San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica on Road To UN Climate Conference

Costa Rica has begun paving its way to the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), set to commence Nov. 29 in Cancún, Mexico.

On Tuesday, July 13 the country’s foreign minister, René Castro, met with his Mexican counterpart to express Costa Rica’s commitment to the negotiations, known as COP-16.

“COP-16 is an opportunity for our country to participate with enthusiasm so that its contribution, along with that of other nations, will contribute to the success of this conference,” Castro said, adding that the summit in Mexico “has to be a success.”

During the last conference in Copenhagen in December, member states failed to reach a legally binding agreement to fight climate change.

Last week, Costa Rican Christiana Figueres settled into her new post as executive secretary of the UNFCCC. She is  faced with pushing the convention’s member nations toward ratifying a legally binding treaty to combat global warming that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Patricia Espinosa, welcomed Castro’s comments. “We will work very closely with Costa Rica with COP-16 in sight, given the moral authority of the country on environmental issues,” she said.

On Thursday, Costa Rican Vice President Alfio Piva said he will meet with Castro in the upcoming weeks to discuss the country’s strategy heading into the talks in Mexico. The two will also decide who will make up the Costa Rican delegation for this year’s meeting.

Castro served as Costa Rica’s environment and energy minister from 1994-98.

–Mike McDonald

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