Minister Edna Molewa arrives in New York for the Paris Agreement high level signature ceremony

21 April 2016




Minister Molewa with Michael Douglas on the sidelines of the signature ceremony in New York

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa has arrived in New York for the high-level signature ceremony of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Minister Molewa is leading the South African delegation to the ceremony, being hosted by United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, on 22 April 2016. The signature ceremony is a confirmation that states intend to be bound by the Paris Agreement and is an affirmation that they remain committed to addressing climate change. Minister Molewa will sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of the Republic.

The Paris Agreement was unanimously adopted by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015. The adoption of the Paris Agreement is the culmination of the historic and bold decisions taken in 2011 in Durban when South Africa served as President of COP17/CMP7. While the Agreement itself will come into force in 2020, the Parties also agreed to accelerate and enhance climate action in the pre-2020 period.

This is particularly important to developing countries, especially those on the Continent who are already experiencing the effects of climate change, such as the current drought that South Africa is experiencing. Within this pre-2020 period developed countries have commitments to provide support in the form of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing countries to assist them to meet the climate challenge. Under the Paris Agreement these commitments will continue post-2020.

South Africa looks forward to being one of the countries that will sign the Paris Agreement on this historic day, as it has participated throughout the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Paris Agreement. This included President Zuma delivering South Africa’s national statement during the Leaders Event at COP21 and with South Africa chairing the biggest negotiating group of 134 countries in the negotiations, the Group of 77 and China.

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