Glimmers of gold on the dance floor

Food & climate change article written on the 10 Jun 2010

Bringing you blog #2 from Rachel Coghlan of World Vision Australia, currently in Bonn for the UN Climate Negotiations.

I’m still holding my breath – the positive mood here in Bonn seems to have continued over the past week. What started as tiptoeing around issues, discussions limited to process, Parties sounding each other out after the mistrust injected into the negotiations in Copenhagen, has progressed to something quite different. There’s a dance going on in the plenary rooms. It isn’t an easy dance, not a flowing waltz, not a foxtrot of perfectly timed steps between two long-time partners. But nevertheless, there is movement.
The negotiators are sharing ideas, exploring areas of mutual agreement, and still sometimes deciding to disagree. As yet however, there is no real negotiating happening. Instead, is an awkward show, with some trust returning, but a dance which is flirtatious and non-committal.
A kind of first date dance.

We’ve been enthused to see synchronised steps on financing to support developing countries tackle the impacts of climate change. There is wide acceptance that financial support is urgently needed and that transparent reporting on any funding pledges made is vital. The European Union set the tone at the end of last week with a well attended side event to freely discuss their pledges and intentions for immediate funds for developing countries. We are now hoping that other donor countries will follow their lead, and quickly – and maybe even outdo the move.

Yvo de Boer, the outgoing Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said this week that little progress can be made toward an international treaty until wealthy industrialized nations commit to deliver the $30 billion pledged in Copenhagen to assist developing nations. We fully support Yvo that “Cancun will only deliver, if promises of help are kept.” Christiana Figueres, due to take over Yvo’s role after this meeting, echoed this by declaring that “fast-start finance is the key to unlocking Cancun”.

The new text from the Chair of the Long-Term Cooperative Action track is due to appear tomorrow, which will include elements of climate financial support. Unfortunately this will only be a ‘non-paper’. A ‘non-paper’ is one in which Parties will talk about the issues, dance a few more steps, but will not be able to start real negotiations until at least the next meeting in at the beginning of August. Despite the positive atmosphere, we must admit we are getting impatient again – are we moving fast enough?

First dates are fun but they can only last so long. Time to ramp up and do away with the left feet. Come on Figueres – bring on some Costa Rican Swing!

First published on A Climate for Change