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In the first international meet of the year on climate change in Mexico, the battlelines were again drawn as US tried to push for a small coterie of countries to lead the talks but developing countries, including India, opposed diluting the primacy of the formal talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The meeting was called by Mexico, which will become the official chair of the UN talks and take over from Denmark in December.

Against the backdrop of gloom over securing any concrete and comprehensive deal by December, Mexico has been trying hard to find a middle ground between the developed and developing countries in order to achieve even a partial success when its hosts the meeting.

But at this meet, India and other developing countries opposed any creation of informal groups that did not have the explicit sanction of the UN climate convention members — the way it had happened in the controversial meeting in December last year at Copenhagen.

There was consensus that the fast-track funds promised for adaptation to poor and vulnerable countries should be hastened despite ongoing debates on other issues but this too got stuck with the US insisting that it was not ready to cough up more money than its current commitments for forestry to the tune of $3.5 billion. The developing countries were insistent at Mexico that the informal meetings and groupings have the formal sanction of the countries through the UN process.

While India and other countries did not outright reject informal meets, they along with host Mexico insisted that all decisions should finally be routed through the UN process.

While the US attempted to give a higher priority to the Copenhagen Accord, India and others insisted that all documents that were taken on board at the Copenhagen meet — formal UN texts as well as the Copenhagen Accord — be used as the basis for further talks under the formal process.

The Times of India, 27 March 2010