Minister Nomvula Mokonyane announces SA’s participation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland

03 December 2018


Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane has announced South Africa’s participation at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC CoP24) in Katowice, Poland.

The international climate change talks are scheduled to take place from 2 to 14 December 2018, under the presidency of Poland. The delegation comprises the Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Barbara Thomson, and a team of negotiators.

The conference will comprise the 14th COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP14), the 3rd part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1-3), together with subsidiary body meetings.

The mandate of the Katowice Climate Conference is to adopt the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), setting out the implementation guidelines required to operationalise the Paris Agreement in 2020. The Conference will also host Ministerial-level events, including the Talanoa Dialogue, which aims to raise ambition and accelerate action to address climate change, as well as dialogues on financial support for developing countries and implementation of the pre-2020 Agenda under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. In addition, the Polish Presidency of the Conference will host a one day Summit for Heads of State and Government, to be held on 3 December. 

The theme of COP24 is Changing Together emphasising the need for collaboration and cooperation to address climate change. COP24 is a critical milestone towards the success of the multilateral approach to addressing climate change at a time when such an approach is being opposed by the United States of America and further undermined by backtracking on commitments by several other developed countries.

The South African government in 2015 joined 196 countries in ratifying the Paris Agreement, which came into effect on 4 November 2016 – four years ahead of schedule giving recognition to world leaders’ concerns that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the century.

At COP23 in Bonn, Germany, in November 2017, Parties adopted the Talanoa Dialogue – the backbone of the facilitative dialogue that will take place in Poland. South Africa has identified a number of priorities for COP24 where it is important to ensure the technical needs and requirements of nations to mitigate and adapt to climate change are comprehensively negotiated. 

At COP24 the emphasis remains on limiting global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius in pursuit of efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (as called for in the Agreement).  Advancing the pre-202 agenda including ratification of the Doha Agreements, and mobilisation of climate finding for developing and least developed countries will also be discussed. It is therefore urgent that ambition gaps be closed, and that the Katowice climate change conference place a particular priority on a finalised Paris Agreement Work Programme. 

“The Katowice Conference should include taking stock of work required to fully implement the Paris Agreement, provide assurances that the political balance of the Paris Agreement is upheld, and that all issues of importance to developing countries (including adaptation and means of implementation) will be addressed in the rule-book to be adopted,” said the Minister Mokonyane. 

The focus at CoP24 should be on ensuring that commitments by developed countries in the pre-2020 period, including the provision of US$100 billion per annum in climate finance to developing countries by 2020, are honoured.  The talks should also clarify the relationship between the formal UNFCCC process on the pre-2020workstream and the “Action Agenda”, which is a parallel process for voluntary coalitions and partnerships involving state and non-state actors. This process is increasingly being used by developed countries as a substitute for their legal commitments under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol.

“We could also like to see the efforts of developing countries advanced to ensure that the Adaptation Fund serves the Paris Agreement, and that the outcomes of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue are advanced. South Africa would like to see the Dialogue be used to encourage collaborative efforts amongst Parties, lead to increased support to developing countries, and facilitate transparency and clarity of action and support provided,” said Mokonyane.

South Africa, in collaboration with the National Business Initiative (NBI), will again be hosting a South African exhibition pavilion at the climate change talks.  During the conference a number of dialogues and events are to be hosted at the Pavillion to showcase the work being done by South Africa to adapt to, and mitigate, climate change.

For media inquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 400 5741

For media interviews with members of the South African delegation in Katowice, Poland, contact Eleanor Momberg on +27 83 400 5741