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Climate talks deliver breakthrough: UNFCCC

By Yu Dabo (Xinhua)

08:13, December 12, 2011

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (R), COP17 president and minister of international relations and cooperation of South Africa, addresses the closing session of the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, Dec. 11, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Qihua)

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Countries meeting in Durban, South Africa, have delivered a breakthrough on the future of the international community's response to climate change, while recognizing the urgent need to raise their collective level of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, the UN said on Sunday.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) issued a statement to hail the talks which ended early Sunday.

"We have taken crucial steps forward for the common good and the global citizenry today. I believe that what we have achieved in Durban will play a central role in saving tomorrow, today," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African minister of international relations and cooperation and president of the Durban UN Climate Change Conference (COP17/CMP7).

"I salute the countries who made this agreement. They have all laid aside some cherished objectives of their own to meet a common purpose -- a long-term solution to climate change. I sincerely thank the South African Presidency who steered through a long and intense conference to a historic agreement that has met all major issues," said Christiana Figueres,executive secretary of the UNFCCC.

In Durban, governments decided to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015. Work will begin on this immediately under a new group called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

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