Background

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol will take place in Durban, South Africa, between 28 November and 10 December 2011.  The COP17-CMP7 constitutes an important milestone for climate change negotiations, as it is nearly 20 years since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the “Earth Summit,” was held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It was at this Summit that the climate change negotiations were kick-started, with the UNFCCC opened for signing by UN member states.  

The COP17 also holds symbolic significance. Firstly, the COP17-CMP7 negotiations are being held on African soil, and it is widely acknowledged that Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change.  There is much hope and optimism that the negotiations will move forward significantly on some of the important elements of the multilateral climate framework, building on what was agreed at the COP16-CMP6 in Cancún, Mexico in 2010.  Secondly, COP17 comes to Africa at a time when there is high awareness across the continent about the impact of climate change on Africa, supported by expanding research and practice on the ground. 

The conference therefore offers a real opportunity to showcase some of the continent’s important initiatives and activities, bring in knowledge about climate change and development from wide-ranging actors, and ensure that Africa’s climate change and development issues are at the forefront of the discussions during the COP17-CMP7. Africa needs to seize this moment and capitalize on the opportunities presented.

The African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are sponsoring the Africa Pavilion at CoP17. The Pavilion will feature daily events and discussions addressing a host of climate change and development issues and the ensuing implications for Africa.

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"Fighting global poverty and climate change are the two most important battles of this century..."

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