News

South African Ministers Outline Priorities for Durban

2 August 2011: In a press briefing, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and incoming President of the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, together with South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, described South Africa's preparations to ensure it hosts an international event that meets UN requirements as well as their priorities for the Durban Climate Change Conference.

Nkoana-Mashabane addressed South Africa's state of readiness to host the conference and unveiled the COP 17 logo and theme, "Working together: Saving tomorrow today." She underlined that her Government has been working closely with Mexico in its capacity as current COP President. She explained that South Africa has undertaken informal consultations at all levels to "facilitate a credible outcome that is equitable, fair and inclusive," underlining the importance of the party-driven principle. Nkoana-Mashabane listed the events she will host or organize, including: with Mexico, a Leaders' Dialogue on Climate Change on the margins of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA); a negotiator-level meeting and an informal ministerial meeting in September 2011, in South Africa; a stakeholder meeting on 5 September; and a “Pre-COP” Informal Ministerial Consultation on 20-21 October 2011, in South Africa. She stressed the need for ministers to focus on finance, means of implementation and the other outstanding political issues. She concluded by providing an update on the state of readiness for the Conference, describing the communication plan as well as issues related to accommodation, the venue, transport, visas and security.

Also addressing the press conference, Molewa stressed the need for COP 17 to "at least" put in place the "necessary building blocks to deliver a balanced agreement that takes historical responsibilities into account." She indicated her Government's commitment to develop a common African position in the negotiations, underlining that Africa is the continent most affected by climate change. She outlined the following priorities for Durban, as identified at the AU Summit: maintaining the integrity of the multilateral process; determining the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and a comparable emission reduction regime for non-Kyoto Parties; affording a central place to adaptation; and focusing on finance discussions, particularly the design of the Green Climate Fund.

Molewa further underscored that the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) reiterated the role of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in coordinating climate change issues in Africa, highlighting the upcoming meeting of these ministers on 15-16 September 2011, in Bamako, Mali, to consider the Africa Common Position. COP 17 and the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (COP/MOP 7) to the Kyoto Protocol will take place in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November-9 December 2011. [Molewa's Remarks] [Nkoana-Mashabane's Remarks]