African group urges speeding up UN climate change talks

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The African Group at the UN-led climate change talks said here on Friday that the negotiations should be sped up under the dual-track negotiation mechanism in an open and transparent manner.

Chairperson of the African Group Djemouh Kamel told a press conference that developed countries must put forward emissions cut targets for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and non-KP parties should come up with "comparable" targets according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) .

A climate financing plan aimed at helping developing countries mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change is also urgently needed, Kamel said.

The ongoing UN-led climate change talks are conducted in two working groups, namely the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG- LCA).

The dual-track negotiation mechanism was established in the Bali Action Plan adopted two years ago. According to the action plan, developed countries should come up with emissions reduction targets for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol after the first period expires in 2012, and discuss how to help developing countries on their mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Another representative of the African group, Victor Fodeke, highlighted at the press conference that Africa had neither the technology, finance nor the capacity to deal with the negative consequences of climate change.

"Africa is dying, but we are busy discussing the numbers," he said, calling on developed countries to speed up the talks instead of being obsessed with irrelevant numbers.

He also said the processes laid out in the Bali Action Plan were very clear and should be followed to the letter.

At the press conference, Kamel also called for transparency of the negotiation process.

"We expect full transparency which has not been happening since the start of the talks as evidenced by the resurfacing of different texts during the negotiations," he said.

He said that the co-chairs of the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA did not consult the African group before presenting draft texts on Friday of each working group, adding the African group would present its own text later on Friday.

The African negotiator stressed that Africa wanted to move the negotiations forward, hence there was need for consultation of all parties before any action is taken.

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