Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’ speech during her interaction with the G-77 and China on Climate Change – 16 June 2011 (New York)

Chairperson,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen

At the outset I must thank Argentina as the Chair of the Group of 77 and China for giving us this opportunity to interact with this important Group as the next President of the COP17/CMP7 and reach out to all parties and stakeholders in the climate change negotiations.

In the few days that I have been in New York, I have been able to meet other formations in the spirit of promoting interaction and collaboration with all the stakeholders in the climate change discourse. We have requested this session fully cognizant of the ongoing negotiations in Bonn and the implications that they may have for the next COP17/CMP7 and South Africa as the incoming President.

We have been in contact with our delegation in Bonn and we are encouraged to learn that progress is being made in a number of bodies of the UNFCCC. We hope this will give country parties the courage to continue negotiating in a positive spirit.

As the next COP President we will continue building on previous engagements with international stakeholders to the UNFCCC process about the envisioned outcomes of Durban. In my interactions with the UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms Asha-Rose Magiro and her Climate Change team yesterday, both sides emphasized the need for enhanced cooperation between the UNFCCC Secretariat and the COP17/CMP7 Presidency to ensure that we deliver positive outcomes in Durban.

It is our firm view that inclusivity, wide participation and transparency are important priorities for South Africa as COP17/CMP7 President. South Africa will also make a particular effort to engage with countries that hold minority positions and other major groups in pursuit of remedies in climate change.

Chairperson,

As the incoming UNFCCC COP17/CMP7 President, we have a mammoth task of ensuring that country parties to the UNFCCC deliver an acceptable, fair, transparent and equitable deal in the upcoming climate change negotiations in Durban. Anything outside this approach has the potential to put the integrity of the UNFCCC process at stake, with negative implications for the wider multilateral system.

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 discovered that the deadlock on the agendas at the beginning of the sessions resulted in the 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.

Chairperson,

At this point, I must say that the key issues and priorities for Durban that have emerged in the various negotiations thus far, relate, amongst others, 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.

To build trust and transparency, South Africa has been holding open-ended informal consultations in Bonn with all Parties and stakeholders to get views on their expectations on the outcome as we prepare for Durban. The response to this initiative has been very positive.

We are pleased with the progress being made in Bonn under difficult circumstances and, as an attempt to bridge the gap in negotiations, South Africa has made a call to all parties to play a more constructive role in the current climate change negotiations. 

As the onus of delivering an acceptable climate change outcome in Durban rests on South Africa as the incoming COP17/CMP7 President, it is crucial that we utilize the next four months to promote the sharing of views and ideas, in an effort to overcome and narrow the divide between developed and developing countries on the expected outcomes of Durban.

We will be organising a number of events as we march towards Durban, with the first one being the Leaders Dialogue to be held in September here in New York to be co-chaired by President Jacob Zuma and President Calderon of Mexico. We envisage this to be another forum to identify and deal with any challenges or blockages in respect of COP17/CMP7 negotiations. We count on the experience and wisdom of the Heads of State and Government that will be participating in this Dialogue.

I must add that there is an initiative planned by the Mary Robinson Foundation on Women and Climate sometime in October 2011.This is all aimed at ensuring that women, being disproportionally affected by the climate change because of their circumstances have a voice in the buildup and during COP17/CMP7.

We believe that through our interactions with the various groups, we will be benefiting from their views and proposals on how best to make COP17/CMP7 a success, based on the Bali Action Plan and Cancun outcomes.

I look forward to an interactive session that will ensure that the interests of the various parties, developed and developing countries are taken on-board on our journey to Durban.

I thank you.

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