The Durban Climate Conference in December 2011 represented a significant step forward for the United Nations climate change process. Although its outcomes continue to be debated, the Durban Conference could prove to be a game-changing conference for the climate negotiations. Governments adopted a comprehensive package of decisions—including an agreement to initiate a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and the “Durban Platform” to negotiate a long-term, all inclusive future mitigation regime that includes a process to address the “ambition gap” for stabilizing average global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. They also adopted a range of decisions designed to implement the 2010 Cancun Agreements, including launching a new Green Climate Fund and developing stronger requirements for the reporting and review of countries’ mitigation efforts.
This paper will evaluate the substantive results of the Durban conference, draw implications for developing countries and consider the next steps as a new phase of intergovernmental climate negotiations gets underway.
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