Cop 17 will impact on rural people — Mkhize

2011-11-23 00:00

KZN premier Zweli Mkhize yesterday told delegates at a pre-Cop17 conference in Durban that the city should not be the place where the Kyoto Protocol dies and is buried".

“A deal to save the planet should be worked out at the United Nations climate change conference, the 17th Conference of Parties (Cop17), which starts in Durban on Monday, he said.

“We wish Durban to be a world landmark for decisive action and a global giant leap from Cancun into a positive future for mankind.”

“The trends show that the rural population of KwaZulu-Natal will feel the impacts of climate change to a much greater extent than the urban population, who are arguably less dependent on their direct environment and agriculture for a livelihood or for survival,” said Mkhize.

“It is for these reasons that the provincial initiative on climate change are not only aimed at achieving stabilisation of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but are also aimed at improving the resilience of the natural environment, through rehabilitation, conservation and management.”

The pre-Cop17 conference was attended by Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs minister Edna Molewa; her deputy minister Rejoice Mabudafasi and MEC for Environmental Affairs in KZN, Dr Meshack Radebe.

Minister Molewa said South Africa did not underestimate its task during the conference. “For Africa the success of climate change talks is central since it is projected that by 2080, about 70 million people and up to 30% of Africa’s coastal infrastructure could face the risk of coastal flooding because of sea level rise,” she said.

Cop17 begins at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre on Monday and ends on December 9. More than 15 000 delegates will attend the various meetings.

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