In Cancun last year, COP 16 ended in high drama – with some hailing the meeting as a complete success because progress was made in key areas, and some calling the meeting an utter failure after Bolivia’s objections were basically ignored in the dying hours of the meeting. (If you’re interested in how it played out, just check my blog from the final hours in Mexico).

But that’s all in the past, because the United Nations international climate negotiations have begun again, this time in Bangkok. During the year there will be a series of meetings known as intercessionals (probably 2 more of them), in preparation for the big meeting at the end of the year – COP 17, which will be held in Durban. As host country, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Nkoana Mashabane, will take the so-called “COP Presidency” and will lead the negotiations at the end of the year – with the responsibility towards steering the negotiations forward in Durban.

This meeting officially opened on Tuesday, with opening meetings for both tracks of the negotiations (the KP and the LCA). Unfortunately, the LCA meeting ended in high drama last night as countries proposed different ways of approaching the agenda for their work this year, and then spent hours talking about the agenda and their position on it. Negotiating about what they will negotiate, if you will. In the end, the meeting was adjourned late last night, and they will start again this afternoon.

There is a lot at stake this year, and a lot of pressure on South Africa to deliver “another miracle” at the end of 2011, particularly as the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. A lot of work lies ahead, but first…the agenda needs to be agreed upon (which is apparently way harder than it sounds)..