New climate change measures agreed at UN conference in Nairobi

A series of measures designed to help developing countries adapt to the effects of global warming will soon be put in place thanks to an agreement reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which concluded in Nairobi today.The Nairobi agreement will enhance decision-making on adaptation action and will improve assessment capabilities of vulnerability and related factors. Countries also agreed on the management of the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol to support concrete activities in developing countries.“The Conference has delivered on its promise to support the needs of developing countries,” said Conference President, Kenyan Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment Kivutha Kibwana.“The spirit of Nairobi has been truly remarkable,” he said. “Let us now use the momentum of this Conference to carry this spirit forward and jointly undertake the kind of concerted action we need for humankind to have a future on this planet.”Countries also agreed on a plan to work toward future commitments for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for post-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol, which set legally binding emission reduction targets for 35 industrialized countries during the 2008-2012 period.“The 166 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol heard in Nairobi that global emissions of greenhouse gases have to be reduced to very low levels, well below half of levels in 2000, in order to avoid dangerous climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).“The fact that Parties now have a concrete workplan means that they can move ahead with addressing issues fundamental for agreement on future commitments, such as the level of emission reductions that is required and the ways in which they can be achieved,” he added.The conference was attended by some 6,000 participants, among them more than 100 ministers, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and two heads of State, and marked the first time that a climate change convention was held in sub-Saharan Africa.Adaptation to climate change – the ability to respond to the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding, droughts, sea-level rise or an increase – was a major focus of the Conference, and the agreements it reached are expected to facilitate and expedite projects in developing countries.The Adaptation Fund will draw on proceeds generated by the clean development mechanism, which permits industrialized countries, which have emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thereby generate tradable emission credits.Countries recognized, however, that considerable barriers stand in the way of increased projects in many countries, in particular in Africa. To address this situation Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the launch of the “Nairobi Framework” through which several UN agencies will provide additional support to developing countries to successfully develop projects for the clean development mechanism.“We are seeing a revolutionary shift in the debate on climate change,” said Mr. de Boer. “From looking at climate change policies as a cost factor for development, countries are starting to see them as opportunities to enhance economic growth in a sustainable way.”The development of carbon markets can help mobilize financial resources for a global response to climate change and “give us a future agreement that is focused on incentives to act,” he added.The next round of negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol and talks under the United Nations Climate Change Convention will be held in Bonn, Germany in May 2007.

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