President Zuma attends Paris climate change conference

zumaBy –

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) this week.

President Zuma will be accompanied by Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa at the conference, which will be held in Paris, France.

The conference starts on 30 November and will run through to 11 December.

The President will attend the Heads of State and Government segment on 30 November.

“Having launched the negotiations that will conclude this year at COP 17 in Durban in 2011, South Africa has a special interest in doing all that it can to ensure the success of the Paris COP,” the Presidency said.

President Zuma said for South Africa, a fair and ambitious legally binding agreement will mark the successful conclusion of the mandate agreed to by consensus in Durban to enhance implementation of the existing convention.

“To be successful, the new agreement must be fair. Fairness would imply respect for the convention’s principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” he said.

South Africa also has the special responsibility of advancing the collective and shared interests of developing countries in the negotiations for the Paris Agreement.

South Africa chairs the Group of 77 and China. It is also an active member of the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) as well as the Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) Group.

“This necessitates defending the legal rights of developing countries under the convention and to receive the support they require to make the transition to a low carbon economy and to adapt to the reality of a climate that is already changing and the loss and damage that is associated with this,” the Presidency said.

President Zuma said finance will be of central importance to the Paris outcome and has to be an integral part of the agreement itself.

“The reality is that without adequate, predictable and sustainable means of implementation, it will be impossible to reach our agreed temperature target.

“This is because key mitigation potential is in developing countries, such as South Africa, and these countries are not able to realise this potential on their own,” he said.