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If one thinks of the ongoing climate negotiations as a paint-by-numbers picture, the Cancun Agreements outlined what to paint and the basic colors to use. In last week’s Panama talks, Parties continued painting with various hues that, once complete, will hopefully create a detailed and beautiful picture. The painting does not yet have a frame, however, as the Parties still have to decide on what kind of “agreed outcome” the negotiations are leading to – i.e., a legally binding agreement or a non-binding one. At the same time the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012, which adds complexity but also opportunity to the picture.

The UNFCCC Cancun Agreements of December 2010 marked an important step forward for transparency of country actions to respond to climate change. In addition to creating a new standard for the way countries report on their national climate commitments and actions, the agreements mandated advances in the reporting and review of countries’ climate finance contributions.


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