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03 December 2011

Climate talks going well - Zuma

Durban - The climate change talks in Durban were going well and promoting an environment conducive to constructive engagement, but the parties still differed on the final outcome, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

Addressing delegates at a cities and local government convention in Durban, the president said although parties had differing views on the final outcome of the talks, there was a general understanding they should decisively deal with the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The protocol, which came into effect on February 16 2005, is an international agreement which sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010 led to a second commitment period for Kyoto, which expires at the end of 2012.

"Generally, parties agree that Durban should operationalise the Cancun agreements," Zuma said, adding there was a need to implement the Green Climate Fund. Countries agreed to form the fund during the Cancun talks and a transitional committee was formed.

The next step was the composition of a board to run the fund, meant to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

"The Green Climate Fund that was agreed to in Cancun must be operationalised. This must be done by adopting the report of the transitional committee and through an early launch of the fund," Zuma said.

The transitional committee is co-chaired by South African Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

The transitional committee had done well, but there was still the matter of finding its long-term sources of finance.

"For the initial capitalisation of the fund to be realised in Durban, the high-level segment that is due to start next week will have to provide the political will, which should translate into financial pledges."

Developing countries believed the fund would help them adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

- The cities and local government convention is one of the side events of the main climate talks, COP 17, and is aimed at crafting plans to help cities or municipalities deal with the impact of climate change.

- SAPA/News24