COP 17 – Durban 2011


The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa, November 29th through December 9, 2011, will be a crucial test of the willingness of the international community to undertake decisive action to avoid catastrophic climate change.

If average global temperatures are allowed to rise by 2oC, the current official target reaffirmed at the Copenhagen and Cancún conferences, temperatures in Africa are expected to rise by one and a half times as much. In the words of Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, “A global goal of about 2 degrees C is to condemn Africa to incineration.” 

KAIROS is a signatory to the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change but has also issued its own analysis and call to action as Durban approaches. The KAIROS Policy Brief Is Durban the World’s Last, Best Hope to Avoid Climate Disaster? describes what’s at stake in Durban, and the KAIROS Statement on the UN Conference on Climate Change is a call to Canadian Christians to take action for climate justice. An executive summary of the statement is also available.

As with previous COPs in Poznan, Copenhagen and Cancun, KAIROS and its global Southern partners will be present in Durban. The KAIROS UNFCCC COP17 delegation includes:

Jackson Ebiaridor, coordinator of Oilwatch Africa,

Georgine Kengne Djeutane, African regional secretary of the World Student Christian Federation,

Ivonne Yanez, coordinator of Oilwatch South America,

Dr. Julia Edwards, climate change researcher/advisor with the Pacific Conference of Churches,

Jim Davis, KAIROS Africa partnerships coordinator, and

Caroline Foster, KAIROS Young Adult and Networks Coordinator

Among the many issues to be negotiated in Durban will be REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).  KAIROS’ global South partners have expressed deep concern about how REDD+ purports to curtail greenhouse gas emissions by subjecting the world’s forests to carbon markets.  KAIROS and its global South partners identify closely with the Climate Justice Now! network.
Jim, Caroline, and our partners will be blogging from Durban. John Dillon will blog from Toronto.  Georgine will be a panelist in a workshop on “improving development effectiveness in climate financing: challenges and opportunities” on December 4th.  Caroline will be participating in “Youth for Eco-Justice,” a joint World Council of Churches/Lutheran World Federation transformational training programme for young change-makers in churches, faith-based organizations and networks worldwide. KAIROS and our partners will be participating with the rest of national and international civil society in the alternative “People’s Space” organized by civil society coordinating committee for COP17.

Ecumenical activities at Durban COP17 are being coordinated with the Faith Secretariat run through the local Diakonia Council of Churches in Durban.  On November 27th in Durban the faith communities will be holding a rally to call on the COP 17 negotiators to act with compassion and care towards all people in the world. On December 4th the faith communities will be holding a prayer service to pray for the success of the talks.

What can you do?

Send your voice to Durban!
The Faith Secretariat at Durban is collecting signatures on the We Have Faith:  Act Now For Climate Justice call for a just and legally binding climate treaty,
and will be presenting it to world leaders at an interfaith rally on November 27. Caroline will be at the rally for KAIROS! Visit the We Have Faith website to add your name, and please send KAIROS an email at to let us know that you’ve taken action.

Send a message to our government!
Let Environment Minister Peter Kent know that you have signed onto the We Have Faith call and that you have faith that Canada will do the right thing in Durban by renewing the:

- legally-binding Kyoto Protocol for the period beyond 2012 with adequate emission reduction commitments;
- immediately redirecting Canada’s $1.4 billion in annual federal subsidies to fossil fuel industries to programs to promote energy conservation and development of renewable forms of energy; and
- canceling the financial debts of the nations of the Global South and providing sufficient funds for climate adaptation and mitigation measures through a United Nations body independent from International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank. 

You can reach Minister Kent by:
Mail: House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Phone:  613-992-0253

Please send KAIROS an email at to let us know that you’ve contacted the Minister.

More information on these policy points can be found in the KAIROS Statement on the UN Conference on Climate Change and the related policy brief, Is Durban the World’s Last, Best Hope to Avoid Climate Disaster?

Pray with our Those Affected by Climate Change!
There will be an ecumenical service in Durban on December 4th. Make the negotiations a part of your church observance that day as well. You might wish to share the KAIROS statement with your congregation and incorporate this prayer in your order of service for the day.

A Climate Justice Prayer

God of light and life, we see you in the rising sun,
the wind blowing through the fields of maize,
and the feel of a life-giving shower of rain.
Help us to see your light reflected throughout creation.

God of compassion, you are there with those people
who are facing the effects of a changing climate,
and are affected by floods, droughts and famine.
Show us how to be there with them too.

God of truth and justice, you hear those people around the world,
who struggle to make their voices heard.
Open our ears and the ears of those in power
to hear the cries of those living in poverty.

God of hope, we see you in people who refuse to give up,
who will not lose faith and keep on fighting,
for your earth and for your people.
Lift us, so that we may never lose hope.


(Adapted from Michaela McGuigan/CAFOD)



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The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), has written to  Minister of the Environment Peter Kent expressing her disappointment and concern over the recent decision of the government to withdraw Canada from participating in the Kyoto Protocol.  

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Ecuador Forest

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