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Expectations for Durban


The successful outcome of Durban - which is a global imperative - will depend on the success of Cancun.

Even before the start of the Cancun COP many were looking beyond to COP17 in Durban. As the 10th day approaches in Cancun, COP16 has been as subdued as anticipated. It seems that a peak and trough pattern is emerging in these global negotiations. Bali was not expected to achieve much, whilst we had great hopes for Copenhagen. Not much is expected at Cancun whilst the burden for Durban is ever increasing. History also seems to suggest that during these dips in the negotiation cycle, whilst the pressure is off and the weight of expectations is low, negotiators are better able to rationalise and produce surprisingly positive results. The Bali action plan saved an otherwise doomed COP and hope still abounds that we will see some parallels emerging in Cancun. However, with the end of Kyoto rapidly approaching and Japan, Canada and Russia having reservations about a second commitment period without any substantial solutions for a post 2012 deal, can we really afford the luxury of this cyclical pattern?

With many key issues still to be worked through, not least amongst these a binding global treaty, the pressure really is on for Durban. And this time we cannot come away with half solutions. The South African representatives in Cancun realise just how key this is. Valerie Geen of the National Business Initiative in South Africa, speaking at an event hosted by KPMG, stated that the expectations for Durban were considerable and that we really need to see some resolutions passed this week in Cancun in order to give Durban a chance of being a success. She is right. The successful outcome of Durban - which is a global imperative - will depend on the success of Cancun. With a few hours to go Cancun has to deliver.

Nirali Shah KPMG Climate Change & Sustainability Services, South Africa

Expectations for Durban

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