Welcoming Address by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane during the Petersberg Climate Dialogue II, 3rd July 2011, Berlin, Germany: 09H45, “Setting the Scene”

Minister Röttgen
Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemen

Permit me to thank the German Government for their support to jointly host with us the Petersberg Climate Dialogue II – “Rising to the Climate Challenge”, here in Berlin. I believe the Petersberg Climate Dialogue could become a permanent fixture within the climate change calendar of events where ministers in an informal setting can meet and hold open and frank exchanges on possible ways forward within the UN climate change negotiations. This Dialogue in particular gives us an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts on the process leading up to the COP17/CMP7 in Durban at the end of the year.

Minister Röttgen has already outlined the major issues that we need to focus our attention on during the next two days.  For the incoming COP17/CMP7 President one of the major challenges facing the negotiation in the lead up to Durban is the fact that we have limited negotiating time. On the one hand, we have limited time to develop global consensus on the issues that have so-far proved to be politically very difficult to reach. These require policy choices, solutions and guidance at the political level.

On the other hand, we have limited time to develop a common understanding of the nature and extent of the in principle decisions/agreements reached thus-far, as well as to negotiate decision texts to operationalise these agreements. The decisions adopted in Cancun will shape major parts of the architecture of the future post 2012 climate change regime and need to be operationalise without delay.  It is however undeniable that the commitments made under the Bali Road Map, must also be honoured as part of the future climate regime.  Progress on the one without progress on the other is not possible.  Therefore it is incumbent on us to bring to bear on the negotiations our collective political will as Ministers to ensure traction on both the operationalisation of the Cancun decisions and the resolution of outstanding matters of the Bali Action Plan and the Bali Roadmap.

The message coming out of the negotiations thus far and other fora is that the Durban outcome must be comprehensive, ambitious and balanced.  The question which we might want to focus on therefore is how we deal with the issue of the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome needs to ensure progress and to get a sense of the legal form under both Kyoto Protocol and the Convention. The outcome under the Convention on mitigation is directly linked to the Kyoto mitigation outcome. Mitigation in itself, comprises a balance between various currently contentious and divergent interpretations of the Cancun decision, namely how do we interpret the international consultation and analysis of developing countries mitigation actions, international assessment and review of developed countries mitigation commitments, and measurable, reportable, and verifiable support by developed countries to developing countries.

Although a solution for the mitigation question is critical, we need to balance mitigation with the issue of adaptation, as adapting to the impacts of climate change and financing this work is a key priority for many developing countries, particularly SIDS, LDC’s and Africa. Linked to this is progress on the issue of loss and damage, as well as the forum on response measures. The implementation and operationalisation on the decisions on adaptation taken in Cancun must receive highest priority. In this regard, the importance of the extension of the Nairobi Work Programme on adaptation cannot be over emphasised. For Africa and most other developing countries the urgent need to advance and deepen the response to adaptation is a matter of life and death.

We need to make substantive progress on the means of implementation, especially on the set of finance related issues namely; the design of the Green Climate Fund; the functions of the Standing Committee, as well as sources of funding and the scale of finance needed.

To achieve this, progress must be made on the key mechanisms and institutional arrangements agreed to in Cancun; the Adaptation Committee, the Technology Executive Committee, the Technology Centre and Network, the mitigation registry, the Finance Standing Committee of the Green Climate Fund. 

Another pressing question is how to increase our collective level of ambition setting a long term global goal and peaking year. How do we use the 2013/15 review innovatively through the decisions of the Durban COP17/CMP7?

I wish to use this opportunity to thank the Ministers that will act as facilitators during the next two days. I am certain they will steer the discussions wisely.

I thank you.

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