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Implications of the Durban Outcome for Enhancing Action on Climate ChangeChristiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Next to increasing investments and budding national policies, international climate policy is becoming clearer and is now an important contributing factor to sustainable development and the clean energy revolution. In that context, allow me to give you a quick overview of the Durban Climate Change Conference and its outcomes.Although media reporting was mixed, I believe that time will show that the Durban Climate Change Conference was the most encompassing and furthest reaching conference in the history of the climate change negotiations. In terms of mitigation, Durban accomplished three crucial outcomes, with increasing levels of ambition:1. It achieved a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, starting January 2013, thereby ensuring the continuity of the legal system and of the Kyoto rules. At the first session in May this year, governments will have to agree on the length of the commitment period - either five or eight years - to enable the process of inscribing quantified emission reductions in the second commitment period. But the Protocol only covers 10-15 per cent of global emissions, and governments know efforts must go way beyond that. So in Durban governments also confirmed their intent to undertake broader and immediate mitigation action outside of the Protocol.2. Under the Convention Durban cemented mitigation plans of all industrialised nations plus 49 developing countries. The sum of those countries accounts for 80 per cent of global emissions, so a higher level of participation than under the Kyoto Protocol, but this " Universal participation in legally grounded mitigation targets is a remarkable departure from the past and is Durban's major gift." participation will be voluntary (although rigorously measured) from now until 2020.3. Governments know there must be more certainty than that which is offered by voluntary action, so in Durban they also decided to embark on a future legal framework that will cover all nations of the world, to be negotiated by 2015, and go into effect by 2020. Universal participation in legally grounded mitigation targets is a remarkable departure from the past and is Durban's major gift.A strategy as ambitious as the above must be effectively supported and responsibly guided. Governments have therefore in Durban further established the infrastructure to support developing countries. Durban saw the successful launch of the Adaptation Committee, the Green Climate Fund, and the Technology Mechanism. Last, but perhaps most importantly, in Durban, there was a clear realisation that the level of mitigation ambition needs to be raised beyond that which is on the table.Current emission reduction pledges account for only 60 per cent of what is needed to stabilise temperature rise to below 2°C, let alone the 1.5°C that is needed to keep vulnerable communities safe. In realisation of this shortcoming, countries agreed to an immediate work programme on increasing mitigation levels, now, up to and beyond 2015.With these results, there is no doubt that Durban delivered beyond expectations. While much of its outcomes are complex and technical, two things stand out:the universal political will to act on climate change is tangible and even more so than the previous 034 post-durban remarks

" even in the absence of policy perfection, the trillionth dollar has just been invested in renewable energy. "conference in Cancun, Durban was a loud message for the world: the future is unmistakably low-carbon!So governments have clearly set the direction, but this is not enough. The outcomes from Durban will make a significant contribution towards a more sustainable future - if and only if, all pledges, aspirations and plans are fully implemented. Considering the scale of the transformation necessary for the sustainability revolution, it is clear that governments cannot deliver on their own.One of the themes that ran through Barbara Ward's life was that of cooperation. To quote: cooperation across seas, across frontiers and acrosscultures - cooperation for human renewal and development. Meeting the challenge we face will be impossible without an unprecedented level of cooperation between the public, the private and the civil society sectors. This is as true for implementing the Durban outcomes as it is for achieving the sustainability revolution more generally.Between now and 2015, the climate policy-making process needs encouragement - encouragement through concrete action. Action that moves us closer to the energy revolution that we need. Beyond governments, this concerns business and civil society. I fully understand the many private sector calls for absolute policy clarity before business can invest with total confidence. But let us remember that even in the absence of policy perfection, the trillionth dollar has just been invested in renewable energy. This market trend is encouraging, and begins to pre-adapt economies to the new low-carbon era. I am encouraged that some enlightened companies have taken the lead, but this is not enough. The outcomes from Durban will make a significant contribution towards a more sustainable future - if progressive companies take the lead and committed civil society remains engaged. Civil society organisations can be a powerful vocal support that influence consumer behaviour and give policy makers a broader political space in which to act courageously.And so today I stand before you with a clear request to all of you. Whether you represent government, business or civil society, take the unambiguous low-carbon policy signals from Durban, and help us increase action through new partnerships.. Help us to ignite action to such a level that it can power and maintain momentum for the sustainability revolution, help alleviate poverty andboost policy-makers' confidence.. Help us make the revolution real.. Help us achieve the change we need. nACKNOWLEDGMENTThe above remarks by Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, are extracted from an address Ms Figueres delivered on 9 March 2012 in London at Barbara Ward Lecture - an annual event organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). IIED's founder, Barbara Ward (1914 -1981), was a renowned economist, journalist, lecturer and policy advisor, who was among the earliest advocates of sustainable development.Pictured: Christiana Figueres (left) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right)post-durban remarks 035