Changing rules at Copenhagen 'undermining trust of developing countries'

By staff writers
December 16, 2009

A bloc of developing countries as well as aid agencies have protested against the appearance of a new draft agreement, penned by Denmark, at the climate talks in Copenhagen.

Many say that the new text is replacing a draft the parties had been working on into the early morning and are demanding that the old text be the only one considered.

It comes after the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, took over the presidency of the climate talks, replacing Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s minister for climate and energy.

The move was said to be due to the arrival of more than 120 heads of state, requiring a more senior moderator for the conference.

Rasmussen responded to criticism by defending the text as inclusive and pointing out that Denmark had not formally introduced it.

But Nelson Muffuh, Senior Climate Advocacy Coordinator at Christian Aid, said: "In his haste to push the talks along and have some sort of 'success' to declare on Friday, the newly appointed COP President, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has introduced a new 'Danish draft.’

"Nothing could more undermine the trust of developing countries than for the Danes to change the rules again - and continue to promote their ideas at the expense of encouraging compromise.

"President Rasmussen seems to have sacrificed the principle that any deal must be reached openly and transparently, through the existing negotiating groups here, rather than behind closed doors between an exclusive group of compliant countries. This flawed approach compromises his proposed texts.

"Denmark’s role here is as a facilitator. This conference is being held in Copenhagen - but it is not Denmark's conference on climate change - it is the whole world’s.

"The constant deadlocks afflicting the talks are a symptom of developed countries’ refusal to offer anything like a fair deal for developing countries. Instead, the rich are trying to bully the poor into taking on more of the burden of solving the climate crisis.

"We realise that time is short for this historic meeting to achieve a deal which is worthy of the crisis facing the entire world. However, the ongoing negotiating process, which is open and inclusive, should be allowed to produce a text. The COP Presidency should encourage and not undermine this."

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