Address by President of COP17/CMP7, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to a church service organised by the South African Council of Churches, Uniting Presbyterian Church, Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal
4 Dec 2011The leadership of the Umlazi Uniting Presbyterian Church;
The Leadership of the South African Council of Churches;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you for the opportunity to greet the Congregation this morning. The Movement that I come from, which turns 100 years on the 8th of January 2012, has its roots and history firmly intertwined with that of the church.
We are in KwaZulu-Natal, the home of home Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli and Ghandi. When Chief Luthuli was elected President of the African National Congress, he was a Preacher of the Word.
The character of the ANC as an all-inclusive, non-racial broad church that was accommodative to all ideological persuasions was a defining feature of his presidency of the ANC.
This very character is what we seek to employ in the United Nations Climate Change Conference currently underway here in Durban. We agree with the African Proverb that “We did not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, but have borrowed it from our Children and future Generations”.
In the words of Scripture, Psalm 24: 1-2 says…
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters”.
All of us therefore have a responsibility to preserve it. This is what the Climate Change talks are all bout. Let me assure you.
From an organisational perspective, the conference is proceeding well. Discussions are proceeding as planned and the environment is conducive for constructive engagements.
I have held extensive formal and informal consultations with Parties in various settings prior to the commencement of this important Conference.
I intend to continue with these consultations in an open and transparent way as the negotiations progress, not only to keep Parties fully informed, but also for myself to get a sense of where special attention is required before it becomes a problem.
Durban can take two central, decisive steps to make the world more climate-resilient and to put it on a low-carbon path.
One set of tasks relates to how governments will work together to achieve their common goal of limiting the global temperature rise to a level which can prevent the worst ravages of climate change.
This means answering the very important question of the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is the main multilateral system where states cooperate to address climate change. Durban is a decisive moment for the future of this multilateral rules-based regime.
The 1st Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol is coming to an end in 2012. The Parties link discussions on a 2nd Commitment Period with Durban adopting a roadmap towards a multilateral rules-based framework engaging all Parties.
The other major decisive step, or basket of tasks, relates to completing what was agreed last year at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.
I am pleased to report that we concluded the first week with clear progress being made on the institutions that were agreed in Cancun.
Discussions have been underway on the Technology Mechanism to promote climate-friendly and adaptation-related technologies. This can hopefully be completed here in Durban so that it can begin benefitting people as of next year.
For the Technology Mechanism, the focus is now on the “how and what” of who will host the Climate Technology Centre and Network, for example, the criteria for selection.
The Adaptation Framework agreed in Mexico to coordinate and structure adaptation to climate change at an international level is also being constructed.
And discussions on a Green Climate Fund to help financially support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries are underway.
Once again, thank you for your prayers. Like David said in Psalm 91.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
With your prayers, we can deliver a credible, fair and balanced outcome. Let us all work together to save tomorrow today.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
4 Dec 2011
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