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Durban Climate Change Conference Expected to Operationalize Cancun Initiatives

Durban Climate Change Conference - November 201128 November 2011: The UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, opened on 28 November 2011, and will continue until 9 December. The event includes the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the seventh Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 7).

In support of these two main bodies, four subsidiary bodies will convene: the fourth part of the 14th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 14); the fourth part of the 16th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 16); and the 35th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 35) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 35). A joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment involving government ministers and other senior officials will also take place from 6-9 December.

One focus will be on efforts to move ahead on several initiatives and institutions that were the subject of decisions in Cancun in 2010. In this respect, negotiations in Durban are expected to result in decisions that would operationalize, inter alia, a technology mechanism to promote clean energy and adaptation-related technologies, an adaptation framework to support developing countries and a Green Climate Fund. A second focus will be the question of how the international community will collaborate in tackling climate change in the future. In this respect, the AWG-KP and COP/MOP are expected to take a decision in Durban on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, bearing in mind that the Protocol's first commitment period expires in 2012. Additionally, the question of long-term cooperation under the UNFCCC will be taken up by the AWG-LCA and COP. Discussions are expected to focus on a timeline for developing a future framework under the Convention and also on an upcoming review of the adequacy of, and progress towards, limiting average global temperature rise to 2°C. This review is scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2015. Although a major breakthrough is not expected in Durban, many view the meeting as an important opportunity to deliver both operational decisions and some longer-term signals on the future direction of the process. [IISD RS Coverage] [Conference Website] [UNFCCC Press Release]