By Francis Hweshe

    Cape Town – On the 24th and 25th February 2011 President Jacob Zuma hosts the second meeting of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability in Cape Town.

    Zuma, along with Finnish President Tarja Kaarina Halonen, will co-chair the panel, which consists of 21 eminent persons from around the globe.

    EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, Brazilian Minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, and Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister of Mozambique, Luisa Dias Diogo are some of the panel members.

    The panel has been tasked with focusing on climate change as a sustainable development challenge and addressing its three pillars, namely economic, social and environmental, as well as related issues of food security, energy and poverty eradication.

    According to a statement from the Presidency, the panel is expected to conclude its work by the end of the year.

    Issues that the panel is expected to tackle include how to get a low-carbon economy, building resilient economies, eradicating poverty, achieving sustainable ways of consumption and production, among others.

    The work of the panel is closely related to work currently underway in three multilateral negotiation processes. These include international negotiations under the Commission for Sustainable Development (UNCSD), flowing from the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and in particular, the preparatory meetings for the forthcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also referred to “Rio plus 20”, scheduled for 2012 in Brazil.

    International negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, with the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) having taken place in Cancun in December 2010 and the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17), taking place in South Africa in 2011.

    International discussions and negotiations on International Environmental Governance, taking place under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). – BuaNews

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