Intervention by Minister Nkoana- Mashabane 12th Meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Clean Energy and Climate, 17 and 18 November 2011

Mr Mike Froman,
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me as the Incoming President of 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, to participate in this 12th meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Clean Energy and Climate (MEF). I have experienced the MEF as a forum where us as leaders can have candid, frank and constructive discussions on politically sensitive issues that require our collective leadership in a manner that move us closer to finding solutions.  This was again my experience during this meeting of the MEF. 

Here at the end of this Meeting, all of us can be under no illusion that the Ministers responsible for climate change, will have to find the delicate balances needed for  the Durban Conference to be successful by showing the world what leadership in action looks like.  Leadership in action is manifested  when leaders are willing to reach beyond national interests in finding a global solution for the common good of all. Let us as leaders show that we know that we are accountable to the global citizenry – ordinary people who suffer daily from the impacts of climate change.  The global citizenry have high expectations from us to find effective solutions to the threat that climate change presents for their livelihood, quality of life, dignity, and in many cases, their very survival.

Since the start of the various rounds of informal consultations, I have been reminded by Parties that the UNFCCC process is a Party-driven, transparent and inclusive process,  while at the same time Parties also expressed their commitment to support me and call on me in Durban as President of the Conference to take the initiative to  find common solutions. We are ready to do just that, but we must know that you are ready to follow! 

Which brings me to the major impression that I have gathered over the past year, which was confirmed by this meeting and that is that the Durban Conference need to be the place where the international climate change family faces it own demons and heal the wounds of mistrust, broken promises, misunderstandings, playing the blaming game, hostage taking of issues, good will turning into bad and unreasonableness!  Let Durban be the place that those that walk away come back, those that want to run away find a reason to stay and those that have been toiling away find hope that we as global family will be all hands on deck to deal with one of the most pressing global problems of our time that threatens the very survival of those who have placed us in positions of leadership and who trust and depend on us to help them.  Durban must be the place where Parties reach out to each other and give each other the necessary reassurances that will allow Durban to be the place from where we will work together on the basis of a secure platform of trust.   
At this point I wish to share with you my assessment of what we need to do to create the environment from where Parties would be able to work together. In Durban we need to show the world that we are ready to tackle and solve our very real problems in a practical manner. I suggest that we approach Durban in a problem solving mode.   It is clear that the number one tool at our disposal in our toolbox for resolving the many issues on the table in Durban, but which is also the most difficult to master, is the building of trust. Parties are seeking a number of reassurances from each other. We must find a way to provide these reassurances to each other.

By now all of us understand that Durban is a decisive moment for the future of the multilateral rules-based regime which has evolved over many years under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is about to come to an end.  In the negotiations the fate of a 2nd Commitment period is made dependent on the decision on the legal nature of the outcome of the negotiations under the Convention as it is a question that has been left unanswered from Bali. It is also clear that if this question is not resolved, the outcome on other matters in the negotiations will become extremely difficult.  One is hesitant to call this question a deal breaker, but as the dominos in the negotiations have been stacked in a manner that appears to be the single most important question that needs to be resolved. A solution must be found!  So I will focus mainly on this issue today.

Now, to find a solution to this problem,  Parties need reassurances that if some  would commit to a second commitment period under the KP in a legally binding manner, others will be ready to commit to a legally binding regime in the near future.  Underlying this request for reassurance is the insistence that all Parties will implement the obligations and commitments undertaken and that all will share the load to address the problem;  Parties further seek to be reassured through transparency measures and rules for accounting, analysis, review, consultations,  assessment and comparability that each will be bound to honour their emission reduction commitments; reassurances that work on a strengthened and enhanced Convention that will continue within existing principles;  that the multilateral rules-based system must prevail for the world to effectively address the global problem of climate change and reassurances that our response to climate change cannot depend on the domestic measures alone, as there will then be no assurances that all Parties will do what needs to be done.  Reassurance are required that all Parties will work in a manner that will not jeopardise the gains made over the past decades; that adequate and sustainable long term funding will be delivered, that implementation of all agreements will continue without an implementation gap occurring and finally the reassurance that there is a shared vision that all Parties need to do more and do so urgently.
I suggest that we focus our attention in this respect, on what we will do now or immediately and what we will do in the future.  We need to make a decision in Durban that include both the now and future aspects of these reassurances.

