IUCN outline their hopes for Cancun

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference began this week as environmental groups outline their hopes for the talks.

194 nations met in Cancun this week to discuss climate change

The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP), which is held in Cancun, Mexico, will see 194 nations come together in an attempt to combat global climate change. This year’s talks will aim to overcome the failings of the 2009 Copenhagen conference by supplementing the Koyoto Protocol.

In preparation for the talks, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) issued an address to policy makers, which outlined their hopes for the conference. Two key themes run throughout the IUCN’s statement. Firstly, attention focuses on assisting developing nations in adjusting to the impacts of climate change. Secondly, IUCN view the creation of a legally binding contract as an essential step in restoring confidence in the convention process.

Developing nations

IUCN believe an increase in funds is needed in order for developing nations to adjust to climate change impacts and reduce emissions.

“New money for adaptation to climate change impacts and reducing emissions must be made available. Developing countries need to see money that is additional to Official Development Assistance in order to be able to adapt now to the impacts they are already facing and to reduce their emissions,” said Claire Parker,  IUCN Senior Climate Change Policy Consultant.

The statement highlights the importance of adapting to the impacts of climate change today, not only in the future.

Ninni Ikkala, IUCN’s Climate Change Coordinator said “Vulnerable developing countries in particular are already struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change,” and she believes international support is required to implement  adaptation, including better management of natural resources  and ensuring that local communities benefit from them.

Legally binding

Whilst many countries are independently reducing green house gas emissions, IUCN believe a legally binding contract is required to guarantee universal commitment to combating climate change.

IUCN’s Director of Environment and Development, Stewart Maginnis said, “only an equitable, comprehensive and legally binding agreement will bring the much needed international commitment to manage the climate crisis.”


The 2009 Copenhagen conference failed to produce any tangible commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and negotiations deteriorated as rifts appeared between developing and developed nations.

Lord Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, described the talks as, “chaotic, wearing, tiring, disappointing” and he believed the talks failed due to the arrogance of rich nations.

IUCN remain hopeful the Cancun conference will prove more productive than Copenhagen. Stewart Maginnis said, “what governments should focus on in Cancun is ensuring that confidence in the UNFCCC process is rebuilt, which will bring us a step closer to that planet-saving deal.”


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