Putting the "can" in Cancun

Hola from Cancun!  The sun is shining the grass is green, and crunch time for the delegates, as we come towards the middle of the second week, is starting to set in.

This is my first time attending a COP, and optimistically, I want to say that it won’t be my last.  There is a real shift away from Nopenhagen, the pessimism and the dejection, and towards understanding what is truly within our reach.

Having just walked out from the “United Nations System delivering as one on climate change: supporting implementation” side event, in which Ministers and United Nations Systems leaders held an open exchange to identify countries’ needs and the role of the UN System in response to those needs, the strongest message that stuck was that COP-16 is about achieving realistic goals via the manipulation of tools and mechanisms that are accessible and tailored to the different needs of the individual countries.

The failure of COP-15 propagated from the intense hype and demands for extreme successes that were untenable.  On the contrary, delegates this year arrived at Cancun cautious, with more realistic assessments and understanding of the achievable.  It might seem obvious, and unfortunate that we require a meeting of this scale just to reiterate that point, but perhaps this reality check will be the one single mission that can be borne out of this conference.  There is no perfect solution or statement, but there will surely be incremental steps taken in the right direction.  I’ll take that.

PS: Celebrity watch: shook hands with the President of Mexico, and had a group photo taken with Daryl Hannah. High five!

Written by MICHLHW.

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