Talk about reversing the global economic slowdown is dominating diplomacy at the moment, which may not bode well for progress at COP-14 in Poznan in early December. However, the upcoming UN Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) conference in Doha, intriguingly scheduled as a ‘starter’ days before Poznan, can provide a constructive bridge between the urgency of solving the financial crisis and the need to address climate change.

Negotiations in Monterrey, March 2002.

Negotiations in Monterrey, March 2002.

The conference is meant to review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus adopted by most governments in March 2002 that among other things, included a commitment to allocate 0.7 percent of GNP to ODA. At the time, terrorism dominated almost all inter-governmental negotiations, including development cooperation, and the climate debate was in a bit of a lull. A quick search reveals that, astonishingly, neither ‘climate change’ or ‘energy’ figure in the Monterrey Consensus. This is likely to change this time around, which is good news for progress at Poznan.

The draft outcomes document released in July 2008 identifies climate change and high food and energy prices as significant new challenges since 2002. For example, it says;

“Concerted efforts to address climate change should promote increased trade in environmental goods and not result in environmentally based trade distortions. We should facilitate the transfer of low-carbon technology to support economic development efforts.”

If this language survives the final draft, it can help give Poznan a much needed boost. An important clue as to whether the economic case for climate interventions is getting enough attention is to see whether it features at FfD in Doha and on the agendas of other upcoming high level economic and financial summits.

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