Statement by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa, on COP17/CMP7 on the occasion of the Commemorative Event for the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM)

Belgrade, Serbia, 06 September 2011

Honourable Chairperson
Former Chairs of the Movement
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia,
Honourable Ministers,
Ladies and gentlemen

In approximately three months, from the 28th of November to the 9th of December, this year, South Africa will warmly welcome in Durban the rest of the world for the 17th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (known as COP17) and the 7th meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP7). It is our wish that this Conference will become a platform for the world to take a significant step towards a future Climate Change regime.
In our preparations for Durban, we have been working closely with Mexico in its capacity as current COP President.

As an incoming COP President, we are undertaking informal consultations at ministerial, negotiators and stakeholders’ levels to facilitate a credible outcome that is equitable, fair, and inclusive. The party-driven principles, and transparency, underpin our approach. 

From these consultations, we hear the parties tell us the following in particular:

  1. That, firstly, we must maintain the integrity of the multilateral process under the UNFCCC by ensuring that the unresolved issues agreed to in Bali in 2007 regarding a post-2012 global Climate Change regime are brought back onto the main Climate Change agenda. We also need to ensure that the decisions made at COP16 in Cancun last year are operationalised. These include, among others, the need to establish the institutions that we agreed to in Cancun such as the Adaptation Committee, Technology Executive Committee, Standing Committee on Finance, as these help build confidence in the multilateral process.

  2. Secondly, as the protection of the environment for future generations is our priority, a solution on the balance between the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol and a comparable emission reduction regime for non-Kyoto Parties, is central to the outcome of the Durban Conference.

  3. Thirdly, adaptation should be at the centre of the deal by ensuring a process for concrete implementation of adaptation activities. The Adaptation Framework must undertake the matching of actions with finance and technology, whilst recognising that adaptation needs for developing countries depends on emission reduction ambition of all Parties.

  4. And fourthly, the completion of the design of Climate Financing and operationalisation of the Green Climate Fund should be prioritized.


We have every intention to utilize, in an inclusive and transparent way, all opportunities to advance the COP17/CMP7 process to ensure that Durban is a success.

We are humbled by the support we continue to receive from parties and international organizations as we move towards Durban. This to us is a demonstration of our collective commitment to save this planet that has been loaned to us by our forebearers for safe-keeping for future generations.  We can give meaning to the logo we have chosen for the Conference by showing the resilience and strength of the baobab tree in our collective resolve to work for a positive outcome in Durban.  It is this resilience and strength that has made it possible for us to be meeting here today to celebrate 50 years of this great Movement.

The slogan for the Durban Conference is: Working Together! Saving Tomorrow Today!   This is the message that our forbearers could have said when they met here in Belgrade 50 years ago.   Then they had in their mind the threat posed by the Cold War to the survival of humanity.  Today climate change is as threatening to our future and that of our planet.  We must act now if we are to save tomorrow.  But no single country, no matter its size or power, can take on this challenge on its own.  We can only succeed when we work together as the international community, reading from the same page, and acting in concert for a common goal.

Therefore, we have no doubt that the Non-Aligned Movement, as a body and through all of us who are its members, will walk with us the road to Durban and beyond.  We as members, and indeed this Movement, stand to gain from the success of Durban.

I thank you!

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