South African President Jacob Zuma would head to Copenhagen to attend the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which would start on December 7.
Zuma joined the growing list of leaders in attendance at COP15. US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao - leaders of the world's largest two greenhouse gas emitters - have already indicated that they would attend the conference.
Zuma would lead the South African delegation, which constituted the Ministers of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica, International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and senior representatives of the South African government.
The South African government position was that success in Copenhagen should strengthen climate resilient development and must urgently assist the world's poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to the inevitable impacts of a rapidly changing climate.
Environmental affairs representatives have previously stated that South Africa would not take on any legally binding emission reduction targets at COP15 that would negatively impact growth and development. The country's long-term mitigation scenarios outlined that South Africa would continue to increase emissions until 2020, when they would then plateau for a decade and finally decline.
"The conference brings together all signatories to the UN Climate Change Convention to negotiate a broader and more ambitious global pact to combat climate change beyond 2012, as this is the year when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCC comes to an end," said Cabinet in a statement following its final ordinary meeting for the year in South Africa.
Government has reiterated that South Africa would enter this phase of negotiations advocating for a successful outcome that would be inclusive, fair and effective; that has a balance between adaptation and mitigation; and a balance between development and climate imperatives.
COP15 and the 5th Conference Meeting of the Parties (CMP5) to the Kyoto Protocol would run for two weeks until December 18, 2009.