The opening of the Joint High Level Segment of the COP17/CMP7 in Durban on December 6th, 2011, was inaugurated by the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the President of the Conference and Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ms. Christiana Figueres.
President Zuma highlighted that Durban is proving to be “a decisive moment” in the UNFCCC process, and called all parties to show flexibility in defense of the system. “We need to show the world that parties are ready to solve the problems in a practical manner and are willing to forgo national interest for the interest of humanity, no matter how difficult this may be”.
The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina presented a statement on behalf of the Group of 77 (G77) and China, emphasizing the urgent need to address climate change, which for countries within the G77 and China is a matter of survival. He added: “Developing countries are now more than ever experiencing the very real impacts of climate change, which are undermining our development prospects and aggravating preexisting vulnerabilities. This has been confirmed a few days ago by the Special Report (SREX) that was adopted by IPCC member governments, highlighting that fatality rates and economic losses expressed as a proportion of GDP are higher in developing countries.”
The Vice Minister of Argentina made a strong appeal to all Parties, “we believe this process has to deliver”. He reiterated that the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol is the cornerstone of credible efforts in addressing climate change, i.e. a second commitment period that is fully legally binding and ratified. He added that further political commitment was needed to raise the level of ambition of developed countries pledges, in line with what is required by science, equity and historical responsibilities.
He reminded participants in the very crowded Baobab Plenary room that developing countries are already undertaking bold action in mitigation and adaptation activities, including with our own resources, in a scenario where the provisions of the Convention regarding the support of finance, technology transfer and capacity building by developed countries parties are far from being met. We are willing to do more, but the available international cooperation for national mitigation and adaptation actions clearly needs to be scaled up.
“We believe that resolve and progress in this front could be the key to a leap forward in mitigation actions by developing countries”, added Vice Minister D’Alotto. Also, “setting in motion the Green Climate Fund created in Cancun must include its initial capitalization, from public financial resources as soon as possible, to appease the fears of an “empty shell” structure.”
The Group of 77 and China expressed the hope and determination to make all needed efforts to achieve an outcome that is comprehensive and balanced, enabling the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action now, up to and beyond 2012, pursuant to the results of the thirteenth and sixteenth sessions of the Conference of the Parties, addressing both implementation tasks and issues that are still to be concluded as per the agreed agenda. Such an outcome, on the basis of equity and taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, demands a decision on establishing the commitments of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol here in Durban.
“I don’t think you want to disappoint the citizens of the globe”, said President Zuma. We all agree that the Earth is in danger. The Group of 77 and China calls on all Parties to engage meaningfully and to stop attempts to water down the existing process under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol and to resolutely move forward for their full implementation and strengthening. As stated byArgentinaon behalf of the Group of 77 andChinaat the session: “We are fully committed with you in “Saving Tomorrow, Today”.
The G77 was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.