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Approximately 35 members of government from developing and industrialised countries met for the second Petersberg Climate Dialogue on 3 and 4 July 2011 in Berlin at the invitation of Germany and South Africa. Switzerland was represented at the informal meeting by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, Head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC.
The meeting, which was chaired by the German Environment Minister, Norbert Röttgen, and the South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, debated the implementation of the measures resolved at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun in late 2010 and the preparation of the 17th COP, which will take place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed at the meeting that global climate protection cannot be achieved through the action of the industrialised countries alone and requires the involvement of all states, in particular the USA and China.
It emerged from the Berlin meeting that there are four areas, in which progress needs to be made by the end of the year: the financing of climate measures in developing countries, the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, the commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gases to be undertaken by states that are not currently party to the Kyoto Protocol, and the guaranteeing of the transparency and monitoring of the implementation of these commitments. Federal Councillor Leuthard referred to Switzerland's goal of achieving a comprehensive and legally binding international climate agreement. In accordance with the principle of joint but differentiated responsibility, such an agreement should establish different obligations for all major emitters of greenhouse gases. Further intensive negotiations are required, however, due to the numerous differences of opinion and open questions that remain. Hence, Federal Councillor Leuthard requested the definition of a timetable that would specify, first, the next steps to be taken in the direction of the establishment of a comprehensive climate agreement and, second, the step-by-step integration of all states into the process.
It became clear at the Berlin summit that further progress also needs to be made in the area of climate change finance. In particular, the concrete implementation and establishment of the new climate fund agreed on in Cancun must proceed rapidly. Federal Councillor Leuthard drew attention to the fact that many questions remain open in this regard, for example a technical resolution needs to be found to the issue of the relationship of the new fund to the COP and the complementarity of the new fund to the existing climate financing mechanisms. Switzerland is actively involved in the committee established for this purpose in Cancun.
"The enormous challenge of climate change can only be met if the developing countries also gradually assume their responsibility for limiting greenhouse gas emissions," said Federal Councillor Leuthard following the closure of the meeting. "The ongoing negotiation process remains difficult, however the informal ministerial meeting in Berlin showed that there is a shared will and desire for concrete progress."