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17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
28 Nov 2011 - 9 Dec 2011
Durban, South Africa

The 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17), will be held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

Durban is first and foremost an African City, a place of rich contrasts and honoured traditions. Subtropical beaches and vast undeveloped landscapes provide the backdrop for large scale urban development together with more traditional rural lifestyles. Through this diversity, Durban embodies the challenges that face most of the cities in the global south. The city?s bold response to the challenges of climate change and variability have positioned the city as a global leader in the field of climate protection planning and established it as the ?Climate Capital? of South Africa.

With the development of a Municipal Climate Protection Programme, as well as the institutionalisation of climate change within the municipality, the city has provided an important framework for the implementation of a number of climate change projects. These projects focus on adaption and mitigation measures for the city as well provide a platform from which to generate socio-economic benefits. The city?s pilot Green Roof Project and large-scale community reforestation projects show how Africa?s biodiversity can become a tool, not just for climate change adaptation and mitigation, but also to create economic development opportunities. Within an African context, Durban?s renewable energy and climate change mitigation projects are regarded as revolutionary.

The City?s continued commitment to broadening the climate change dialogue with other South African cities, as well as its respected reputation within the international climate change arena, has secured its position as a climate change leader.

Beyond the challenges of climate change, Durban regards the protection of the broader natural environment as a critical part of the city?s planning and management. This is demonstrated through projects such as the protection of Durban?s open spaces and biodiversity, the initiation of large-scale domestic recycling projects, poverty relief programmes that provide jobs through the clearing of invasive alien plants, improved inner-city public transport systems and the development of innovative water technologies and catchment management programmes. As a sporting and events host, Durban?s commitment to environmental sustainability extends to the greening of events. During the FIFA World Cup? Durban demonstrated its ability to host large-scale carbon neutral events, thus minimising the impact on the natural environment.

The COP 17-CMP 7 will mark a critical moment in the ongoing international climate change negotiations, and Durban is a fitting host for an event of this magnitude and significance.

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