ANNOUNCEMENT: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres (fourth from left) announces Qatar as the host country of COP 18 during the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, on November 29 (YU YAN)
Qatar will host the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) along with the Eighth Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 8) from November 26 to December 7, 2012, according to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, on November 29.
"Qatar won the right to host the next UN Climate Change Conference mainly because of its economic strength," said Yang Fuqiang, Senior Advisor on Climate, Energy and Environment of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) China Program. The NRDC is an environmental action organization based in the United States.
The favorable geological location and convenient transportation also contributed to Qatar's success. In addition, Qatar has a competitive edge over South Korea on language services, said Yang.
Although Qatar is a rich country, it remains a developing country and it has done much work in dealing with climate change. Its competing for the right to host the next climate talks reveals its concern with the impacts of the climate change on its oil resources, said Yang.
The announcement was made following agreement among the Asian Group of countries. Qatar and South Korea have agreed to closely cooperate to ensure the success of the next UN Climate Change Conference at the end of 2012.
South Korea will host a ministerial meeting to prepare for COP 18/CMP 8. Such ministerial meetings are a tradition in UNFCCC negotiations and are instrumental in clarifying central issues in the weeks before the next major climate change conference.
Qatar, one of the world's main energy exporters, expressed its eagerness to secure progress in the UN climate change negotiations and its support to endeavors of developing countries, including small island developing states, in adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change.
The UNFCCC's annual Conferences of the Parties are rotated between the five UN regional groups, with the African Group hosting COP 17 in Durban, South Africa this year.
(Reporting from Durban, South Africa)