Figueres Urges American States to Implement Cancun Agreements

13 May 2011: Speaking at a meeting titled "Climate Change: What the Americas Can and Must Do," organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC, US, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christina Figueres urged American States to implement the Cancun Agreements and develop their renewable energy resources.

Underlining that every American country has "a series of decisive opportunities to face climate change while promoting sustainable development, from the perspective of adaptation as well as from that of mitigation," she stated that the full implementation of the Cancun Agreements would be the best way to take advantage of these opportunities.

She also stressed the need to develop the continent's abundant renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy, noting that failing to do so would lock the American countries into a fossil fuel energy path, which she said would be "detrimental to the sustainable development of each of our countries and, for obvious reasons, to the entire world.” She further underlined the importance of sustainable forest use and the need for national initiatives on adaptation, noting that on climate change "in the long term the countries of the continent have more shared interests than points of discord.”

OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development (SEDI) Mauricio Cortes Costa highlighted the enormous challenges faced by countries of the region, especially some of the smallest ones, noting that these require additional funding forcing them "to redirect investments needed to achieve their Millennium Development Goals towards climate risk reduction measures." He recalled that with the necessary commitment at all levels climate change can be potentially mitigated if countries act "promptly and decisively." [OAS Press Release][Speech by Christina Figueres (Spanish)]