Durban conference delivers breakthrough for climate (12/12/2011)

The European Union welcomes the agreement reached at the UN climate conference in Durban as a historic breakthrough in the fight against climate change.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "EU’s strategy worked. When many parties after Cancun said that Durban could only implement decisions taken in Copenhagen and Cancun, the EU wanted more ambition. And got more. We would not take a new Kyoto period unless we got in return a roadmap for the future where all countries must commit. Where the Kyoto divides the world into two categories, we will now get a system that reflects the reality of the today’s mutually interdependent world. And as we are interdependent, what we promise to do must have the same legal weight. With the agreement on a roadmap towards a new legal framework by 2015 that will involve all countries in combating climate change, the EU has achieved its key goal for the Durban climate conference’’.

This agreement provides the basis for further constructive cooperation between India and the European Union, both at the international level towards the implementation of the Durban agreement, as well as bilaterally. A first major occasion for the Leaders of both sides to discuss this will be at the EU-India Summit which is scheduled for 10 February 2012.

The Durban Package

After two weeks of negotiations, the 195 Parties to the UN climate change convention agreed on a roadmap, proposed by the EU, for drawing up a legal framework by 2015 for climate action by all countries. The Durban conference also agreed that there will be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, made operational the new Green Climate Fund for developing countries and approved a series of measures which build on the progress made at last year’s Cancun conference, including the Climate Technology Centre Network as proposed by India.
The agreement reflects the reality of the today’s mutually interdependent world. And as we are interdependent, what we promise to do must have the same legal weight. 

Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

The conference outcome launching a process – the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action - to develop a new Protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force that will be applicable to all Parties to the UN climate convention. The decision states that this process shall raise levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new instrument is to be adopted by 2015 and be implemented from 2020.

Kyoto Protocol

As requested by developing countries and supported by the European Union, in the Durban Package it is formally decided that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will run from 1 January 2013, thus avoiding a gap at the end of the first commitment period finishing next year. New rules on forestry management approved as part of the package will improve the Protocol's environmental integrity. Parties' quantified targets for reducing emissions, as well as rules governing the carry over of surplus emission rights from the first commitment period, will be decided at the end of next year.

Green Climate Fund and other new bodies

The Durban outcome makes operational the funding mechanism (agreed at the Copenhagen COP) via a new Green Climate Fund (GCF) by finalising its design and governance arrangements. The GCF is expected to be one of the major distribution channels for the US$ 100 billion in assistance which developed countries have pledged to mobilise for developing nations annually by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation efforts. Germany has already pledged €40 million and Denmark €15 million to make the GCF operational.

The arrangements needed to make operational the new Clean Technology Mechanism and Adaptation Committee have also been agreed.


The Durban Package brings into operation new arrangements for making more transparent the actions taken by both developed and developing countries to address their emissions. This is a key measure for building trust between Parties.

Link to the EU RAPID website:

Link to the press briefing: