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Statement by Minister Barbara Creecy at the High-Level Segment of the UNFCCC CoP25/CMP15/CMA2

Statement by H.E. Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister Of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa at the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change CoP25/CMP15/CMA2

Madrid, Spain, 10 December 2019


On behalf of South Africa, I wish to congratulate you on your election as the President of COP25, CMP15 and CMA2.

Madam President,

South Africa, like all African countries, is experiencing serious and ever-increasing climate change related impacts, including the frequency and severity of storms, droughts and floods. These are already causing significant social and economic disruption.

It is an unfortunate reality that the brunt of these impacts are borne by the poorest and most vulnerable communities and groups, largely found in developing countries.

We all agree that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity this century. We all need to respond according to our respective responsibilities, circumstances and capability.

Madam President,

Our collective global response must be informed by the best available science. The most recent scientific reports on oceans, land and scenarios towards a 1.5-degree rise gives a stark warning that we must act now.

We must work to prevent accelerated desertification and ecosystem and land degradation. We must also ensure that the serious risks to sustainable fisheries and security of our food and tourism are minimised.

At a regional level the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) reflected that Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by amongst other factors, our history of colonialism and under development together with our current problems of indebtedness, high levels of inequality, unemployment and lack of robust infrastructure.

Given the important issues we must discuss at COP26 next year, it is crucial to finalise the full operationalisation of the Paris Agreement here in Madrid.  This includes reaching agreement on:

  1. The financial support to enable developing countries to communicate more ambitious adaptation and mitigation contributions.
  1. Robust modalities and rules with environmental integrity governing the market and non-market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, including reaching agreement on how to contribute to adaptation finance through a share of proceeds of all carbon market transactions flowing to the Adaptation Fund.

In conclusion Madam President,

As announced by President Ramaphosa in his submission to the UN Secretary’s Climate Action Summit in September this year, South Africa is committed to fulfilling and enhancing our NDC following a participatory and inclusive process in the country.

As part of this effort, our Carbon Tax Act came into effect on 1 June this year. Additionally, comprehensive Climate Change legislation is in the pipeline.

Our effort is beginning to bear fruit. South Africa’s third Biennial Update Report shows greenhouse gas emission reductions from 2012 to 2015.

As a responsible global citizen, we will always strive to make a fair contribution to the global climate change effort in a manner that simultaneously addresses our national priorities to eradicate poverty, as well as reduce inequality and unemployment.

Madam President, we look forward to working constructively with you here in Madrid.

Finally, I would like to extend our deep appreciation to the government and people of the Kingdom of Spain for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting.

I thank you.


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