueller, SPDA.

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