UN climate boss cries, thanks churches

2011-11-27 22:09
Durban - UN climate change boss Christiana Figueres on Sunday cried when she thanked religious organisations for their contribution to fighting climate change.

"We have heard your voice and your prayers. Don’t give up, continue with your prayers," she said with tears in her eyes.

An emotional Figueres was addressing scores of people from different religious organisations at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary said she would take the petition from the religious organisations to the of 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) which starts in Durban on Monday.

The petition read: "We call our neighbours to treat the earth with respect, resist disorder, live in peace with each other including embracing a legally binding climate change treaty."

Figueres said she appreciated the contribution made by religious organisations to fighting climate change and urged them not to give up.

"I believe that the conference we are going to have in Durban will be a step forward. Please don’t give up. This is going to be a long process."

Religious leaders said they were deeply touched by Figueres’ speech.

Something good

"Her speech showed that she is deeply touched that we are here. This makes us hope that something good might come out of the conference," said father Busangokwakhe Dlamini of the Traditional Anglican Church.

Ashwin Hemraju of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University said Figueres’ speech created an awakening and awareness on how important the environment is to people.

"Her speech showed that everyone has to do something to address climate change," he said.

Speaking during the gathering at the stadium, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the religious groups deserved a voice during the climate conference.

"That is why we are here today to take your petition. Your voice is important. Your petition will be taken seriously," she said.

Organisers of the event said they were disappointed the stadium was not full, but the conference proper only starts on Monday.

Over 11 800 delegates from 194 countries have been registered by home affairs to attend the conference. 


"We will have over 2 500 designated officers around the event precinct, and many others at the points of entries into the country, that is, airports, harbours and border gates," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said, "We have reviewed our plan and we are ready. Police will be everywhere, ready for any eventuality." 

The hosting of the climate change conference in Durban was South Africa’s humble contribution to the world, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.

Motlanthe was speaking after he completed a 3km walk with scores of people at the Durban beach front on Sunday.

The walk was aimed at showing support in finding solutions for climate change ahead of the start of 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) on Monday.

South Africa could lead the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) to ensure that climate change objectives remain on track, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

"South Africa is admired worldwide for the way we negotiated a peaceful transition to democracy 17 years ago, and we can thus play a leading role in the complex deliberations which will take place in Durban over the next two weeks," said parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko


Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate secretariat, said the stakes for the negotiations are high, underscored by new scientific studies.

Under discussion was "nothing short of the most compelling energy, industrial, behavioural revolution that humanity has ever seen", she said.

Figueres said she hoped for a decision on extending emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto accord, which has been postponed for two years. Previous commitments expire next year.

High on the conference agenda is the management of a fund scaling up over the next eight years to $100bn annually to help poor countries cope with changing climate conditions.

Questions remain how the money will be governed and distributed, but more immediately, how those funds can be generated from new sources beyond established development channels from the West.

Poor countries want the industrial nations to commit to more cuts for a second Kyoto period, saying the protocol is the only legal instrument ever adopted to control carbon and other gases that trap the Earth's heat.

"If it were easy we would have done it years ago," Figueres said.

Read more on:    unfccc  |  maite nkoana-mashabane  |  christiana figueres  |  nathi mthethwa  |  durban  |  cop 17  |  climate change

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.



11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.