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Belize Continues to Negotiate at COP26

The second week of COP26 began today in Glasgow, Scotland. This week is important for countries that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change as negotiations are expected to get intense. Hopes are high that an agreement will be reached by the last day of the summit which is Friday. The public perception, however, is that the United Nation’s Conference of Parties will be a failure, and if that turns out to be the case, countries like Belize will continue to be adversely affected. Love News’ Reporter Hipolito Novelo is still in Glasgow and spoke to two of Belize’s top negotiators.

Hipolito Novelo, Love News:  Its the second week of COP26 in Glasgow Scotland and negotiations between parties are expected to be more intense as technical experts, government leaders and negotiators attend several sessions before the COP officially comes to an end on Friday.

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “On Friday that is where we’re hoping everything comes to an end where we actually have draft decisions written down that the presidency can then adopt to say article six is now approved and we actually go into each of them and actually approve them in a decision for each agenda item on the COP agenda.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Some expect the agenda to go beyond the Friday and as the second COP week unfolds there is the perception that the global summit will be a failure. Belize’s lead technical negotiator Carlos Fuller who is also Belize’s permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations. 

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “We are making progress, not the giant progress that we are hoping to come maybe towards the end of the week but we are making progress. “

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: In terms of the negotiations how intense can they get ?

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “Oh they can get very intense. First of all at the technical level we tend to look at the nitty gritty of exactly how you’re going to do something. While there are some issues that obviously we will not be able to resolve and we then have to take it up to the higher political level where they’ll be making their broader decisions as to go either A or B and the new will then work out again the nitty gritty of how you do that.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News:: There’s also the belief that there’s a lack of interest by super polluter countries like China and Russia. Negotiations can be affected and so can progress and for Fuller that is frustrating.

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations:We do not believe that they are doing ambitious enough reducing their levels of emissions and we believe that a lot of geopolitics has to be playing in it,  things that have nothing to do with the climate change convention sometimes influences how the country coming into the negotiations. So for example we know that China and the USA have been at loggerheads over certain issues for quite a while similarly the Russian Federation. So those kinds of things in the background actually do affect it because at the end of the day it will be if the technicians can’t agree the politicians will have to sit down and if at the political level they have a disagreement somewhere else then obviously it affects the climate change convention process.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Do you get frustrated ?

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “I get frustrated at the time but then you have to look back and to say ‘Have I made progress.’ and at that level you say guess what it was not all in vain ,we did make small progress and that’s the thing with the climate change negotiations you never make major jumps every year unless you have an agreement like a Paris Agreement, a Kyoto Protocol, those are when you make big jumps but this COP is not one of those.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: But he still holds on to hope and so does Janine Felson. She’s the deputy leader for the Belize delegation and the lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States on Climate Finance.

Janine Felson, Lead Negotiator, AOSIS on Climate Finance:  “It’s very likely we’re going into late nights. I think this is the COP with the largest number of unresolved issues coming into the ministerial segment so we will probably be relying heavily on our ministers to stay awake and our negotiators to be strong as we go into these final days.”

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “I think things are changing. I think the discourse is now occurring I see much more renewable energy than we ever had before. I see many countries saying that within ten years they will phase out vehicles that are using petroleum, that they’re going into electric vehicles so I do see the changes occurring already. Besides the rhetoric things are going into place so I think but it is not happening fast enough and I think that is what we need to do.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Can Belize be energy independent.

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “I really believe we can. I believe we have enough natural resources from water, from the air, from biomass, from the sun for us to be fully renewable. One of the few countries in the world I think that can be.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: This COP conference is it all about the money ?

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “It is not all about the money but money is a significant part. First of all the money will bring back the trust because ten years ago developed countries promised $100 billion per year by 2020, well we are now in 2021 and they are one year behind so obviously they need to make up for that so that is a part of it that the trust has to come back into it but there are other aspects for example the mitigation goal of achieving the 1.5 degree target which for us is a matter of survival. Without that our coral reef is gone, our fishing is gone ,our tourism is gone so obviously in the long term we are affected if we don’t get that 1.5 degree on track.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Fuller says that small island developing states like Belize are not begging to be saved. Vulnerable countries are demanding that something be done and be done fast.

Carlos Fuller, Belize Ambassador to the United Nations: “We are not begging, we are demanding because we did not create the problem. We are saying you caused the problem obviously you need to fix the problem and if you’re not fixing the problem to reduce your emissions then you also then have to help us to adapt to this new reality that you’re doing. And it’s not only affecting us now it’s affecting them. They saw the floods in Germany this year, they saw the forest fires in California, they saw the flooding in New York so they are now feeling the effects of it. We told them about it twenty years ago now they’re feeling it and now I think the youth is coming out to tell them in their own countries.”