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Major Economies Forum will be an important stepping-stone on the way to Copenhagen

Date
29 April 2009

Initial comments by ministers and special envoys attending the 1st meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Washington DC earlier this week suggest that, while there is still much headway to be made on a range of key issues, the Forum is serving its primary purpose of building trust and confidence between the major protagonists on the road to the major UN Climate Summit in December.

The MEF, established by US President Obama as a successor to the MEM process set up by his predecessor George Bush, brings together seventeen of the world's largest economies responsible for nearly 85% of global GHG emissions.

Explicitly designed to complement rather than replace the ongoing UN negotiations, the MEF offers countries an opportunity away from the haggling over specific text to understand each other's positions, identify areas of common ground and build bridges and explore innovative solutions. Key issues include targets for industrialized countries, the role of developing nations in cutting emissions, financing and technology transfer.

Mark Kenber, The Climate Group's Policy Director, said: "Countries need to avoid a scenario in which they only put their cards on the table in the final hours of the Copenhagen negotiations in an atmosphere of distrust; this will only lead to poor decisions unlikely to rise sufficiently to the climate challenge. If the MEF can create a sorely needed atmosphere of confidence and willingness to raise the collective level of ambition so as to put the world firmly on the path to a climate resilient low carbon economy and so lead to world-changing deal in Copenhagen, the MEF will have more than served its purpose."

Further minster and envoy level meetings of the MEF are expected to be held in May and June with a Heads of Government meeting scheduled as part of the G8 summit in Italy in July.

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