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EU Environment Ministers Assess Cancun Outcomes

14 March 2011: The Council of Environment Ministers of the EU adopted conclusions on the follow-up to the Cancun Climate Change Conference on 14 March 2011, in Brussels, Belgium.

The Council considered the Cancun outcomes “positive and forward-looking,” stressing the urgent need for balanced progress and robust outcomes under both the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC tracks by the end of 2011 with a view to avoiding a gap after the Protocol's first commitment period. It confirmed willingness to consider a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, as part of a wider outcome including the perspective of the global and comprehensive framework engaging all major economies, while reiterating preference for a single legally binding instrument that would include the essential elements of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as progress on the reform of existing market mechanisms and the establishment of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms.

The Council recommended completing the following actions by the Durban Climate Change Conference in late 2011: identifying a global 2050 emission reduction goal and a timeframe for global peaking; adopting the provisions on the scope of the review of the long-term global goal and overall progress towards achieving it as well as its modalities, as called for in the Cancun Agreements; making the Adaptation Committee operational; adopting robust land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) accounting framework; completing the design of the Technology Mechanism; completing the work programme for the development of a solid structure of modalities and guidelines for transparency, including monitoring reporting and verification (MRV); and ensuring the continuation of existing flexible mechanisms, while improving them, and establishing new sectoral or other scaled-up market-based mechanisms.

The Council further stressed the need to explore financing options for the implementation of the results-based actions under REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks), with a view to preserving environmental and market integrity and taking into account the safeguards as agreed in Cancun. It urged parties to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop without delay a global policy framework in a manner that ensures a level playing field and that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage, in accordance with the principles and customary practices of ICAO and IMO, taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC in the use of potential revenues.

The Council also emphasized the development and use of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation, which deliver multiple benefits at comparatively low cost and are easily accessible, recognizing the potential for mutual benefits through enhanced collaboration of the Rio Conventions. [Council Conclusions]