COP-17 Opening Ceremony

28 November 2011 --- Today COP-17 was officially opened with the outgoing President Patricia Espinosa, Foreign Minister of Mexico, turning over the reins to incoming President of COP-17, H.E. Ms.Maitte Nkoana-Mashabane, who is also the Foreign Minister orhercountry, South Africa. As in Cancun, we have a woman in charge and again she emphasized that the process would be inclusive and open. At the beginning there are procedural issues like accepting the rules and accepting the agenda, but both had contentious issues. Evidentally there is concern over the requirement for unity to make a decision and some countries want the "right to vote." So, the agreement was to proceed under the draft rules and to continue consultation of that issue.

The issue arising in regard to the Agenda was related to three items proposed by India. I have only heard about one issue, that India doesn't think that the European Union should be allowed unilateral trade agreements, which seems to be about counting aviation emissions by airlines landing in their countries, but originate in other countries. At first thought, it seems like a diversion to me, but I don't understand all the ramifications. I expect it will arise throughout the negotiations.

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