On the NOW/ IMMEDIATE side of this coin, we need to agree on the adoption of a Second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the possibility of enhanced mechanisms and decide on eligibility for participation in the enhanced mechanisms.   Such an agreement will entail the adoption of an amendment of Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol with reassurances that Parties will implement the amendment domestically by the end of 2012. We also have to agree on the formalisation and implementation of the mitigation pledges of developed countries and the rules of comparability between the pledges of those Parties of the KP and those Parties outside the KP.  Similarly the mitigation actions of developing countries and the support thereof need to be formalized; the rules on MRV, ICA and IAR must be completed by the latest in 2012 at COP18/CMP8. Agreement on adaptation, the establishment of the Green Climate Fund and finance and technology transfer and capacity building is part of the NOW agreement in Durban.

The other side of the coin that reflects the agreement on FUTURE actions, need to pronounce on the legal nature of the outcome of the future multilateral rules in a manner  that would be equal in nature to those decided on in relation to the 2nd commitment period.  In this future multilateral rules based system, the level of ambition, the fact that all Parties will collectively have to do more - with developed countries taking the lead in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities, including considerations of equity, historical responsibility and the need for sustainable development, will have to be addressed. Such multilateral rules will be a continuation of efforts to strengthen and enhance the Convention to ensure its full, effective and sustained implementation in a comprehensive manner that addresses the climate change imperatives in the long term. The level of ambition should correspond to what science demands. Parties must agree that the future response should address the need for urgent action, safeguard and secure an enhanced multilateral rules-based response to climate change that is equally binding on all.

A process needs to be established and the 2013-2015 review could provide valuable input into such a process, it should also take into account what science prescribes, as well as the outcome of the 5th IPCC report and other work that would have been done under the AWG LCA and the SBs.  Parties have to consider the type of process that will need to be established as well as a definite timeframe to conclude the work, with a view for the multilateral rules based system binding on all Parties to be implemented by no later than 2020.

Thus in Durban we will need to find a formula that reflect the objectives, process and timeframes for this task at hand  that will provide the necessary for re-assurances and full participation of all Parties, developed and developing, in the current and evolving climate change regime.  Finding such a formula is achievable, but will require leadership and pragmatism from all sides. With the necessary political will, there is a window of opportunity to find this delicate formula.  This opportunity should not be missed. If this agreement can be solidified, it would be possible for Durban to create a platform from where the multilateral climate change regime can grow and be strengthened in order for it to make a real impact where it is needed most, namely at the very basic existence of our most vulnerable communities.

Mr Chairperson, Ambassador Diseko in her intervention yesterday alluded to our  expectations for the rest of the issues that we have to conclude on in Durban and I will not repeat that, but underline that all the elements of the Cancun Agreements must be made fully operational.  Let me briefly add a few comments on two crucial element, namely adaptation and finance.  Real action on adaptation is an essential element of the outcome in Durban and a key priority for many developing countries, particularly Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Africa. We need to move from the mode of analysis, study, research, to identifying tangible adaptation actions that can be implemented on the ground.  There can be no dispute that research and analysis are important aspects of adaptation actions, but more practical actions are needed. The Adaptation Committee must be constituted and its functions decided on so that it can begin to work.  The Adaptation Committee should play an important role in bringing into sharp focus in a coherent and holistic manner, what is needed to be done as far as adaptation is concerned and also bring an end to the current fragmented approach to adaptation in the Convention.  The link with the funding, technology transfer, mechanisms and networks and capacity building for real and tangible adaptation actions must be established to give effect to the agreement that equal priority must be given to adaptation and mitigation.

 The Green Climate Fund represents a center piece for a broader set of outcomes for Durban. Developing countries demand a prompt start for the Fund through its early and initial capitalization. The early capitalization of the GCF and the issue of long term funding present a significant political challenge given the current economic situation in many developed countries and there is realization of this difficulty. Another challenge to overcome the lack of confidence from developing countries in the delivery, transparency of the pledged Fast Start Finance (FSF) and I once again urge developed countries are urged to provide the necessary information that will serve as a valuable trust building exercise. 

It will require a very special effort from all Parties to show leadership to creatively provide these reassurances that can lead to consensus on all the outstanding issues.  I am looking forward to welcoming you all in Durban and wish to assure you that  South Africa is ready to assist Parties to reach this goal as we believe that all is possible if we work together to save tomorrow today.

Thank you.
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