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 November 27, 2011
South African president challenges leaders to make Durban a success

 Jacob Zuma says COP17 must establish $100bn Green Climate Fund and determine future of Kyoto Protocol.

South Africa's president has issued a rallying cry for world leaders to deliver a successful outcome at climate change talks starting next week, including finalising the $100bn Green Climate Fund and agreeing a future for the Kyoto Protocol.

Speaking at a briefing today, Zuma said South Africa was fully prepared to host the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Durban.

However, he warned that the conference, which starts on 28 November, must be driven by a high level of ambition to protect the environment.

"The low level of ambition in this regard is cause for concern," he said. "Parties must come to Durban expecting a credible, sustainable and implementable outcome. It cannot be business as usual."

Echoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon's call earlier this month, Zuma highlighted the $100bn Green Climate Fund, first agreed in 2009, as one of four key outcomes from the summit.

The fund is intended to help poorer countries mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by mobilising finance from richer countries. However, it has proved politically contentious, with governments from developing and developed nations opposed over the scale of the fund, how the new finance will be raised, and how it will be distributed.

"Developing countries demand a prompt start for the Fund through its early and initial capitalisation," said Zuma.

He also urged leaders to determine a future for the Kyoto Agreement, which commits developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent of 1990 levels by the end of 2012.

Japan, Russia, Canada and the United States have already signalled they will not support the extension of the agreement, but China and 77 other developing nations are calling for a second commitment period to be agreed.

Zuma also said adaptation was essential for a successful outcome of the conference, and is a key priority for many developing countries, which are likely to experience increased flooding and drought as a result of warming.

He also said any outcome of the negotiations should be "balanced, fair and credible", guided by United Nations principles such as multilateralism, environmental integrity, fairness.