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SA: Statement by Vusi Mona, government spokesperson, on the nomination of Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk for a UNFCCC post (08/03/2010)

8th March 2010

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The head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) resigned from this position with effect 1 July 2010.

The South African Government has subsequently been approached by a number of our partners in the developing and developed world, including governments, business institutions and non-governmental organisations, about the availability of the Minister of Tourism, Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to head up this UN institution and the global climate change negotiations.

In his previous portfolio as Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Minister Van Schalkwyk positioned South Africa as a true climate champion. During this period he commanded significant respect across the developing-developed country divide. This will stand him in good stead in this critical phase of driving the global climate change negotiations to conclusion. Given that South Africa will also be hosting and presiding over the climate change negotiations next year, on the eve of the coming into force of a new global climate change regime, it would indeed be an honour and privilege for the country to have one of its own to head up this very important UN institution.

President Jacob Zuma met with Minister Van Schalkwyk on Sunday 7 March, to discuss this issue in the context of the urgency of addressing climate change as well as South Africa's global positioning.

The final decision on the appointment rests with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon.

The South African Government will consequently forward the name of Minister Van Schalkwyk to the Secretary General for his further consideration.

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