Press statement following conclusion of Pre-Cop Ministerial Meeting, Spier conference centre, Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, South Africa, 21 October 2011
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
We just concluded the traditional Pre-COP Ministerial consultations, hosted here at Spier, Stellenbosch, on 20 and 21 October 2011. The meeting was attended by representatives from 42 countries.
Participants also included the Chair of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation, as well as the Chairs of the two Ad Hoc Working Groups.
The Chairs made presentations on the status of the work under their responsibility and their assessment of what can be achieved in Durban.
I also shared with Ministers the impressions I have formed after the various consultations I had with Parties on their expectations for Durban, namely:
1. All Parties appear to be in agreement that the outcome in Durban should be balanced, fair and credible, that it should preserve and strengthen the multilateral rules-based response to climate change. The approach to reach a balanced, fair and credible outcome in Durban must be informed by the principles that form the basis of the UNFCCC climate change negotiations. These principles include multilateralism, environmental integrity, fairness based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities, equity and honouring of all international commitments and undertakings made in the climate change process. These were again confirmed during the two day Pre-COP meeting.
2. There is consensus on the position that the Cancun Outcomes must be operationalised, including the establishment of the key mechanisms and institutional arrangements. Here the Green Climate Fund represents a center piece of a broader set of outcomes for Durban. Developing countries demand a prompt start for the Fund through its early and initial capitalization.
3. Adaptation is an essential element of the outcome in Durban as it is a key priority for many Developing Countries, particularly Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Africa. I have not heard anyone disputing this during the last two days. Another issue is the current fragmented approach to adaptation that must be addressed in a more coherent manner. The Ministers stressed the fact that equal priority must be given to adaptation and mitigation.
4. For Durban to be successful, we have to do more than making the Cancun Outcomes operational. We have no option but to deal with the outstanding political issues remaining from the Bali Roadmap. This means finding a resolution to the issue of the 2nd Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing on the legal nature of a future climate change system.
5. Any outcome in Durban has to be adequate enough to adhere to the principle of environmental integrity. In this context, the low level current ambition of mitigation pledges is a serious concern as this will not take us to the 2 degree Celsius target that science dictates, or even 1.5 degrees Celsius some Parties demand.
We also discussed the very contentious issue of finance. There was general agreement that sustained scaled up financing remains one of the core elements of a balanced, fair and credible outcome in Durban. There is also a need to find a way forward on the 2nd Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing on concluding a future multilateral rules-based system.
We also discussed a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, particularly achievement of a global goal and peaking of greenhouse gas emissions and how to maintain equity and environmental integrity. We looked at the legal options available to us and whether Durban could serve as the platform from which to launch a process to develop a future legal framework.
It is clear that Durban is the end of the line for some of these pressing climate change issues and we cannot delay it any longer. Therefore, I can say without any hesitation that Durban will not be an easy COP, but the discussions over the past two days have given me hope that there is political will to ensure the success of Durban.
I thank you.
Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa and incoming President of COP17/CMP7