The flurry of meetings in September, during which international diplomats identified priorities and examined the implementation of past commitments, will soon contribute to major negotiating sessions in October.
The opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session has brought with it speeches at the highest level regarding countries’ and regional priorities. This year, UNGA opened with the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
, the High-level Meeting on Biodiversity
, and the High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
, all of which sought to focus leaders’ attention on past commitments and further efforts that need to be taken to attain them.
Meanwhile, the UN Environment Programme has organized a series of consultations
to identify regional priorities, agreed goals and key target audiences as input to its upcoming fifth Global Environmental Outlook. This effort will result in an assessment of the state and trends of the global environment in relation to internationally agreed goals, in an effort to ensure that policy makers have the best available scientific findings available when taking decisions on how to respond to environmental challenges.
While climate change commitments and actions were discussed in all of these processes, the month of September also found climate change decision makers at the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Climate Finance (Geneva Dialogue
) and the most recent meeting of the Major Economies Forum
. Negotiators will soon meet in Tianjin, China, for the final round of negotiations before the Cancun Climate Change Conference, as they seek to further define the options for consideration during their talks at the end of 2010.
In October, biodiversity will take center stage in international sustainable development policy. In arguably the most important series of meetings in the history of the Convention on Biological Diversity, negotiators will face the challenge of trying to conclude their long-negotiated agreements on liability and redress under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and access and benefit-sharing, assess achievement of the 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss, and adopt an ambitious yet pragmatic post-2010 strategic plan for the Convention. How successful will they be? We, like the entire environment community, will be watching.
Our Earth Negotiations Bulletin
coverage of the climate and biodiversity negotiations will be accessible from our website, http://www.iisd.ca
. Please also visit our recently updated Climate Change Policy & Practice
knowledgebase of UN and intergovernmental activities addressing global climate change policy, and our newly launched SIDS Policy & Practice: A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States