Pre-COP Ministerial Meeting, Spier Conference Centre, Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, South Africa, 20 - 21 October 2011

In line with the mandate given to the incoming COP17/CMP7 President, South Africa hosted the traditional Pre-COP informal Ministerial consultations on 20 and 21 October 2011 at Spier in Stellenbosch to discuss issues in the climate change negotiations that require political guidance. In addition to representatives of 42 States Parties, including 24 Cabinet Ministers, the Chairs of the AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC attended this meeting.

The Pre-Cop is an informal meeting of Ministers that provided an opportunity to guide the negotiations towards finding consensus at the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP17/CMP7) in Durban at the end of the year. At the Pre-Cop, Ministers were requested to think creatively about some of the most prominent issues that need to be resolved in Durban. The incoming COP17/CMP7 President called on all Ministers to provide leadership and political will to move the negotiations in a direction that would enable Durban to reach important decisions on the way forward.  The retreat style setting was conducive for positive and constructive discussions and Parties engaged candidly on the difficult political and other issues.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, incoming President of COP17/CMP7, opened the Pre-COP by sharing her reflections on the elements that in her view form part of broader decisions that would ensure success in Durban. Sessions were held on key issues in the negotiations, including adaptation, the balances that need to be struck between and within the different tracks, mitigation, and for moving the process forward. On adaptation, the discussion focused on how to move from the current fragmented approach to a coherent and comprehensive response that would afford equal priority to adaption and mitigation. On mitigation, many Parties shared the view that agreement on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol is central to finding a way forward, including agreement to conclude a future multilateral rules-based system. Parties are clearly cognisant of the gap between existing pledges and the need for deeper emission reductions to keep the global average temperature rise below 2°C. How these pledges are clarified still remains to be resolved. Additional work on nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries and development of the Registry to facilitate support for their actions needs to be done. Parties further recognised that the elements of accounting and transparency are vitally important for progress.

On the final day of the Pre-COP, the discussion focused on ways and means that would enable an enhanced and an effective climate change system to evolve in the future that would include a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and that will be applicable to all Parties. Parties were requested to elaborate on the scope and role of the review process and how it can be utilised to assist in strengthening a future multilateral rules-based system.

Long Term Finance received a high priority in the discussions as many Parties held the view that finance in general is a key element that could unlock other difficult issues as well.

Parties were called upon to find common ways to deal with the need for an increased level of ambition, a shared vision on how the process can evolve, the timing that would facilitate agreement, as well as the legal nature of the future regime and how Durban can be utilised to provide impetus to the negotiations. The discussion also considered what process could be followed in Durban to reach consensus. South Africa, as incoming COP17/CMP7 President, remains committed to a party-driven process which is effective, transparent and inclusive and enjoys the support of all Parties.

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