Bali Diary

Bali Conference in full flow

Phil Woolas, Tuesday 16.14 pm (8.14am UK time). Just broken for a bit of lunch. The conference is in full flow now, and it really is a huge convention rather than a conference. To get an idea, imagine one of the big party conferences – security, media, pressure groups, big names arriving and departing, and huddles of people and laptops, and more mobile phones than Carphone Warehouse. On top of which it is over 90 degrees F and very sticky. My assistant is covered in mosquito bites. So far they’ve avoided me!

Phil Woolas giving press interviews, Bali, 11 December 2007Behind the scenes the atmosphere is very tense. Good movement on funding for adaptation, optimistic on deforestation, but still too early to tell on the big picture. Everyone is waiting for ‘the Ministers’ to start talking tomorrow.

One of the highlights of my morning was a press conference I held with a large group of journalists from developing countries. In probably one of the best acts of British diplomacy, DfID have funded forty journalists from the developing world, including much of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, to attend the talks and report back home.

Adaptation was a big theme today and I shared a stage with the Dutch Development Minister Bert Koenders to discuss how we could support developing countries to prepare for climate change. Together with the World Bank, we announced we will be providing up to £3m towards helping developing countries understand the costs of adaptation and how to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Phil Woolas at adaptation event, Bali, 11 December 2007Forestry is the other big story of the day, and Hilary Benn announced that the UK will contribute £15 million to a World Bank initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation. Emissions from deforestation account for up to a fifth of global emissions and we need to ensure they are included any future climate framework. This money will help pilot schemes to try and achieve just that.

The Balinese are incredibly friendly, everybody smiles and is so helpful but it is very strange having policemen with me (almost) all the time. Probably the weirdest birthday I’ve had!

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