ISSN 2330-717X

Durban: Time Weighs On Climate Change Negotiators


With less than four months before the world descends on Durban for this year’s climate change conference, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says limited time was one of the major challenges facing the negotiation team in the lead up to COP 17.

She told the Petersburg Climate Dialogue in Germany that negotiators also had limited time to develop global consensus on the issues that have so-far proved to be “politically very difficult to reach.”

The climate conference, a follow up to both the Copenhagen and Cancun talks, will be held in Durban from 29 November to 9 December, with Heads of State and government from more than 100 countries expected to attend.

“We have limited time to develop a common understanding of the nature and extent of the challenges in principle decisions/agreements reached thus-far … 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,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She added that it was “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 forums was that the Durban outcome must be comprehensive, ambitious and balanced.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the question which the negotiators might want to focus on is how they dealt with the issue of the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol.

According to the minister, 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 and measurable, reportable, and verifiable support by developed countries to developing countries,” she said.

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