Mexico gets ready for Cancun conference

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, November 28, 2010
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Mexico is preparing to host a key UN climate change conference that starts Monday at its Caribbean resort Cancun, officials said.

The Foreign Ministry said it is expecting more than 20,000 government officials from around the world to attend the talks on issues like financing, technology transfer and reforestation in the hope of finding a solution via negotiations which run through Dec. 10.

Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa argued that by tackling a series of smaller issues within the framework, participants may get closer to some substantial achievements.

"There have been substantial advances in the process towards Cancun," Espinosa said.

"Our negotiators are much closer to reaching agreements in areas like adaptation, technology, reducing emissions due to deforestation and financing. Adopting these elements will benefit us all," she said.

The total number of participating heads of state is not known, but many Latin American leaders have confirmed their attendance. There will also be a large number of non-governmental organizations, research institutions and businesses, which could mean another 10,000 participants at the meeting according to unofficial estimates.

Security is a special concern as Cancun has seen a spike in violence recently. For a week now, the government has deployed 6,000 police officers and troops to the resort city. The neighboring towns of Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres as well as all resorts in the Mayan Riviera will also be patrolled.

The Mexican navy has also dispatched 700 sailors to protect the shores off Cancun, and 300 more will patrol the waters off Tulum, Playa del Carmen and the ports of Morelos and Aventuras.

The Transport Ministry ordered road closures in the Cancun International Airport and established a lane that runs to the Moon Palace, the main conference venue.

Local authorities and the Red Cross have assigned 25 ambulances to the area in case of health emergencies.

Mexico's preparations for the event were not only focused on security.

"The government had invested 301 million pesos (24 million U.S. dollars) in ensuring that the conference produces no net emissions," Adrian Fernandez, head of the National Institute of Ecology (INE), said.

To that end, the government will pay for so-called "environmental services" elsewhere, including soil restoration, reforestation and care for forests in other areas of the nation.

The Foreign Ministry has highlighted two projects: planting 10,000 new trees in Cancun and a reforestation scheme in Tlahuitoltepec in southern Oaxaca state that employs 590 indigenous people to care for nearly 3,200 hectares of rainforest.

Mexico also laid the diplomatic groundwork for the conference as it has been trying since the Copenhagen summit to coordinate the interests of all parties in hopes that some achievements can be made in Cancun.

For example, Mexican Ambassador to the European Union Sandra Fuentes Berain recently suggested to the European Parliament that it is crucial that the green fund promised in Copenhagen be realized.

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