Traveling from Southeast Asia (Manila) to Paris with connecting flights to Mexico City and finally to Cancun- -- the site of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 6th Conference of the Parties serving as meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol -- is flying half of the planet.

It is about 30 hours of sleepless and restless plane experience. And because the plane route passes through the Greenwich timeline, one day is lost while traveling. I left Manila on November 30 and should arrive 30 hours later, or, on December 2, but I arrived in Mexico, still on December 1. Due to delayed domestic flight, I landed in Cancun morning of December 2.

Actually I did not only lose a day in this travel.  I also lost my luggage. So, half-the-planet away from home, I have no clothes, shoes, shampoo, soap, and everything including some important work documents, phone chargers and power cord of laptop.

By morning, I was expected to be in smart casual attire as required by the conference secretariat; and ready to lobby and contribute in the negotiations for a fair, ambitious, and binding global deal on climate change.

Thanks to colleagues and friends who all came to the rescue -- lending me their basics (pieces of clothes, moisturizer, toothbrush, napkins, shoes, and yes, undies).  Because of their helping hands (and different sizes), I managed to attend the conference with a new image: in slim-fit polo shirt, lose pants, a pair of beach sandals, fresh, clean, and happy despite being phone-less and computer-less. The conference guards could not do anything but allow me entry. Otherwise, I would insist that smart-casualness is in the eyes of the beholder.

My day one at the Cancun climate negotiations today is actually day four of the conference.  So I tried to gather information of what happened in the last four days and here are the highlights:

1.      The Cancun climate-related meetings were launched at a welcome ceremony by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and with opening plenaries of the various bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

President Calderon said that climate change is beginning to make us pay for the fatal error that humanity has committed against the earth and billions of human beings are expecting the Parties meeting in Cancun to speak for all humanity and for the people who are suffering the impacts of climate change.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said in the same occasion that there are a number of politically charged issues such as the need to avoid the gap after the first commitment period for greenhouse gas emission of the Kyoto Protocol; the mobilization of long-term finance; and the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.

2.      In the opening plenary of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, the biggest negotiating block, the G-77 and China where ASEAN countries belong, called for a balanced outcome between the two negotiating tracks on the Kyoto Protocol and Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention.

It also emphasized the need to establish a new climate fund under the Convention and an oversight mechanism for climate financing overall, as well as new institutional arrangements for adaptation and technology transfer.

3.      In the same occasion, Papua New Guinea initiated a debate when it raised its concern over the maintenance of the position of Parties in setting aside draft rule 42 as contained in document FCCC/CP/1996/2.

PNG said that there are several decisions to move forward in Cancun, and the excluded application of draft rule 42,  is like holding the process hostage. Citing the rejection of the Copenhagen Accord on the last day of COP 15 last year, it said the situation could have been averted with rule 42.

Rule 42 states: The Parties shall make every effort to reach agreement on all matters of substance by consensus. If all efforts to reach consensus have been exhausted and no agreement has been reached, the decision shall, as a last resort, be taken by a two-thirds majority vote of the Parties present and voting.

4.      At the opening of the Kyoto Protocol Working Group, Japan made its infamous killer statement. It said it would never accept a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and that it would never agree to place its greenhouse gas emission reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. It called for a new, single, legally binding instrument with all major emitters based on the Copenhagen Accord.

It added that it supports the establishment of the “Copenhagen green fund”, provided that there is progress in the discussion on MRV (measuring, reporting, and verification).

In contrast, developing countries unanimously called for the second commitment period for Annex I  Parties’ emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, insisting that this is a legally binding obligation, and had to be adopted in Cancun.

 - Zelda Soriano, is Greenpeace Southeast Asia's Political Advisor in Cancun. You can read more of her blogs here