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UN climate change talks kick off in Ghana

UN climate change talks kick off in Ghana

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The latest round of United Nations-sponsored global climate change negotiations began today in Accra, Ghana, bringing together more than 1,600 participants to discuss future greenhouse gas emission reduction targets ahead of a major summit set for 2009.

Government delegates from 160 countries and representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions are attending the one-week meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Accra meeting is part of a series of UN-sponsored talks in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The aim of the negotiations is to create a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, with first-round commitments ending in 2012, on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

“Parties meeting under the Kyoto Protocol must swiftly reach agreement on the rules and tools that will be available to developed countries to meet future emission reduction targets,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer.

“This is essential because the toolbox will in turn determine the level of ambition of developed countries when setting their new targets,” he added.

At the Accra meeting, which was opened by Ghana’s President, John Agyekum Kufuor, participants will discuss, among other things, policies and incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation – which accounts for 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – and forest degradation in developing countries.

Also, for the first time, there will be a joint discussion on both the finance and technology needed to limit emissions and adapt to climate change. “Parties will look not only at what is needed in terms of funding, but also at how funding should be generated in the context of a new international deal, and precisely what technologies are required,” said Mr. de Boer.

“The debate will also give an indication of the infrastructure needed to implement a shared vision in the areas of finance, technology and capacity building,” he stated.

The previous round of UN-sponsored negotiations was held in Bonn, Germany, in June. Another set of talks is scheduled to be held in Poznan, Poland, from 1 to 12 December.