DURBAN, 13 December 2011 (IRIN) – The UN talks in Durban, South Africa, got adaptation and the response to climate change “approximately right”, which is better than “being precisely wrong”, a tired Naderev Sano, Philippines’ chief climate change negotiator, said as he emerged from two consecutive emotionally charged all-night sessions.
Poor countries and NGOs, which are dealing with the fallout from more frequent and intense natural hazards like floods and cyclones, made a breakthrough in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, when adaptation was given the same weight as efforts to mitigate climate change in the UN climate change deal. Riding on Cancun’s success, expectations for adaptation were high in 2011.
Some progress was made in Durban in this regard, such as setting up an advisory body on adaptation, the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund, and initiating a dialogue to address loss and damage as the impact of climate change unfolds.
But the “devil is in the detail”, as many poor countries found out, and the negotiating tracks dealing with adaptation have been “watered down”. Many voiced their concerns in the open debates in Durban.