Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize says Durban must not be the place where the Kyoto Protocol dies and is buried.
“Our position as government and all leaders – religious leaders, traditional leaders and leaders of civil society, academics and ordinary people of this province – do not wish for Durban to be the place of death and burial of the Kyoto Protocol,” said Mkhize at a pre-COP17 meeting on Tuesday.
“We wish Durban to be a world landmark for decisive action and a global giant leap from Cancun into a positive future for mankind.”
Mkhize said it would be great if the global community sealed the deal to protect the planet and to build a more sustainable, prosperous global economy that will benefit all nations.
Alf Wills, South Africa’s lead negotiator, said the international climate system needed to be built piece by piece and that had been the case in the Copenhagen and Cancun talks.
He said in Cancun, there had been many agreements in several aspects of climate change. The Durban talks, Wills said, would be very contentious and political. One of the main reasons was that the European Union wanted major developing economies to follow legal commitments if they were to sign up for a second period.
Meanwhile, trends show that the rural population of KwaZulu-Natal will feel the impacts of climate change to a much greater extent than the urban population.
It is for these reasons that the provincial initiative on climate change will be aimed at improving the resilience of both the natural environment, through rehabilitation, conservation and management.
“We want to enable the people of KwaZulu-Natal to live in a more sustainable manner within their environment… Critically, in our last pre-cop 17 Summit, we discussed seriously the need of integrating climate change concerns into food security. We believe that without strong improvements in agricultural productivity, the region’s food security will be at risk,” said Mkhize.
The agricultural sector is of key strategic importance, given the comparative advantages that KZN has with regard to its land and labour resources.
As a primary sector, agriculture contributes about 4.4 percent to provincial gross value added (GVA) and produces almost 30 percent of national agricultural output. This sector helps in creating formal and informal employment, while providing food security in South Africa.
The primary agricultural sector is said to contribute over 7.5 percent to total employment within all districts besides eThekwini and Amajuba. The sector therefore has the potential to create a substantially higher number of jobs in a shorter time frame in KZN.
“Green growth boosts productivity, innovation and efficiency. It creates new markets, and builds investor confidence and stability. And it is in the KZN’s direct economic interest to encourage it,” said Mkhize. – BuaNews