UNFCCC Executive Secretary Calls for Turning Cancun Agreements into Action

1 March 2011: Addressing the media in Tokyo, Japan, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres called on governments to transform the Cancun Agreements into tangible action on the ground, and provide clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

She warned that the sum of promises to reduce or limit emissions so far only equals 60% of what the scientific community says is required by 2020 to limit temperature increase to 2º Celsius. Looking ahead to the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011, and climate change activities taking place during the course of the year, Figueres explained that governments need to agree a way to cut global emissions about twice as fast as they have already promised.

She described the Kyoto Protocol as the "only working, binding international model to reduce emissions," adding that "nations have an urgent task to decide how to take forward the Protocol's unique benefits of transparency, certainty, compliance in handling national emission targets, and common but differentiated responsibilities."

Figueres underlined that the major challenge this year is for governments to ensure that the agreed climate finance, technology for developing nations, and new institutions, which were agreed at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, appear on time. She also praised Japan for having subscribed to a -25% emission reduction goal by 2020 (over 1990 levels), thereby demonstrating leadership, ambition and foresight. [UNFCCC Press Release]