UN Climate Change Conference (COP18) Opens in Doha

Doha, November 26 (QNA) – HE the Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah opened in the Qatari Capital of Doha on Monday the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) with the participation of high-level representatives of about 194 countries around the world, and in the presence of more than 17 thousand visitors, of whom 7 thousand are members of non-governmental organizations, 1500 journalists, and the coverage of 90 television station.
 HE the Chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah was elected the President of the Climate Change Conference (COP18).
 COP18, which will last up to the 7th of December, aims at assessing the progress that has been made in the application of policies related to climate change, as well as providing a platform for the member states to adopt important decisions in this regard, especially with regard to the Kyoto Convention, which expires at the end of 2012.
 This is the first time the COP is being held in the Middle East.

 HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, President of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, called for to a second commitment period in Kyoto Protocol and to complete the work in what has been agreed in Bali and Durban.
 During a speech delivered at the opening of the Conference, HE Al Attiyah said that achieving the desired goals requires providing all necessary facilities to create the right environment.
     He stressed that the current edition of the conference is a historic event and is of importance regarding the topics on its agenda and what it represents as a turning point in the climate change negotiations.
     He pointed out that he would work closely with the members of the Convention, chairpersons and specialized work teams during his presidency period to achieve possible results, indicating that these goals will only be achieved by the parties and the represented delegations, where is negotiations is the main pillar to ensure move the Convention to the desired progress.
     HE Al Attiyah explained that the State of Qatar participated in numerous formal and informal consultations in order to listen to different viewpoints.
 HE also indicated that he is fully prepared to continue listening to the participating members to do what they deem necessary to come out with satisfactory results.
     The Conference President warned that the phenomenon of climate change represents a common challenge for humanity and needs a serious work to reduce its negative effects and to ensure a more secure future for the current inhabitants of the earth and for future generations, stressing at the same time that the coming days will be a valuable opportunity that must be fully exploit.
     He added that many of the participants expressed the importance of completing the agenda in a timely manner which requires flexibility and lack of procrastination in marginal issues from everyone, emphasizing the importance of the basic principles of the negotiating process which are the transparency, participation and strengthening the role of States parties in the negotiating process.
     He stressed that what will be achieved in Doha completes what has been achieved in previous years, expressing optimism about the willingness of the participants to work and cooperate during the next two weeks.
     HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah expressed thanks to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for his precious confidence on choosing him as the President of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of the State of Qatar.
Following a review of the agenda items, HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah announced that the high-level meetings of the Conference will open on the 4th of December in the presence of HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 HE Al-Attiyah said that heads of state and government have declared their desire to attend this part of the conference on the 4th of December, pointing out that the heads of delegations will deliver national statements during the high-level meetings on the 5th and 6th of December.
 HE Al-Attiyah called on the participants and heads of the working groups to work in a spirit of innovation, achievement and flexibility in order to reach the desired results.
 HE Al-Attiyah also urged everyone to use the time available to discuss the files and topics without delay, noting that leaving and postponing decisive issues until the last hour is not feasible and that work and writing of texts should be finished by the 6th of December.

For her part, President of COP 17 and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana- Mashabane has called for long-term cooperation between all parties and states to effectively face the climate change problem.
Addressing the COP 18 opening session, she also called for the provision of the necessary financial support to face the climate change problem and commitment to the implementation of the international community’s pledges agreed upon in late 2020 that allocated  USD100 bn per year to fight climate change.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane cited an African proverb highlighting the need for multilateral cooperation within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others,” she said.
She praised the spirit of cooperation and constructive approach that she found in Doha and the efforts exerted  by the government of the State of Qatar for the success of the conference and for reaching an agreement on climate change.
 She said our presence in Doha will help us a lot in order to negotiate this difficult path and make the future safer for our children.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gave an opening address  in which she said the Doha Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ” is evidently unique in its geopolitical location. This is the first time the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention is being held in the Gulf region.
 “On this historic occasion, the Gulf region has an unequalled world stage to showcase the contributions being made to reduce the Gulf s food and water vulnerabilities, to put regional energy growth on a more sustainable path, and to build a safer, stronger, and more resilient energy future for all countries”.
 She said in addition to being a COP in the Gulf region, the Doha COP is, at the same time, an Asia-Pacific COP. This conference is unique in the way it will usher in major milestones for processes launched in two previous Asian COPs, namely Kyoto and Bali.
     “Under your guidance, and with important input from the subsidiary bodies, COP18 will move the Bali Action Plan from plan to action, from design to the full and effective implementation that expedites urgent response to climate change and enables much needed financial assistance and technical support for developing countries, while clarifying the path forward on important pending issues,” Figueres said.(QNA)

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