COP Final
Date of publication  
16 Edition 11th February 2011   email-015  A letter from the editorial team

A look back at COP-16: What happened (and Why) in Cancun

Robert Stavins, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
The international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, have concluded, and despite the gloom-and-doom predictions that dominated the weeks and months leading up to Cancun, the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must be judged a success. It represents a set of modest steps forward. Nothing more should be expected from this process…. More


The Cancun Endgame: Bad for us, Bad for the Climate

Sunita Narain, Editor, Down to Earth, Centre for Science & Environment, New Delhi
Cancun concluded in a deal. Commentators and climate activists in the western world were ecstatic. Even the critics said pragmatism has worked and the world has taken a small step ahead in its battle to fight emissions that determine its growth. Let’s assess the outcome at Cancun to see if this is indeed a step forward?…


COP16: Consensus, Legality and Power

Christoph Schwarte, Staff Lawyer, Foundation for International Environmental Law & Development (FIELD)
The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun ended with the adoption of a package of decisions (referred to as the “Cancun Agreements”). Despite the vocal objections of the Bolivian delegation, the chair (and other parties) took the view that a consensus decision could be made….


“A Collective Commitment”? Nailing down Climate Finance in Cancun and Durban

J.Timmons Roberts, Brown University & Martin Stadelmann, University of Zurich
The surprisingly positive conclusion at Cancun was as much about the process as the substance of the two key texts that are now in place to advance the negotiations over the next year leading to Durban. There were standing ovations at the transparent and inclusive process that brought the year of negotiations to a close, putting some of the bad feelings of Copenhagen behind us….


Cancun’s ‘rushed’ forest deal

Beverly Natividad
From the start of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Cancun, a global agreement to curb carbon emissions by stopping widespread deforestation was expected to be one of the talks’ main achievements. But on the sidelines many feared the pressure for a deal on the long-awaited REDD scheme might reflect no more than the pressure for some kind of outcome from the talks….

Why Bolivia stood alone in opposing the Cancún climate agreement

Pablo Salon, Ambassador of the plurinational state of Bolivia to the United Nations
Diplomacy is traditionally a game of alliance and compromise. Yet in the early hours of Saturday 11 December,Bolivia found itself alone against the world: the only nation to oppose the outcome of the United Nations climate change summit in Cancún. We were accused of being obstructionist, obstinate and unrealistic. Yet in truth we did not feel alone, nor are we offended by the attacks. Instead, we feel an enormous obligation to set aside diplomacy and tell the truth…..

Journalists from climate-change frontline kept world’s eyes focused on COP16

Mike Shanahan, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Hundreds of millions of people across the developing world got daily updates from COP16 thanks to the Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP), an innovative media support programme that awarded fellowships to 31 journalists from 26 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean….

Cancun Climate Negotiations: Taking Great Strides for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
The COP16 climate negotiations concluded in Cancun, Mexico, at around 5am on Saturday 11 December, and the WEDO team was there to mark the result. Under the strong leadership of COP President Her Excellency, Mrs. Patricia Espinosa of Mexico, governments agreed to a set of decisions, the Cancun Agreements, which – according to the UNFCCC – set the world more firmly on the path towards a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change, especially in the developing world….

In the Absence of Success, shall we cheer for not having fully failed?

Sébastian Duyck, Focal Point for the Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC
In late December, many negotiators departed from Cancun with a sense of relief and achievement. The COP16 closing plenary concluded in a particularly enthusiastic atmosphere with several unusual rounds of standing ovation. Most praised the role of Mexico in skilfully managing the COP presidency….

Cancun Climate Change Talks – A tale of success stories

Maruxa Cardama, Secretary General, Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD)
The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended last December in frank success. Two long weeks of intense – and often tense – high-level international negotiations have achieved a substantial deal which covers several of the issues that had blocked talks one year ago at COP 15 in Copenhagen…..

Irish Commitments at Cancun

Jack Cornforth & Nicola Williams, Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future
At the COP-16 climate change negotiations the government of Ireland was unequivocal in its call for each country to acknowledge and rapidly act upon their shared but differentiated responsibilities. Upholding its part of the bargain, the Ireland reinforced previous COP-15 commitments with Fast-Start-Finance pledges, while also unveiling an innovative initiative with the World Resource Institute (WRI) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)……

The world after COP16

Yunus Arikan & Anke Stoffregen, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
Cities and local governments have achieved a tremendous success at the UN climate talks in Cancun in December 2010. A major goal of the Local Government Climate Roadmap that started in Bali, was the recognition that local governments shall have a more active role in global climate governance since they are elected representatives with political and economic power……

Cancún Conclusion

Alex Start, Negotiations Tracker for the US
The atmosphere in the plenary meeting at 3:00 am on the final Saturday morning of negotiations was electric as countries entered the final stages of negotiations, hoping to reach a climate deal under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)…….

Quote of the day

The acceptance of the Cancun Agreements suggests that the international diplomatic community may now recognize that incremental steps in the right direction are better than acrimonious debates over unachievable targets.

Robert Stavins, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Outreach is a multi-stakeholder magazine which is published daily at Intergovernmental conferences on environment and sustainable development. The articles written are intended to reflect those of the authors alone or where indicated a coalition’s opinion. An individual’s article is the opinion of that author alone, and does not reflect the opinions of all stakeholders.

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