3 December 2012

South Africa At Climate Change Talks in Qatar to Advance Effective Global Response to the Global Challenge of Climate Change for Sustainable Development

Photo: UN Climate Change Conference COP 18
Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Atttiyah at the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha

press release

South Africa regards the global climate change response as part of sustainable development agenda and not just a purely environmental issue.

This was the message from the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Minister Edna Molewa on her arrival in the Gulf state of Qatar's capital Doha, where she is to attend the high-level segment of the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference or COP 18/ CMP 8.

COP 18/ CMP 8 talks started on the 26 November and will end on the 7th December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre, with the high level segment starting on the 4th December.

Minister Molewa is joined at the COP by the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms. Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

The COP is a platform where the international community of nations negotiate the next steps that need to be taken to ensure an effective global response to the global challenge of climate change.

"An effective global solution to the climate change crisis involves the negotiation of delicate balances and trade-offs between a wide range of extremely complex, highly political and sometimes conflicting set of social, economic and environmental development issues," said Minister Edna Molewa.

Minister Molewa added that South Africa needs a strengthened international climate regime that ensures global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with what is required by science.

To this end, we need to ensure that the impacts of climate change do not undermine development in our own country, the African continent and the world at large.

South Africa's engagement at COP18 / CMP8 is further informed by the outcome of COP17 / CMP7 held in Durban, December 2011, where Parties agreed to a three pronged approach:

Firstly, implementing urgent action now, from 2013 to 2020, including the adoption of a 2nd Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol); and a number of institutional mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund.

Secondly, having acknowledged the inadequate commitments to reduce emissions made thus far, a work programme was agreed to increase current pre-2020 levels of ambition, and Thirdly, action for the future with the negotiation of a legal agreement for the period beyond 2020.

To achieve this, last year's Durban talks decided that:

negotiations under the 2 tracks, namely under the Kyoto Protocol track, and under the Convention track, taking place in the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action for the 2013 to 2020 period should be concluded in Doha and an Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) to address the mitigation pre-2020 ambition work programme and to negotiate the future legal instrument coming to effect in 2020 should be established.

Within this context, South Africa is of the view that COP18/CMP8 is an implementation COP. Doha should therefore seek to operationalise all the work mandated by the Durban Conference. This includes:

The implementation of the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol, through finalising legally binding commitments for Annex I countries (developed countries willing to be part of the 2nd CP of KP) and subsequent adoption of the amendments to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol. This will lead to entry into force of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in January 2013. The Kyoto Protocol is the only existing rules-based and binding agreement under which developed countries committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases. South Africa views the implementation of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as the cornerstone of the Doha agreement. This agreement is important to South Africa and all developing countries.

Finalising negotiations under the Adhoc Working Group on Long-term Co-operative Action (AWGLCA), resulting in the termination of the AWG LCA in Doha. In doing so it would be important to reach agreement on how to raise the level of ambition between 2013 to 2020, under both the ambition work plan and negotiation of a future agreement to demonstrate our resolve to what we agreed to.

The first phase of the ADP launch was successfully started during the Bonn mid-year session in June 2012 where the agenda and chairing arrangements were concluded. It is South Africa's view that Doha should advance this by agreeing to a plan of work for the ADP.

It is the responsibility of COP18/CMP8 to decide on how to deal with all issues that do not find satisfactory resolution by the end of 2012.

However, what is clear is that all the necessary arrangements for mitigation and finance are clarified in Doha, including operationalise all agreed to institutions.

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Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Atttiyah at the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha

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