PARIS — The outgoing head of the UN's climate forum on Tuesday urged rich countries to make good on promises they made last December in Copenhagen to help rebuild trust after the storm-tossed summit.
Yvo de Boer said a 12-day negotiation round starting in Bonn next Monday had to lay down the foundations for work leading up to the climate treaty that notoriously eluded world leaders in Copenhagen.
"The priority for the industrialised countries is to deploy the 30 billion (dollars) they pledged from now until 2012 in short-term finance to kickstart climate action in developing countries," de Boer said in a news conference webcast from Bonn.
"Now, of course, times are harsh, especially in Europe, but raising 10 billion a year for three years amongst all industrialised countries is not an impossible call."
The 30-billion-dollar pledge is enshrined in the "Copenhagen Accord," which was hastily thrown together as failure loomed. Green groups and advocates for the poor slammed the document as a fudge or a betrayal.
The promise was presented as a sign of good faith towards poor nations bearing the brunt of climate change pending a global treaty that would take effect from 2012.
But there have been scant details about how this money will be disbursed, to whom and how -- or whether the cash is new or siphoned from existing budgets.
De Boer hoped the Bonn talks, taking place at the level of senior officials, would "significantly advance" negotiations ahead of a ministerial-level meeting in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10.
But he discounted any prospect that the treaty -- which according to initial plans should have been wrapped up in Copenhagen -- would be concluded this year.
"I think that especially developing countries would want to see what an agreement would entail for them before they would be willing to turn it into a legally-binding treaty," he said.
If so, that means any pact would be completed, at the earliest, in South Africa at the end of 2011.
That leaves just a year before the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only treaty to detail cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
"I encourage governments now to develop greater clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol since this issue be cannot left unattended until Cancun," de Boer added. "...Governments need an open discussion."
De Boer, a Dutchman, announced his resignation as executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the aftermath of Copenhagen.
His successor is Costa Rica's chief climate negotiator, Christiana Figueres, 53, who takes office on July 1.
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