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he successful deliverance ofCOP17/CMP7 in Durban, from 28 November to 9 December 2011, is one of the key issues that is at the centre of our Government's deliverables for theperiod 2011/2012. This is, in part, influenced by our hosting ofCOP17/CMP7 in the magnificent City of Durban, butalso by the centrality that climate change hasacquired as an urgent and immediate threat to our wayof life as we know it. We have all witnessed the acutechanges in weather patterns all over theglobe. Internationally, we have witnessed devastatingfloods in Pakistan, and the devastating power of theTsunami in Japan. Here in Africa we have all seen thehelplessness of humanity when confronted by nature'sdestructive power as evidenced in Somalia, where ourGovernment in partnership with the Gift of the Giverscontinues to play an instrumental role in alleviatingthe challenges facing that country. We have also seen the changing weather patternsaffecting Nigeria and Benin, where floods havewrecked havoc within those countries. Here at home,we have experienced some of the coldest winters onrecord throughout the country, including changingrainfall patterns in the Eastern Cape. These climaticchallenges certainly have an impact on both our way oflife as well as on our ability to feed our societies.As theIncoming COP President, my role is to lead the world inforging a common consensus in terms of reversingthese adverse effects of climate change. By hostingCOP17/CMP7, South Africa hopes to uphold rules-based multilateralism as one of our fundamentalinterests which we aspire to globally. Accordingly,South Africa will endeavour to uphold the consensusnature of decision-making that has characterised theUNFCCC and its Conference/s of the Parties, since1995. In this regard, South Africa, in cooperation withthe Parties to the UNFCCC, will seek to facilitate anoutcome which is fair, transparent, inclusive andupholds the Convention principle of common butdifferentiated responsibilities and capabilities. Thenegotiations in Durban will be a Party-driven processwith South Africa playing an enabling role for Parties tofind agreement on the salient issues of climatechange. South Africa will not seek to impose a solution of itsown, as the UNFCCC is governed by its own processesand Rules of Procedure, which we think is important toobserve since this strengthens multilateralism and thelegitimacy of the whole process.In this juncture, it isimportant to note that one of our critical immediateresponsibilities is to ensure that the trust which wasrestored in Cancun does not suffer a seconddisconnect amongst Parties as evidenced in theCopenhagen negotiations. As the Parties prepare tomeet in Durban, there is an urgent need for all Partiesto approach the Durban negotiations with an elementof maturity as the outcomes of the Cancunnegotiations, although laudable, unfortunately did notaddress all the issues.In order to generate the requisite momentum towardsan acceptable outcome in Durban, in my capacity asthe incoming COP President, I have since thebeginning of this year begun high-level consultationswith stakeholders both locally and internationally,including at recent meetings of the AWG/s in PanamaCity, Panama. We continue to welcome to our shoresvarious climate change envoys from all over the worldwho visit our country in order to share their views andpossible outcomes of COP17/CMP7. I must, however,state that I was heartened by the attitude of the"WORKING TOGETHER: SAVING TOMORROW TODAY"018SOUTH AFRICA SHOWCASEMAITE NKOANA-MASHABANE, MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICAINCOMING PRESIDENT, COP17 AND CMP7TPhoto: UN Photo/Mark Garten

SOUTH AFRICA SHOWCASE019Parties and various climate change groupings inPanama. They have indicated in unequivocal termstheir overarching interest of making Durban a success.As we approach COP17/CMP7, I am confident that wewill be able to deliver a fair, credible, and balancedoutcome, which is in the overall interest of all Parties.As we move beyond the 50 Day Countdown toCOP17/CMP7, local government structures, inparticular the City of Durban, has proven to be aworthy partner in our hosting of COP17/CMP7. Thehost City of Durban has worked hand in hand with ourlogistical team and has been instrumental in terms ofpioneering some of the projects that seek to minimisethe carbon footprint of the COP, the greening projectswithin the City, and the creation and mobilisation ofcommunities on issues of climate change. However, itis my strong view that the reduction of the carbonfootprint, the implementation of greening projects,and the creation and mobilisation of communities onissues of climate change should not be limited toDurban, but should concern all of us. There is a compelling need for all of us to harness theknowledge garnered in our hosting of COP17/CMP7and share it with our various communities. Mostimportantly, we need to impress to all our communitiesthe threat climate change poses to our world andarticulate the need to adapt and mitigate the ill-effectsof climate change in our country.The success of Durban will be measured in terms ofthe following:One:There is consensus on the position that theCancun Agreements must be operationalised,including the establishment of the key mechanismsand institutional arrangements agreed to in Cancun.Here the Green Climate Fund represents a centrepieceof a broader set of outcomes for Durban. Developingcountries demand a prompt start for the Fund throughits early and initial capitalisation. Two:For Durban to be successful we have to do morethan making the Cancun Agreements operational. Wehave no option but to deal with the outstanding politicalissues remaining from the Bali Roadmap. This meansfinding a resolution to the issue of the 2nd commitmentperiod under the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing on thelegal nature of a future climate change system. Three:Adaptation is an essential element of theoutcome in Durban as it is a key priority for manydeveloping countries, particularly small islanddeveloping states, least developed countries andAfrica. The current fragmented approach to adaptationmust be addressed in a more coherent manner andgive equal priority to adaptation and mitigation. Toconclude, early June this year, (in Bonn, Germany), theChair of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change,and the Mexico City's Mayor Marcelo Ebrard positedthat the climate change architecture that is availablenow is not working - but why? This is so because it isnot designed to help the cities; it is designed to workwith the national governments. He contended thatcommunities should be involved in the decisionmaking and delivery of local adaptation action as well. I agree with him, and this is precisely why I believe thatMayors represented here should form the bulwark ofour country's efforts against climate change. It is myfirm belief that the legacy of our hosting ofCOP17/CMP7, should be judged by the extent towhich we as a country have sensitised our citizensabout the very urgent challenges of climate changeand what we as a country are doing to confront thischallenge.nThis article is extracted from Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane's speech on the occasion of the "South AfricanMayors' Conference on Climate Change in Preparation forCOP17/CMP7" in Kempton Park, South Africa, on 8 October2011. Source: The Department of International Relations.For more information please visit: www.dfa.gov.za.Below: Minister MaiteNkoana-Mashabane