COP17: an aerial glance over my shoulder - no chips in the way!

A cop is not just a COP…

The whole Durban affair was bigger than people realise (and here I even exclude the myriad of side-events so many of us scrambled between)… It included the 17th time the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change convened, as well as the 7th time the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 7) met.

But that’s not all folks! Durban also hosted the 14th meeting of an Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA); the 16th meeting of an Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP); and a 35th meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

It took more than 12,480 people, constituted of 5400 government officials, 5800 UN representatives and NGOs, and more than 1200 media to get conversation going.They must know each other so well by now, it’s hard to imagine what’s left to talk about…

Well, in the fray of activity, it would seem they managed to sign on a few dotted lines – 36 to be exact! These outcomes cover a wide range of topics, notably the establishment of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, a decision on long-term cooperative action under the Convention, the launch of a new process towards an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all parties to the Convention, and the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund.

After Copenhagen’s debacles and a serious mission to resuscitate a multilateral climate regime in Cancun, Durban negotiators proved top-notch in saving a Kyoto that will lead to negotiations on a more inclusive 21st century climate regime.

The Durban surprise package, I believe, restored sufficient momentum for a new (finance-struck) frontier to negotiate terms that humans will actually be able to stomach – on a personal business and citizenry level. Traditional lines of division have, of course, also shifted…

Lest we forget… although the Green Climate Fund is criticised by many as a big mouth with no teeth, we shouldn’t be too cynical about KEPT PROMISES – we all make up a community, a business and a nation – and as consumer behaviour changes, so our behaviours in all spheres will.

Well, this is my last hour in the office – blogs from the sun chair may be decidedly less rushed, more reflective and blessed with more exciting infographics 🙂 so see you there!