Page 74 - index
P. 74

iN Focus: cop21

meet the uNlikelY

climate allies

bridgiNg divides iN

uN talks

Mexico, Switzerland and South Korea form a small but infuental group that could be critcal in building a Paris deal.

by Megan darby

Internatonal climate talks are typically presented as a struggle Union that surrounds it on all sides. Nor did it agree, at the tme, with
between the developed and developing worlds. the Umbrella Group, which covered most other developed countries
including the US, Australia and Japan.
The reality is more complex, but there is an undeniable tension
between those rich countries responsible for the bulk of historic “These groups did not feel like home,” says Perrez.
emissions and the emerging economies that have an increasing So Switzerland declared its intenton to form a new group and invited
impact on the climate.
other unafliated countries to join.
Much has been made of last year’s US-China pact straddling that
historic divide and its signifcance in unblocking agreement at outgrowing the g77
the last round of climate talks in Lima. Less is said about a small For Mexico and South Korea, the issue was that their economies had
outgrown the G77, which represented the developing world.
negotatng bloc that has been steadily infuental in bridging the
same gap since 2000. Now frmly in the upper-middle income category, Mexico was accepted
into the OECD in 1994 and South Korea followed two years later.
The environmental integrity group (EIG) is made up of Mexico,
Switzerland and South Korea, plus the European principalites of When it came to climate talks, Roberto Dondisch, director general of
Liechtenstein and Monaco. Negotators for these unlikely allies tell global issues in Mexico’s foreign ofce, says: “We were being lef out
RTCC the partnership, borne out of frustraton with the process, can of the process.
be a strong advocate for progressive climate policies.
“Although Mexico carries weight, it is not the same as having an
Spanning three contnents and three tme zones, as well as the ofcial group.”
frewall between developed and emerging economies, the group has
a reach like no other. The dynamics of UN climate talks have changed since the EIG formed
in 2000. The importance atached to formal blocs has waned and
As the European Union seeks to positon itself as the bridge-builder several unofcial alliances claim a similar status.
in UN climate talks ahead of this December’s critcal summit in Paris,
this small but signifcant group could give them a run for their money.
Swiss initatve
The group was conceived during negotatons for the Kyoto Protocol,
when countries not part of any bloc were shut out of certain
Franz Perrez, environmental ambassador for Switzerland, explains:
“There was a moment when negotatons moved to a smaller setng,
where only some groups were permited to engage and we were not
part of that.”
His predecessor was escorted out of the room, while representatves
of formal groups stayed – an “unacceptable” situaton to Switzerland.
Famously for its neutrality, Switzerland never joined the European

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