Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’ speech at an interactive session with the group of climate friends: 16 June 2011 (New York)

Our host the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen

As the incoming President of the UNFCCC COP17/CMP7, South Africa has a onerous task of assisting state parties to deliver an acceptable, fair, transparent and equitable deal in the upcoming Climate Change negotiations in Durban.

We are here in New York to, amongst others; continue our engagement with key constituencies whose role will be important in Durban.  In an effort to gauge the expectations and interests of the parties before the hosting of COP17/CMP7, we have been to a number of informal consultations, for example the Mexico Dialogue, BASIC and the Major Economies Forum.  We are humbled by the openness and willingness of state parties to support us in order for Durban to be a success.

In my interaction with the UN Deputy Secretary General, H.E. Ms. Asha-Rose Magiro and her Climate Change team yesterday, it was emphasized that we need to enhance cooperation between the UNFCCC Secretariat and the COP17/CMP7 Presidency to ensure that we deliver positive outcomes in Durban. It remains our firm view that inclusivity, wide participation and transparency are important priorities for South Africa.

A few weeks ago, we received the Secretariat of the UNFCCC in Cape Town as part of our ongoing consultation with them, especially over role clarification both on substance and logistical matters.  We believe that a good working relationship between the COP17/CMP7 Presidency and the UNFCCC Secretariat is essential to the general success of Durban.

Chairperson,

At present, the Subsidiary Bodies under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the Ad Hoc Working Groups on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-LCA) respectively are meeting in Bonn. I wish to use the opportunity of this meeting to share with you some of our reflections on this latest interaction.

Our view is that, although, progress has been slow, the meetings are generally going well with movement on all levels, whilst at the same time a text is being drafted. We have since noted that the deadlock on the agendas at the beginning of the sessions resulted in loss of precious time.

Notwithstanding the loss of time, we are of the view that it was also necessary that Parties had the space to fully understand what needs to be discussed, as well as allocate issues to the correct bodies (i.e. Subsidiary Bodies and/or AWGs) for discussions to advance in a constructive manner.

At this point, I must say that the key issues and priorities for Durban that have emerged in the various negotiations thus far, relate to At present, the Subsidiary Bodies under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the Ad Hoc Working Groups on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-LCA) respectively are meeting in Bonn. I wish to use the opportunity of this meeting to share with you some of our reflections on this latest interaction.

Our view is that, although, progress has been slow, the meetings are generally going well with movement on all levels, whilst at the same time a text is being drafted. We have since noted that the deadlock on the agendas at the beginning of the sessions resulted in loss of precious time.

Notwithstanding the loss of time, we are of the view that it was also necessary that Parties had the space to fully understand what needs to be discussed, as well as allocate issues to the correct bodies (i.e. Subsidiary Bodies and/or AWGs) for discussions to advance in a constructive manner.

At this point, I must say that the key issues and priorities for Durban that have emerged in the various negotiations thus far, relate to achieving a balance between the Bali Roadmap and operationalizing the Cancun Agreements, as well as striking a balance between and within both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol negotiating tracks. Achieving a balance between the Bali Roadmap and operationalizing the Cancun Agreements, as well as striking a balance between and within both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol negotiating tracks.

In our effort to build trust and transparency, South Africa has since held open-ended informal consultations in Bonn with all Parties and stakeholders – in an effort to solicit their views on their expectations on the Outcome of the Durban Climate Change conference. We are pleased to report that responses to this initiative have relatively been very positive.

We remain confident that a credible outcome in Durban is still within reach, but in order to make up for lost time an inter-sessional session is required and the necessary funding needs to be sourced. In this regard, we are pleased to note that a proposed meeting in the last week of September 2011 appears to be generally supported by a number of countries.

We are informed that Panama has offered to host this September inter-sessional session, although efforts to secure funding are still underway. As we speak, donors have so-far pledged US$1.2 million of the required US$5 to US$6 million.

Chairperson,

As countries prepare to meet in September during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), South Africa intends to use the margins of this august gathering to engage various governments at different levels – in an effort to solicit their support for a credible outcome in Durban - especially on how the 2nd Commitment Period will be handled.

In this regard, a Leaders Dialogue, arranged under an initiative by Mexico and co-hosted by ourselves, is tentatively scheduled for the 20th September 2011, during which time a limited number of Heads of State and Government will be invited.  At a Ministerial level, South Africa (as the incoming COP17/CMP7 President)        will be hosting a Ministerial Session to share views and compare notes on the Durban outcome.

We are also part of an initiative planned by the Mary Robinson Foundation on Women and Climate which will involve women across the world.

Chairperson,

It would be very important that leaders use the opportunities provided by these meetings to galvanize the necessary political will to ensure that the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol and the legal form are addressed. Without this critical impetus to the negotiations and a sense of urgency, the envisaged credible outcome in Durban could elude us, as negotiators will be talking past each other.

South Africa, as the host and President of COP17/CMP7, will do its utmost; but it is state parties that will make the success of Durban possible.

We are, therefore, pleased to be here this morning to exchange views and to benefit from your various contributions.

I thank you.

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