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Editor's Note: 2011 Concluding with Three COPs 

Issue #179 | 18 November 2011

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

In the coming week, our teams will be traveling to three continents for key meetings, capping off a very busy year.

In 2011, climate change negotiators traveled around the world – from Bangkok to Bonn to Panama City – to prepare for the Durban Climate Change Conference, which will open on 28 November in Durban, South Africa. Smaller workshops, committee and boards also convened, notably four meetings of the Transitional Committee for the design of the Green Climate Fund, which was created by the 2010 Cancun Climate Change Conference and charged with proposing a design for the Green Climate Fund for consideration in Durban. The last few weeks have involved negotiators in final, informal meetings, including a Santiago, Chile, meeting of the Cartagena Dialogue, an informal group of about 30 countries who meet periodically to informally discuss climate change negotiation challenges. And the Major Economies Forum is meeting from 17-18 November, near Washington, DC, to gather representatives from approximately 20 countries to exchange views in preparation for Durban.

Unlike the optimism and hype preceding the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, expectations ahead of the Durban Climate Conference are low, although the Durban event still demonstrates that the UNFCCC has a convening role in focusing international attention on climate change issues and their linkages with other topics on the sustainable development agenda. A growing number of “Days” events have convened alongside the UNFCCC COPs, for example, and in Durban our teams will be attending and writing reports on Development and Climate Days, Oceans Day, Mountain Day, Forest Day 5, and Business Day.

Our teammates will also be heading to Bergen, Norway, for the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP 10). This COP and a number of meetings of associated agreements and memoranda of understanding that have been negotiated under CMS auspices will consider, among other topics: stronger collaboration with other actors; integrating migratory species conservation into national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs); and CMS and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) collaboration to prevent illegal trade in Saiga horn.

And still another IISD RS team will be heading in the opposite direction. The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 23rd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 23) will convene in Bali, Indonesia, from 21-25 November 2011. Negotiators in Bali will consider, among other items: replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol; updating the nomination processes and recusal guidelines for the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel; and treatment of ozone-depleting substances used to service ships.

Each of these meetings will consider decisions that could advance the work of the conventions individually. Delegates' deliberations and the outcomes will also contribute to the broader discussion of sustainable development policy making. Our Earth Negotiations Bulletin reports from the meetings, together with our reporting through our Climate Change Policy & Practice, Biodiversity Policy & Practice and our other knowledgebases, will help you track these developments and the conclusion to a very busy 2011.