Incoming president of climate change conference says outcome rests on both presidency, states parties

10:52, June 17, 2011      

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The president of the next major international conference on climate change said here Thursday that achieving success in the talks is dependent on the actions of both her office and the states parties attending.

"We accept that the onus to deliver an acceptable climate change outcome in Durban rests on the host country, South Africa as the incoming COP17/CMP 7 president, but the role of state parties cannot be overemphasized -- this is their meeting," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African minister of international relations and cooperation, who is also serving as president of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 7).

COP 17/CMP 7, which will be held in Durban, South Africa from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, will provide an opportunity for countries from around the world to gather and agree to commit to adapt to climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

"As the next president of the COP 17/CMP 7 we are reaching out to all parties and stakeholders in the climate change negotiations, " said Mashabane. "Our task remains to ensure that country parties to the UNFCCC deliver an acceptable, fair, transparent, and equitable deal in the upcoming climate change negotiations in Durban."

The conference in Durban follows COP 16, held in Cancun in 2010, which failed to produce a binding international agreement to cut carbon emissions.

Mashabane said that during her delegation's trip to the UN headquarters in New York, she met with several groups with strong interests in COP 17/ CMP 7.

"We had an opportunity to interact with the Group of 77 (G77) and China and the UN climate change team including a group of climate friends to share and exchange notes with them on how they view the negotiations thus far," she said. "We encouraged them that progress is being made at the Bonn negotiations in a number of bodies of the UNFCCC."

A round of negotiations is currently underway in Bonn, Germany to prepare for the Durban meeting.

Mashabane called for "enhanced cooperation" between the South African presidency and the UNFCCC Secretariat in order to guarantee that the climate change negotiation processes are characterized by "principles of inclusivity, wide participation and transparency."

There will likely be an event at the UN in September, she noted, to build momentum towards the Durban Conference.

"We also thought we needed to share with you information regarding the fact that there is an undertaking by President Zuma and President Calderon of Mexico to co-host a leaders'dialogue to be held here on the 20th of September on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, which we believe will set the tone as we move towards Durban," she said.

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