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Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on South Africa’s Level of Preparedness on COP17/CMP7 Scheduled for November – December 2011 in Durban, South Africa

Minister Molewa,
Mr Brown,
Mr Dames,
Colleagues,
Members of the Media,

Today marks exactly 117 DAYS before the start of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol in Durban from 28 November – 9 December 2011.

Today also marks the second day of the visit by the UNFCCC team to Durban to discuss with us our country and the City of Durban’s state of readiness in hosting this critical climate change conference. We are working closely with the UN to ensure that South Africa hosts an international event which meets UN requirements.

This morning we had a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on COP17. The IMC was established to oversee government’s preparations for COP17/CMP7. The meeting today looked at our state of readiness at various levels. 

With just less than four months to go, we can proudly say that South Africa is ready to host UN climate change conference.   We are equally very excited in unveiling the COP17/CMP7 theme and logo today.

THE PROCESS, NEGOTIATIONS, CHALLENGES and EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has been part of the Climate Change negotiations even before the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997.  We are therefore quite familiar with the history and dynamics of this complex process, as well as the substance.

It is also important for us to confirm that in our preparations for Durban, we have been working closely with Mexico in its capacity as current COP President.

The recent expression of unease with progress in the media has become part and parcel of the larger negotiating environment and happened also with previous COPs/CMPs held in various parts of the world. The fact that South Africa, a developing country, will host COP17/CMP7, demonstrates that we are taking seriously our responsibility to do what we can to address this global threat.

Starting in Bangkok, South Africa as incoming COP President has been undertaking informal consultations at ministerial, negotiators and stakeholders level to facilitate a credible outcome that is equitable, fair and inclusive. The party-driven principle has been emphasized in numerous occasions and therefore South Africa as incoming COP President cannot be expected to drive the process on its own and prescribe the outcomes of the negotiations.

In order to achieve a balanced outcome, South Africa will inter alia require the operationalisation of the Cancun Agreements as well as commitment to deal with unfinished business from the Bali Roadmap and Action Plan.

Durban is clearly the end of the line for the postponement of key political issues.

We have every intention to utilize, in an inclusive and transparent way, all opportunities to advance the COP17/CMP7 process to ensure that Durban is a success. In this regard, together with Mexico we are arranging a Leaders’ Dialogue on Climate Change on the margins of UNGA66 to get guidance from Heads of State and Governments.

As incoming COP President I am planning to host, amongst others:

  1. - an informal Ministerial Meeting on 8 and 9 September 2011 here in
    South Africa;
  2. -  preceded by a Negotiators-Level Meeting on 6 and 7 September 2011;
  3. -  stakeholders’ meeting on 5 September; and I will also host the
  4. - traditional “Pre-COP” Informal Ministerial Consultation on 20-21 October 2011, again in South Africa..

 The intention is for Ministers to focus on finance, means of implementation and the other outstanding political issues. 

The aim of the informal meetings is, amongst others:

  1. -        to get clarity on concepts and assumptions, as well as
  2. -       provide political guidance for the negotiations.

Outcomes of these meetings will feed into the upcoming formal negotiating process.

Let me end with a brief update on the state of readiness for this conference.

A. General State of Readiness

  1. 1.    Communication Plan
  2. 2.    Accommodation arrangements
  3. 3.    Venues
  4. 4.    Transport arrangements
  5. 5.    Visa procedures
  6. 6.    Safety and Security arrangements

A.1      COMMUNICATION PLAN

An extensive media plan involving television, radio, print and outdoor advertisements are in the process of being rolled-out.

  1. I.        RADIO & TV, PRINT & OUTDOOR: The campaign on the process leading to and during the Conference will be rolled out on local and international platforms
  2. II.        Social Networks (Tweeter and Facebook):  interaction on COP17/CMP7 countdown will be starting soon on the most popular social networks;
  3. III.        We will be engaging Parliament to have special session on COP17/CMP7 and ensure that we have the COP17/CMP7 logo in the corridors of Parliament and Provincial legislatures; and Engagements have started with other stakeholders – such as Government departments, Organized Business, Civil Society including NGO’s, Youth & Academia.
  4. IV.        Multimedia Awareness campaign on climate change: This commenced last month (July 2011) with the print media.
  5. V.        Key Events: we will also be targeting key events to popularize the Conference, for example we will use the next SADC Summit in Angola; the Water Week; transport month, the BASIC Climate Change Meeting; all Provincial Summits; etc.    
  6. VI.        WEBSITE: The COP17/CMP7 website address is www.cop17/cmp7durban.com . There will be a French link

VII.        Logo: The official logo of the Conference has been finalized. A big element of the logo is the resilient Baobab tree. Baobabs are very difficult to kill. They can be burnt, or stripped of their bark, and they will just form new bark and carry on growing. According to native legends along the Zambezi, the tribes believed that when the world was young the Baobabs were upright and proud. However for some unknown reason, they lorded over the lesser growths. The gods became angry and uprooted the Baobabs, thrusting them back into the ground, root upwards. The globe in the logo has an eroded look indicative to the urgent need for a positive outcome by COP17/CMP7.

VIII.        Core Theme: The core theme of the Conference is ‘Working together: Saving tomorrow today’.  This theme not only links with government theme of ‘Working together, we can do more’ but it emphasises that a positive climate outcome is not only the responsibility of South Africa but all other Parties to the UNFCCC. The second part of the theme links with the core message of Indalo Yethu – ‘Save Tomorrow Today’. Indalo Yethu is a World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) legacy project. It functions as an endorsement brand promoting greening and eco-friendly practices as a way of life.

A.2 ACCOMMODATION:  Bookings for some delegations already done; eThekwini Municipality has approximately 20 000 Beds within a 50km radius / 1 hour drive;

At this stage, 2662 Hotel rooms already booked and paid for.

A.3. VENUE: the Durban Nkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre and the Durban Exhibition Centre as identified as the venue for the conference. 

A.4 TRANSPORT: It is very clear that there will be an increased demand for air and ground transport from OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) to Durban as well as within the city of Durban itself. Arrangements for increased capacity required are at an advanced stage and includes the following:

  1. •       Increased airline capacity between ORTIA and KSIA
  2. •       Shuttle Services from KSIA to Hotels
  3. •       Shuttle Services from Hotels to Venue
  4. •       Increased transport capacity including Minibus taxis and buses in Durban
  5. •       Procurement of 2000 bicycles
  6. •       Indentified pedestrian paths in Durban
  7. •       Special vehicles / arrangements for HOS/G

Possible sponsorships are being considered for the transport requirements for the Heads of States/G and delegates.

A.5 INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT): DIRCO has engaged with UNFCCC and verified all ICT requirements; a High level Project Plan has been developed and is being implemented;

A.6      VISA PROCESSES: It is expected that approximately 20 000 people will travel to South Africa to attend the Conference or to participate in various activities. There will be free-Visa entry for UNFCCC accredited attendees. All other observers and/or delegates will follow normal visa procedures. With OR Tambo International being the major port of entry, dedicated COP17/CMP7 lanes have been agreed with together with ACSA. Plans are in place to manage the increased capacity at ORTIA, KSIA, Waterkloof Airport as well as Durban Harbour. Increased Home Affairs Capacity has also been confirmed.

A.7      SAFETY AND SECURITY: Priority Committees for COP 17/CMP7 at National and Provincial level has been established. Threat assessment is being conducted and will be reviewed / updated on a continuous basis.

I thank you all.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria

02 August 2011