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COP 18 talks lack urgency

Senior government officials become despondent as high level UN climate talks create fatigue and frustration.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane addressing the COP18 conference during the opening session in Doha, Qatar. Picture: GCIS

DOHA - As senior government officials from nearly 200 countries gathered in Doha for the high level United Nations climate talks on Tuesday, activists raised alarm bells at the lack of urgency in the negotiations.

Progress has been slow at the discussions, which are meant to build on the decisions made in Durban, when South Africa hosted at the COP17 event last year.

The mood in the Qatar International Convention Centre was one of fatigue.

These talks are meant to take last year's big decisions forward, implementing structures on finance, committing to future binding emissions cuts and working out a plan for the years to come.

But as the high level parts of these talks kicked off on Tuesday, there were big holes in the draft agreements, and delegates already started talks of delaying the outcome to a second meeting next year.

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said no one wants the negotiations to regress to 2007 when the talks broke down in Copenhagen.

She said she still has hope that with collective leadership from the ministers meeting in coming days, something constructive can be salvaged from these talks.

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