Remarks by COP17/CMP7 President, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to the informal stock-taking plenary of COP17/CMP7

Ministers
Delegates
Ladies and gentlemen.

Before we enter the final stage of the COP17/CMP7 Conference and dispense with the UNFCCC formalities, I would like to request your indulgence and allow me a few words.
In my opening address I reminded you of a great son of this country, who this conference center is named after, Chief Albert Luthuli. On this day 60 years ago, Chief Luthuli received the Nobel Prize for Peace. He was a man who achieved the highest award against all odds – a prize for peace in a country where at the time there was none.

Colleagues, let us take a brief moment here and take a step back in history and remind ourselves where we came from with this climate change process. We were able to negotiate the foundation of the system we have today. We concluded the Convention and we were able to craft the Kyoto Protocol. Some of you were personally involved in these mile-stone events. Bearing these accomplishments in mind, I have to urge you not to lose this ability to be courageous pioneers in the climate change process.

Let us therefore agree to accept the Durban outcome package.

I feel that the four pieces of the package before us; (1) the draft amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, (2) decisions emanating from LCA, (3) the GCF and (4) the big picture draft decision, represent a comprehensive, balanced and credible set of outcomes for this Conference. I think we all realise they are not perfect, but we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good and the possible. The texts before you could contribute greatly to the world to deal with climate change.

I am very much aware of the fact that all of us have our specific national interests at heart. At the start of the Conference I appealed to you to look beyond those specific interests and work towards a collective interest for the greater good of humanity. In fact, we have already adopted numerous important decisions, including on loss and damage, CCS and adaptation which is proof that we can work together to save tomorrow, today!
The draft texts before us are the culmination of not only 2 weeks of intensive, open and transparent Party-driven consultations, but in many cases they reflect a year of commitment and work since Cancun and in some cases, they constitute years of negotiations.

The Chairs of the AWGs have done outstanding work, as have the SB Chairs and the many facilitators. I am, as we all should be, grateful to them. I am grateful to also the Ministers who have assisted us with facilitating.

We all have made huge collective investment in these draft decisions – more than 100 pages that deliver on implementation of the Cancun agreements, including major new climate change and funding institutions. They deliver on the main outstanding issue, the 2nd Commitment Period on the Kyoto Protocol and provide us a process towards a legal climate change framework that would be applicable to all so as to ensure that we all do our part in addressing climate change.

These are matters dear to all of us particularly developing countries. These are matters of survival for those who live in coastal areas, particularly the Small Island States. I am of the opinion that these draft decisions meet the requirements of a compromise package for a very strong outcome in Durban.

Colleagues,

I have faith in your political will to adopt these documents as the outcome of Durban. The multilateral system of climate change stands in a balance. We must, here in Durban, let the world know we are still the generation that adopted the Kyoto Protocol. We are the generation that adopted the Bali Roadmap. It was this same generation that breathed renewed life into this UNFCCC process in Cancun. What will we do in Durban?

This multilateral system remains fragile and will not survive another shock. Let it, as it has been in Kyoto, in Bali and in Cancun, be this generation that strengthens the multilateral climate change system. Let us build on what we have thus far achieved throughout the history of this process. There will be opportunities in the future to raise the ambition, there will be opportunity to insert our specific interest, but only if the system is strengthened.

Adopt these documents as the Durban Outcome. Your years, months, weeks, days and nights have been spent leading to this day. You have stayed here one extra day. Adopt these documents and make all of that effort count for something. The world is looking to you, the world awaits.

Thank you.
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