Civil Society Committee for COP17

In January 2011, a civil society committee (C17) was established to coordinate civil society activities during the COP

What is C17?

The Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) includes representatives of 16 organisations including social movements, labour, environmental justice organisations, international environmental NGOs and faith-based organisations. It is a facilitatory body that will coordinate the participation of international and national movements and organisations of civil society in the common process but will not seek to represent them or to enter into negotiations with, or lobbying of, governments on their behalf.


C17 seeks to create opportunities for:

  • Civil society engagement with climate change solutions and in the climate change negotiations during 2011
  • Civil society engagement with the South African government around climate change negotiations and positions
  • A platform for the expression of diversity in civil society
  • Environmental movement building in South Africa and the region

What is C17 Organising?

Climate Refugee Camp:

This year, national, regional and international organisations will mobilise people across South Africa and the continent to ensure a strong presence of informed and engaged community activists at COP17. The activists will be accommodated in the Climate Refugee Camp at COP17. They will participate in a programme of events, centred on the Global Day of Action, to raise awareness of climate impacts in Africa, the potential scale of social disruption, and hence the need for real solutions.

Civil Society Space:

At each COP, civil society groups organise independent events, strategise, share knowledge, hold conferences and build international links for campaigns and initiatives. There is immense value in creating a single precinct to meet these needs. The People's Space being set up by C17 is inclusive of all civil society groups working on climate change and is open to the public. The Space will be active from 26th November to 10th December.

Global Day of Action:

The Global Day of Action (GDA) is a traditional and important event at the UNFCCC COPs. The primary action is a mass march of international and national community, labour, women, youth, academic, religious and environmental organisations and activists. It will demonstrate civil society's common determination to address climate change. The Global Day of Action is on 3rd December 2011.

Common Process:

C17 is working to facilitate civil society preparation for COP 17 and creating the conditions for effective participation, inclusivity and accountability. The process will encourage mutual solidarity by linking people's struggles for climate justice but also accommodate differences between organisations.

In 2009, it was announced that the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would be held in South Africa. Understanding that this imposed a grave responsibility on them, both to host international civil society and to facilitate the articulation of people's interests in relation to climate change, South African civil society organisations started planning for the event.

A series of meetings was held by a range of social, environmental, labour and faith-based organisations during 2010. In November, organisations met together in Johannesburg, and agreed to cooperate on a common and inclusive process towards COP17. The meeting mandated an interim committee to prepare a second meeting with a wider representation of civil society in the host city on 26-28th January 2011. This meeting, with representatives from 80 organisations participating, nominated the C17 committee with a mandate to organise the common process.

One should never underestimate the influence our top sportsmen and women have over large global issues. Climate change is just one area where public figures such as well-known sports players have expressed their concern over the negative impact human beings have had on the Earth.

Golfers, tennis players, baseball players and marathon runners are all facing higher temperatures while competing. Practice sessions are being forced to be held later in the day when temperatures have decreased.

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