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Media Release
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

15 December 2004

Australia chairs key coalition of countries including the United States and Russia at climate change conference Buenos Aires

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today chaired a successful ministerial meeting of the 'Umbrella Group' at the Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a major international climate change conference in Buenos Aires.

The 'Umbrella Group' comprises Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Norway, Iceland and Ukraine. Kazakhstan is an observer.

"This coalition of countries - some who have ratified Kyoto and some who haven't - works together very well and has advanced a number of joint proposals at this conference," Senator Campbell said.

"There is no doubt that this coalition, which drives half of the global economy, has exerted considerable influence over the course of the negotiations."

At its meeting, the Group shared assessments of the prospects for a successful outcome to COP10 and exchanged views on the question of future global action.

The Umbrella Group is a key long-standing coalition of developed countries with shared interests across many aspects of the international climate change agenda. Australia has convened the Group since its inception seven years ago. The last meeting of the Group at ministerial level took place in April 2004.

The membership of the Group is diverse and plays a highly influential role. Senator Campbell said the Umbrella Group was a central component of Australia's strategy in these negotiations and that its unity and sense of purpose was strong.

Senator Campbell is leading Australia's delegation to the ministerial segment of the conference to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which is taking place from 15-17 December.

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