Thursday 6 October 2011

South Africa provides ‘open space’ to discuss possible way forward in Durban

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

05 October 2011 --- As the Durban climate change conference looms, hosts South Africa is holding two informal consultations here in Panama in the hope that a possible climate change deal will materialise on home soil.

The open-ended consultation provides an informal space to discuss key issues that may help South Africa to find solutions for the current negotiating difficulties.

Presided by South Africa’s Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the informal interaction with delegates allow for a free expression of views on a number of cross cutting issues.  

COP17 President designate, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane with UNFCCC Executive Director, Christina Figueres
“Time is limited and we need to make the most of it. We wish to have an open engagement in a structured and focused manner.

“As incoming Presidency, we have heard from the majority of delegates that delicate balances need to be struck between issues and within issues in order for Durban to have a balanced, fair and credible outcome. Once the balances are better understood, the possibility of putting together a balanced outcome may come within reach, said Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko. 

At the very heart of putting a balanced outcome together is the question of how delegates view the future.

“In climate change negotiations we work within a web of linkages and balances, driven by the urgency of making an impact. It is for the preservation of the multilateral system that we need to look for the end of the thread of this entanglement, to ensure that we strengthen our system by weaving together a solution that can take us forward together.

“We hope that the informal consultations can be useful to develop a common understanding among delegates of where the balances will have to be struck if a successful outcome in Durban is to be achieved. 

The two informal session will try to address two major questions – how to accelerate progress on a legally binding multilateral rules based agreement and is the second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol an essential element to strengthening the collective response to climate change.

“We believe that in responding to these questions, we can really come to the core elements that would help build a common understanding.

The Pacific delegation have welcomed South Africa’s initiative to create a forum to discuss in a transparent manner a possible way forward to a climate change deal in Durban.

“It’s a welcome move by South Africa to meet with parties and get their positions.

“While these informal sessions are not binding, at least they are an attempt to find common understanding and we support that, said Espen Ronneberg of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).