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Editor’s Note No. 140
Friday, 4 December 2009
Lynn Wagner, Ph.D.
Lynn Wagner, PhD
Editor,
Linkages Update

and MEA Bulletin
The stage is set for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which opens next week. Two years of negotiations following the adoption of the Bali Roadmap in December 2007, including six weeks of talks in the past six months, have fuelled the negotiation process leading to Copenhagen. As the end game begins, Heads of State and government have announced the targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions that their negotiators will accept. Various actors have floated options for the outcome of the Copenhagen meeting, with some suggesting that a political agreement may be the most realistic goal for Copenhagen, with a legally-binding agreement to be the focus of ongoing talks in 2010.

While the climate change negotiations have commanded the lion’s share of attention from the international sustainable development community over the past two years, many of the stories in this final Linkages Update issue for 2009 point to other sustainable development topics that are set to draw attention in 2010. These stories include:

The chemicals and wastes conventions (Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel) are preparing for their simultaneous ExCOP in February. While this meeting will have implications for the operations of the three conventions individually, as well as the mercury negotiations set to begin in June 2010, this event also will be closely followed for lessons regarding the future of global environmental governance. Shortly after the ExCOP, chemicals and wastes issues will be discussed at the May meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which will review policies to address these issues in the broader context of implementation of the sustainable development agenda.

The recent approval by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s governing Conference of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, a treaty that aims to close fishing ports to ships involved in IUU fishing, will involve port States, and not just flag States, in addressing IUU fishing, following the 25th ratification.

The appointment of a new Executive Secretary for the Convention on Migratory Species and that Convention’s process to evaluate its future, as well as a planned meeting in February 2010 to develop a new agreement on migratory sharks, could point to new directions for that Convention. In addition, a full slate of meetings will discuss biodiversity issues leading up to the October 2010 tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is expected to assess achievement of the 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss, adopt an international regime on access and benefit-sharing and celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity 2010.

And the approval by several development banks of multiple projects related to climate change and energy efficiency echoes a story in our sister publication, Climate-L.org, which reports that the Heads of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund have committed their organizations to the use of technical assistance and funds to further support their environmental goals (http://climate-l.org/2009/12/03/multilateral-development-banks-imf-call-for-comprehensive-global-climate-change-regime/). 

We will continue to document the actions and reactions of the sustainable development community, during the Copenhagen talks and into 2010, as the future shape and contours of international sustainable development policy continue to unfold. As this is the final issue of Linkages Update for 2009, our team at IISD Reporting Services also extends our best wishes to our readers for the coming festive season and the New Year.
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