South Africa and the Durban Climate Negotiations : Challenges and Opportunities as Hosts of COP 17

For the last six years, South Africa has played a prominent role in the international climate change negotiations, inter alia supporting and promoting the interests of the African continent and, also periodically of the wider group of developing countries. The country’s potentially influential role and its position is highly regarded and South Africa has, at times, operated as a diplomatic interface between developed and developing countries in climate change negotiations. (1) The country was labelled as “…a bridge between the developing and developed worlds… set to play an increasingly important role as global economic and strategic power shifts from the industrialized countries of the G8 to the new economic powers of the south”. (2) This research paper aims to provide a high-level analysis of South Africa’s relationship with and influence on the climate change agenda, with particular reference to COP 17.