International Climate Negotiations

Through our collaboration with the World Green Building Council, we contribute whenever possible to wider international work around climate change and sustainability.

Conference of the Parties (COP) 17

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were inevitable.

The international climate change negotiations take place through an annual Conference of the Parties (COP), where countries come together to negotiate action to address global climate change.

The current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ends in 2012.

There was significant disappointment at COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, and COP 16 in Cancun in 2010, when the world's governments failed to secure a new global framework for tackling climate change to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. Therefore, there were low expectations for the 2011 COP 17 climate negotiations in Durban.

However, after an extension of the talks by 36 hours, a new deal was reached to ensure that all countries will accept binding emissions targets from 2020. Detailed talks on the deal will begin this year and end by 2015. For more information visit the UNFCCC website.

Countries also agreed to a $100billion Green Climate Fund to help poorer nations adapt to the effects of climate change. The UK government is helping to fund the start up costs of this fund as well as contributing to the fund itself.

World GBC activity at COP 17

WorldGBC Official Side Event

Energy efficient buildings and communities for sustainable development: Voices from South Africa featured speakers from the GBC South Africa (GBCSA), One Planet Living, and the South African public and private sectors, with Jane Henley, CEO of World GBC as moderator.

Durban Events

On 5 December, the GBCSA hosted the Cato Manor Green Retrofit Tour and Reception, a retrofit of green affordable housing in a low-income neighborhood in Durban, followed by a lively reception with local food and musical performances.

The GBCSA also held a tour of the Nedbank Ridgeside building, a recipient of a 4-Star Green Star SA - Office v1 rating, on 6 December. The tour was led by the building's designers with a reception following.

Jane Henley took part in the Climate Action Programme Sustainable Cities Debate and Reception at the Moses Madhiba Stadium on 7 December.

WorldGBC Government Leadership Awards

The WorldGBC, in partnership with ICLEI-International and UN-HABITAT, announced the winners of the first annual WorldGBC Government Leadership Awards on 5 December 2011. Details on the winners and all of the nominated cities are included in the special report that was issued at our Awards press conference in Durban.