MARRAKECH, Morocco, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Marrakech climate talks kept the global fight against climate change on track by setting a two-year deadline to agree on the rules for implementing the historic Paris Agreement, despite fears that the next U.S. administration may withdraw from this endeavor.
A major achievement of the talks is that the spirit of unity and flexibility demonstrated by all parties helped rebuild the international community's confidence in global cooperation on climate change, which has been overshadowed by uncertainty caused by the election victory of Donald Trump, delegates and civil society members say.
In a proclamation of action issued Thursday, participants in the conference called for "the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority."
The proclamation reflected the determination of world governments to combat climate change through the implementation of the Paris Agreement, Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change affairs, told reporters Friday.
The declaration "built the confidence of the international community in addressing the challenge of climate change," he said.
"One of the good things that happened out of this COP (conference of parties) is that the U.S. elections did not dampen the spirit of parties who are committed to honoring the Paris Agreement and moving forward," said Meena Raman, secretary-general of Friends of Earth Malaysia, saying there was tremendous concern over what would happen if the Trump administration does not honor the agreement.
"The proclamation was actually sending a positive signal that all the parties, regardless of the outcome, will continue to stay on the course. We don't know how the U.S. will act, but the rest of the world will continue," she said.
There was a chorus of calls at the two-week gathering, which concluded in the southern Moroccan city early Saturday morning, for the next U.S. administration to stay inside the Paris Agreement.
Many speakers, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have appealed to Trump to understand the reality of climate change and the "irreversible" trend of the transition of the global economy toward a green, low-emissions one.
During his campaign, Trump denied climate change as a "hoax" and vowed to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and cancel funding for various climate initiatives.
The conference "has demonstrated that the spirit of Paris is still alive and stronger than before," German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told reporters. "The transformation adopted in Paris toward a climate-friendly world is on its way and can no longer be stopped."
After years of negotiations, at least 195 countries in December last year adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, dubbed the Paris Agreement, aimed at reducing global warming to below 2 degree Celsius.
Another significant achievement of the Marrakech talks is that negotiators managed to agree on a two-year program to prepare the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
A decision adopted late Friday night by negotiators after lengthy closed-door consultations requests that the program be carried out before the end of 2018.
Xie described as "balanced" this document and another decision adopted by negotiators on the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying they reflected positions of all parties.
Despite these positive results, developing countries were disappointed about lack of substantive progress on such issues as climate funding and the enhancing of climate action by developed countries before 2020.
Developing countries' concerns, such as funding, capacity building and enhanced climate efforts by rich nations, did not get adequate attention in the two decisions, Xie said.
Negotiators agreed to keep the Adaptation Fund which was set up in 2010 under the Kyodo Protocol. Developing countries have been worried that the fund may no longer exist after the protocol is replaced by the Paris Agreement in 2020.
As to long-term finance, however, developed countries only reaffirmed their promise to mobilize 100 billion U.S. dollars annually by 2020 to help developing countries combat climate change.
"Developed parties recognize that they have to mobilize 100 billion of U.S. dollars to finance mitigation and adaptation projects and after 2020 they have to scale it up," Mamadou Honadia, head of the Burkina Faso delegation, told Xinhua. "We are not satisfied 100 percent."
At the Marrakech climate conference, some 80 million dollars have been pledged by developed countries to the Adaptation Fund, compared to 56 billion to 73 billion dollars of the estimated annual adaptation finance needs of developing countries.
A report presented to the conference by Britain and Australia calculated that it was already providing around 63 billion dollars a year to poor countries in the form of climate finance. But developing countries have contested this figure strenuously, accusing developed nations of double counting and considering loans as grants.
"There is an attempt here to introduce a report by the UK (United Kingdom) and Australia, which prentends to show that they are on track. And all of us know that they are not on track," said Raman. "The numbers are being forged, the methodology is flawed, and the developed countries are way way short."