As 2010 draws to a close, 10 major international issues will be followed with great interest as they will continue to be at the center of the world's spotlight in the forthcoming year.
DOHA ROUND TRADE TALKS
The nine-year-old Doha Round of global trade talks, designed to lower trade barriers globally, is notoriously known for repeated extensions of its deadline.
As patience with the talks is wearing thin, leaders attending November's meetings of the Group of 20 in South Korea and of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Japan vowed to seize the "window of opportunity" to conclude the stalled talks by 2011.
But at an event of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Negotiations Committee shortly afterwards, representatives from various countries failed the world once again, unable to agree on a concrete timetable for further negotiations, casting a shadow over the prospect of decade-long talks being concluded in time.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
After nearly two weeks of intense negotiations, the Climate Change conference in Cancun in Mexico ended with the adoption of resolutions that recognize the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and took effect in 2005.
In a year's time, representatives from countries across the globe will gather in Durban, South Africa, to further discuss and negotiate on the details of the second commitment period so as to nail down the developed nations' targets of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, among other pressing issues.
As the first commitment period of the Protocol will expire at the end of 2012, the Durban meeting is all the more crucial in bringing the world back on the track of sustainable development.
However, whether the Durban conference could yield concrete results and come up with a legally-binding document remains a question mark.