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S.Africa, India, Indonesia seek top UN climate job
OSLO (Reuters) - South Africa, India and Indonesia are vying to win the U.N.'s top climate change job, a key post to build trust between poor and rich in 2010 after the U.N.'s Copenhagen summit which set few binding targets.
Many analysts expect a developing nation candidate will succeed Yvo de Boer, a Dutch citizen who said last month he would step down as head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat on July 1 after a grueling four years.
"It is good news for the whole process that it is attracting strong candidates from developing countries," said Mark Kenber, International Policy Director at the Climate Group in London.
South Africa Monday formally nominated Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, 50, and a former environment minister, for the job. It said some governments, business institutions and non-governmental organizations had expressed support.
India recently nominated Vijay Sharma, a senior environmental official, to succeed de Boer.
Indonesia, which hosted U.N. talks in 2007 that launched talks on a new climate treaty, has expressed interest but not yet settled on a nominee. It is unclear which other nations may be interested.
Agus Purnomo, Indonesia's lead negotiator in Copenhagen, said there were rumors he might be nominated. "If I had a choice I would stay in Indonesia but if this was given to me as an official assignment I would be interested," he told Reuters.
The Jakarta Post has also mentioned possible candidates including former Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda.
December's Copenhagen summit fell short of a legally binding treaty, largely because of disagreements between developed and developing nations about sharing the burden of emissions curbs.
"Whoever is chosen as de Boer's successor will above all need to be able to build trust between major industrialized and developing economies," Kenber said. De Boer has suggested his replacement should be from a developing nation.
The choice is up to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who says stronger action by all, mainly to curb emissions from burning fossil fuels, is needed to avert more heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising sea levels.
Delegates from 194 nations will meet in Bonn, Germany, next month to try to prepare the next major talks, in Mexico from November 29 to December 10. Few expect a full-blown treaty this year and South Africa will host the talks in 2011.
As environment minister, van Schalkwyk criticized former U.S. President George W. Bush. "We are looking forward to whoever succeeds the present (U.S.) administration, because we believe we can probably only do better," he said in 2008.
South Africa's climate policies are among the most ambitious of developing nations -- envisaging a peak in emissions by 2020-25. Most developing nations merely aim to slow the rise of emissions, without yet setting a firm peak.
India, for instance, has promised to cut the amount of carbon emitted per unit of economic output by 20-25 percent by 2020. And Indonesia aims to cut emissions by at least 26 percent by 2020 below a "business as usual" rise.
(With extra reporting by Sunanda Creagh in Jakarta, David Fogarty in Singapore, Marius Bosch in Johannesburg)
For Reuters latest environment blogs, click on: blogs.reuters.com/environment/
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