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03 June 2010

UN climate talks face up to cash flow fears

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Can stalled climate negotiations get any worse?

The already fraught international climate change negotiations are facing a fresh challenge after Yvo de Boer, the outgoing head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, revealed that the secretariat does not have sufficient funds to host two additional meetings ahead of the Cancun summit in November.

Speaking earlier this week at a press conference at the latest round of talks in Bonn, de Boer said there were plans for two more week-long meetings ahead of the Mexico summit, but admitted that they depended on "adequate financial support" being delivered.

He said he had spoken with a large number of regional groups about funding for the secretariat's work, but was short of the level of financing required to host additional meetings on top of the Cancun summit.

"A number of countries made pledges for additional financial support," he told reporters. "Some countries have followed up on those pledges and actually transferred the money, but we need more of those pledges to materialise before we can safely say there is enough in the bank to organise the additional meetings and fund the participation of people from developing countries."

He added that the UN had set a deadline of the end of this week for clarification on whether or not the financial pledges would be met, "because I can only spend money I have in my bank account".

The news will further fuel fears that the long-running negotiations have suffered a near fatal loss of momentum following the Copenhagen summit. It will also raise the prospect of the Mexico summit getting under way in November with little real progress made since the acrimonious end to last year's summit.


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