Fiona Harvey Cancun – Mexico takes credit for avoiding another Copenhagen

With the Cancun climate conference entering its final hours, delegates and observers conceded that although progress had been made on several important issues – forestry, clean technology cooperation, a green fund for poor countries – there were still many areas yet to be resolved, including the legal form of any agreement, private sector financing, and the future of the Kyoto protocol.

Ambassador Shin of South Korea told the FT: “We are going to have to leave many things as homework for the next year.”

Others involved in the talks at a high level, however, privately expressed frustration that so little was set to be agreed by the end of the two weeks of negotiation.

President Calderon with Fiona Harvey

Picture by Ariel Gutierrez

But President Calderon of Mexico reiterated his determination to “send a strong political signal” from Cancun even if many issues were left unresolved here. He said the conference had been important in rebuilding trust between the poor and rich worlds.

Many other participants echoed this view, saying that the damaging and public conflicts that some had feared would erupt here had largely been avoided, and some level of trust had been restored after the recriminations of Copenhagen.

And many attributed this to the deft handling of the Mexican hosts, who by virtue of their strong links across Latin America and with the rest of the developing world, as well as ties to the US and Europe, were able to bridge some of the deep rifts among countries here.