President Jacob Zuma has urged delegates of the United Nations climate change negotiations (COP-17) in Durban to strike a balance in negotiations between economic development and climate change control.

"Negotiators must strike a balance between ensuring that climate change does not reach dangerous levels, on the one hand, and the need to grow our economies to eradicate poverty on the other," Mr Zuma said at the Local Government for Climate Change ceremony on Friday.

"Parties still have divergent views on the shape of the final outcome. However, there is a general understanding that parties should positively and decisively resolve the questions of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol," he added.

He also urged the launch the Green Climate Fund. "For Durban to be regarded as a success, especially for developing countries, the Green Climate Fund that was agreed to in Cancun must be operationalised," Mr Zuma said.

The debate on setting up the fund started earlier this week at COP-17, but the US delegation has rejected a proposal on how to raise $100bn for poor countries to develop low-carbon economies.

The president also said agreement had to be reached on the legal nature of a future climate change system.

"At the opening conference, after looking at the faces of the delegates, I saw solutions written in their faces. I still see it, and I am hopeful that the outcome of this conference would indeed be a step that would take us forward in creating a safer tomorrow today," he said.