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19 May 2010

Figueres calls for "more ambition" at climate talks

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Incoming head of UN climate change secretariat urges countries to adopt a more transparent and inclusive approach to negotiations

Christiana Figueres yesterday used her first interview after being confirmed as the next head of the UN's climate change secretariat to call for a step-change in the international talks to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol.

Speaking to the BBC's One Planet programme, the Costa Rican diplomat said it was time for countries to "make more effort, it's time to be more ambitious".

She also urged negotiators to take a more "transparent" and "inclusive" approach to the talks, admitting that the deal that delivered last year's Copenhagen Accord was "not transparent and not inclusive enough".

Smaller countries, many of whom lobbied for Figueres to replace the outgoing head of the UN climate negotiations Yvo de Boer, were left feeling sidelined at the Copenhagen Summit after the US, Brazil, South Africa, India and China broke away from the main talks to finalise the agreement.

The negotiations between a select group of world leaders resulted after two weeks of talks in Copenhagen became bogged down in procedural wrangling and failed to deliver a draft agreement.

Figueres admitted to the BBC that the negotiating process used in Copenhagen was "not the most satisfactory", but she rejected the suggestion that the Copenhagen Summit had been a failure, arguing that it had helped push climate change to "the top of every political agenda in every country".

Figueres now has several weeks to prepare before formally taking over as executive secretary of the Bonn-based UN climate change secretariat, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), at the start of July.

She is also expected to play a central role at the next climate change summit in Bonn in June, which will be the last big international meeting before the main summit in Mexico in late November.


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