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Leaders Express Hope for Climate Action at UNFCCC COP18

1 October 2012: On the final day of the High-level Debate of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), world leaders called for urgent action to address climate change while expressing hope for progress at the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC, taking place in November-December this year.

Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, said that inaction or inadequate action on climate change is “inexcusable and morally indefensible.” She urged COP 18 to prioritize pre-2020 actions, including clarity on climate financing, as well as greater urgency and ambition in emission reductions before 2020. Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the UN, said COP 18 is an opportunity to reach agreement on climate financing, as well as on an ambitious second Kyoto Protocol commitment period. She supported finalizing a new binding climate treaty by 2015, with climate financing beginning in January 2013. Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of Dominica to the UN, recommended extending the Kyoto Protocol and creating a roadmap for a new legally binding document. Winston Dookeran, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, called for implementing UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol obligations.

Other leaders underscored common but differentiated responsibilities to address climate change. S. M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs, India, said India remains committed to a comprehensive, equitable and balanced outcome based on common but differentiated responsibilities. Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, said the developed world should assist developing countries in climate change mitigation efforts. Enrique Castillo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, called for commitments by the biggest carbon emitters and international cooperation for mitigation and adaptation in the most vulnerable States. Phandu T. C. Skelemani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Botswana, urged the developed world to adopt accelerated interventions to address climate change and to assist developing countries through capacity building, funding and technology transfer.

Some leaders highlighted relationships between climate change and energy. Vladimir Makei, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, underscored the inter-related issues of climate change and energy, and food security. Henderson said energy is critical to responding to climate change, stressing Dominica's commitment to the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) initiative.

Albert Del Rosario, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, welcomed work on advancing disaster risk reduction, including on natural disasters caused by climate change, and emphasized global and regional partnerships to strengthen emergency response systems. [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 1 October]