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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Says Farewell

9 June 2010: UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer gave his final speech as Executive Secretary at a UN Climate Change negotiation in Bonn, Germany, on 9 June 2010, in which he outlined some personal reflections on how the negotiation process is evolving.

He noted that, while many are working towards a legally binding agreement, divergences exist as to the meaning of “legally binding.” He said this is an advantage as it enables a broad definition of the concept. De Boer also underlined agreement on the need for: a broad package of incentives; credible reporting guidelines; measurement, reporting and verification (MRV); and market mechanisms that lead to real reductions. Emphasizing that "perfection takes time," he said "we are on a long journey to address climate change" but science indicates we cannot postpone stringent action.

De Boer expressed his hope for "more room for discussion in order to complement negotiations," and clarify positions and statements. He posed a number of questions related to the future evolution of the negotiation process, including: determining between technical and political issues; identifying which political decisions are needed to make technical work possible; and organizing technical talks effectively. He emphasized that reaching agreement on numerous complex subjects cannot be achieved with "15,000 people in the room," underscoring that "a clear mandate to work in a smaller group and report back to the COP is enough." Recognizing the value of "party-driven" negotiations, he stressed the importance of insights offered by observer and international organizations. He further praised the work of the UNFCCC Secretariat, expressing the hope that it will increasingly be a resource upon which parties draw to take executive decisions. On climate science, he welcomed the review of the working methods of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He also addressed the role of markets and market-based mechanisms. In conclusion, he stated that negotiators "will not only try, but also succeed." [The Statement]