Paris Agreement historic
Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has congratulated the delegation representing South Africa at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in France following the adoption of the new Paris Agreement on climate change.
Late on Saturday evening, the UNFCCC adopted the historic agreement to address greenhouse gas emissions for the post-2020 period, while increasing countries’ ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change during the next session.
Parties pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and take common climate action, following two weeks of tireless negotiations.
The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of COP21 cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion: mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal; a transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action; adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts; loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts; and support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures.
“This would not have been possible if South Africa had not delivered the outcomes it did as President of COP17/CMP7, held in Durban in 2011. The success in Paris is the culmination of the watershed Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011 where Parties to the Convention agreed to the mandate for the Paris Agreement.
“We congratulate South Africans for this contribution to finding solutions to a global challenge. We also thank the United Nations for the opportunity provided to us to play this role,” said the President on Sunday.
The agreement was also reached as South Africa chaired the Group of 77 plus China – a group of more than 130 developing countries representing more than 80 percent of the world’s population.
The group is comprised of a diverse group of countries, but united by the goal to protect their vulnerable and poor.
“Under South Africa’s leadership, the Group of G77 plus China was more united than ever before in the history of the climate change negotiations and South Africa managed to rally this group of developing countries, which made a decisive difference in building the political will that was required to reach agreement on this important issue,” said President Zuma.
He added that climate change poses a grave threat to developing countries’ ability to ensure that their people are lifted out of poverty.
“It has therefore been a great honour for South Africa to play such a key role at both the beginning and at the end of the process through which the international community worked toward reaching this historic solution.
“The agreement presents a big step forward in committing all countries to act decisively against climate change. Through this agreement, hope has been restored for a safe and prosperous future, where climate change will be adequately addressed.”
The South African team was led by Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, who was supported by Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana, as well as Ambassador Nozipho Mxakatho Diseko from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and other senior officials. – SAnews.gov.za
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