Climate summit no walk in the park: Zuma

2011-10-31 14:35

The United Nations climate change negotiations set to take place in Durban at the end of November are going to be difficult, President Jacob Zuma warned today.

“We go to Durban with no illusion at all that it will be a walk in the park,” he told delegates at a meeting of the Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society in Johannesburg.

On what South Africa, which is hosting the giant event, expected from the summit, he said outcomes should be “balanced, fair, and credible”, and should “preserve and strengthen the multilateral rules-based response to climate change”.

They should be informed by the principles that had formed the basis of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.

“These principles include multilateralism, environmental integrity, fairness ... and the honouring of all international commitments and undertakings made in the climate change process.”

The Cancun Agreements had also to be “operationalised”, including the establishment of key mechanisms and institutional arrangements agreed to at the last summit in Cancun.

“The Green Climate Fund represents a centre piece for a broader set of outcomes for Durban. Developing countries demand a prompt start for the fund through its early and initial capitalisation.”

For Durban to be successful, more had to be done than just making the Cancun Agreements operational.

“We have no option but to deal with the outstanding political issues remaining from the Bali Roadmap,” Zuma said.

“This means finding a resolution to the issue of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing on the legal nature of a future climate change system.”

Zuma said adaptation was an essential element of the outcome in Durban, as it was a key priority for many developing countries, particularly small island developing states and least developed countries and Africa.

“The current fragmented approach to adaptation must be addressed in a more coherent manner and give equal priority to adaptation and mitigation.”

He said a lot of work remained to be done in preparation for the summit in Durban.

“A lot of work still needs to be done ... and parties must be continuously encouraged to rise to the challenge and use the limited time they will have in Durban economically,” Zuma said.

“We have no doubt that it will not be an easy summit and it will require a special effort in negotiations to reach consensus on all the outstanding issues.”

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