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UN climate deal negotiators agree on early draft

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UN climate deal negotiators have reached a key milestone in their pursuit of chalking out a new, universal agreement on climate change on Friday after they agreed on an early draft and concluded on the negotiation text for a binding treaty that will be inked sometime by end of 2015.

“Nations concluded the Geneva Climate Change Talks by successfully preparing the negotiating text for
the 2015 agreement. The agreement is set to be reached in Paris at the end of 2015 and will come into
effect in 2020”, noted a UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) press release.

“I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked
during the past week,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate
Change (UNFCCC).

Figueres added that the latest acceptance of the early draft is in line with the timetable that has been laid out earlier. The approval of the negotiating text doesn’t mean that there is a possibility of a deal, but it does open the door for one. “As for the legal nature of the agreement, this will only be clarified later in the year”, added Figueres.

Successful construction of the negotiating text kick-starts a year of intense negotiations towards the new agreement, expected to be finalized at a Paris Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in December. The Geneva talks gave 194 countries a chance to follow-up on the work done at the Lima Climate Change Conference held at the end of last year, which produced elements for the negotiating text, known as the Lima Call for Climate Action.

The text that has been agreed to on Friday covers the substantive content of the new agreement including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building. Countries worked hard to identify the main choices, put their views forward and add more sharpened options to the text.

“The text was constructed in full transparency. This means that although it has become longer, countries are now fully aware of each other’s positions,” Ms. Figueres said. “I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked during the past week.”

The next step is for negotiators to narrow down options and reach consensus on the content. Formal work and negotiations on the text will continue at the Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June with two further formal sessions planned for later in the year, as well as ministerial-level meetings that will take place throughout 2015.

“These opportunities will help to ensure that countries have opportunities to work with each other at several political levels–what is needed now is vertical integration so that the views of heads of state, through ministers and to negotiators reflects a seamless and consistent view of ambition, common ground and ultimately success in December,” Ms. Figueres said.

The negotiating text is available on the UNFCCC’s website and will be edited and translated into the UN’s official languages. After this, the text will be communicated to the world’s capitals by the UNFCCC secretariat in the first quarter of 2015.