SA participates in CoP23 international climate change talks in Germany

2017-11-11 14:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - With a recent report by the United Nation's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revealing that 2017 is likely to be among the top three hottest years on record, and with South Africa warming up faster than the global average trend, discussions on climate change remains high on the country's agenda.

SA's Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, will lead the South African delegation to the 23rd United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (CoP23) in Bonn, Germany.

The Conference started on 6 November under the Presidency of Fiji, with the High Level Segment scheduled for 15 - 17 November.

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According to the United Nations, man-made climate change is aggravating "extraordinary weather" such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods, and WMO's report will be a guide for almost 200 nations meeting at CoP23.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) says that CoP23 is "expected to advance work on the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement. This guideline has to be concluded in time to enable CoP24 to take key decisions that will enable timeous commencement of post 2020 actions to be implemented."

Loss and damage due to climate change, finance, technology and capacity building for developing countries is also expected to discussed.

Molewa has also called for the enhancement of institutional arrangements and support, in terms of finance, technology and capacity-building, in order for the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change to fulfill its functions. 

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The South African team will be attending parallel sessions related to climate change. DEA says that its "key to negotiations will be following the different negotiations streams that deal with the relevant matters like energy, science and technology, water and sanitation, agriculture, fishery and forestry as well as cooperative governance and traditional affairs, while international relations and cooperation will be playing a leading role in diplomacy and international legal aspects."

"All attending negotiators will be fully engaged on matters relating to their specific areas of responsibility within the National Development Plan’s (Agenda 2030)," adds DEA.

Molewa says that “In determining the climate action during the pre-2020 period, CoP23 is crucial in determining what is required of all Parties to continue the good work that we have been doing to ensure that clear elements of action are agreed to that can be converted into text early in 2018".

Paris Work Programme

According to DEA, at CoP22 countries set a target of completing the Paris Work Programme during CoP24 in 2018 and to clarify "the modalities for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue aimed at increasing ambition in the pre-2020 and post-2020 years through the revisions on Nationally Determined Contributions".

Minister Molewa says it is important that there is agreement this year of the contents of, and accounting for, Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by parties to the UNFCCC and how parties should communicate and report on action related to their adaptation efforts and needs.

She says that there also "needs to be agreement on the Adaptation Fund and how compliance with the Paris Agreement will be monitored".

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“South Africa is hopeful that the Bonn Climate Change Conference will not only take stock of what is required to implement the Paris Agreement, but that it will provide assurances that the political balance of the Paris Agreement is upheld," says Molewa.

"We are hopeful that all issues of importance to developing countries, such as adaptation and means of implementation, will be addressed in the rule-book to be adopted before 2020,” she adds. 

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