Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa delivered South Africa's country statement at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar on Thursday, telling delegates it was crucial to secure a global solution to a climate change crisis threatening all countries.
"We must secure the multilateral rules-based climate change system to guide urgent and adequate implementation of climate action starting from 1 January 2013 up to 2020; and we must define the process for negotiating the further development of this system for the period beyond 2020," Molewa said.
It is widely expected that COP18 will confirm the design of a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, and work towards a new international legally binding agreement on carbon emissions by 2015.
Parties meeting in Doha have 36 hours to iron out some key issues around finance and mitigation. Finance will enable adaptation and mitigation action by developing countries.
The climate talks must also find ways of addressing the finance gap between 2013 and 2020, give direction on long-term sources of finance, and find ways of making the Green Climate Fund fully functional.
"On the issue of mitigation, the Doha talks must agree to a process to ensure comparability of effort between countries taking a Kyoto second commitment period and developed countries not willing to do so, through establishing quantified economy-wide emission reduction pathways," Molewa said.
There are two work-streams under the Durban Platform on Enhanced Action; the one is raising ambition in the pre-2020 period to close the ambition lag, and the other is to develop a new legally binding agreement under the Convention that will apply to all Parties.
"This instrument (agreement) should reinforce a fair, multilateral, rules-based regime that will give effect to the principles of the Convention, and the right to equitable access to sustainable development," Molewa said.
The minister said the agreement had to balance mitigation and adaptation, and ensure the provision of finance, technology and capacity building to allow developing countries to move toward lower-carbon, climate-resilient economies.
According a World Bank Report, the world is headed to a 4 degrees Celsius increase in temperature by the end of the century if nothing is done about climate change.
"We must ensure that Doha delivers on meaningful actions between 2013 and 2020, and establishes a solid base to drive up the mitigation ambition so that by the time the new legal instrument comes into effect, we still have a fair chance of preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system," Molewa said.