Minister Edna Molewa’s statement at COP22/CMP12/CMA1 Marrakesh, Morocco

16 November 2016


Mr. President,

I would like to convey the highest regards of His Excellency President Jacob Zuma and the people of South Africa to His Majesty King Mohammed the Sixth. We express our heartfelt thanks to the Moroccan government and people for their warm hospitality. Shukran Jazeelan!

Your Excellency, Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, we congratulate you on your election as President of this Climate Change Conference.

South Africa associates itself with the statement delivered by Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as with the statement delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Africa Group.

South Africa is proud to count ourselves among the 110 Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement so far. The Agreement is now in force. This bears testimony to the unwavering commitment and the unified purpose of the international community to combat global climate change.

South Africa’s national response to climate change addresses both development needs and climate change imperatives. South Africa is putting in place a mitigation system to realise the opportunities of a low carbon economy. We are investing heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green transport opportunities. We are also developing our national adaptation strategy to guide our transition to a climate resilient society.

Like other developing countries, African countries are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including increased  food and water insecurity, resulting in hunger, poverty and disease. Moreover, the very existence of many small island states is threatened by the impacts of climate change.

The writing is on the wall. We have to increase our collective efforts on the basis of science and equity with intensified urgency.

Mr President,

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is an inclusive, fair, comprehensive and balanced framework for the adoption of key implementing agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. We stress that the Convention is the core and central basis for ambitious and fair collective climate action.

If we are to achieve our goal of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius and successfully meet the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, we must close ambition gaps and accelerate pre-2020 action.

To this end:

  • Firstly, the Kyoto Protocol Doha Amendment should enter into force urgently;
  • Secondly, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities, the means of implementation must be provided to developing countries. In particular, it is essential to deliver the 100 billion US dollar undertaking for ambitious pre-2020 action;
  • Thirdly, adaptation must be prioritised; and
  • Finally, given threats to food security, priority must be given to finalising the agricultural decisions.

Significant technical progress to fully operationalise the Paris Agreement by 2020, is key to the success of COP22, and we are heartened to see that work is indeed progressing in most areas.

Ultimately, the Paris Agreement will achieve climate safety globally, owing to its comprehensive coverage of all major challenges, its nationally determined character, its flexibility and its transparency,

This should provide political assurance to all countries, regardless of any shifts that may occur in domestic political constituencies. In the end, we are all in this fight together.

South Africa has the utmost confidence that we will achieve our collective goals under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, as we say in Africa “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”: We know that there is no viable alternative to collective multilateral action.

We have indeed come a long way, and it is up to us to stay the course.

I thank you.