News

On the Way to Copenhagen

Ban_kimoonlBy UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

It is a particular pleasure to have this opportunity to share some of

my thoughts through the inaugural edition of this bulletin – which I

hope will become a vibrant medium of communication and exchange in the

period ahead – as we each do our part to keep the promise we made in

Bali and to realize success in Poznań and then Copenhagen.

Our achievement in Bali came as the

culmination of years of hard work by many who grapple with the multiple

dimensions of the complex challenge of climate change on a daily basis:

scientists, economists, politicians, policy makers, technological

innovators, public servants and ordinary citizens around the world. To

succeed in Copenhagen, we must bring our best to the table in service

of a higher purpose. Time is short and the stakes extremely high.

I

commend the Parties to the Convention for starting work in earnest

during the Bangkok Climate Change Talks and for the progress they made

in Bonn. And I wish them all success at future sessions in Accra and

beyond.

I have made it a personal

priority to ensure that the United Nations plays its full role in this

process, not only because climate change is just the kind of global

challenge that the UN is best suited to address but also because of the

clear moral imperative for bold, decisive and urgent action. We have a

duty to the vulnerable who contribute least to the problem but

experience its impacts most severely, and we have a responsibility to

succeeding generations. We also have an historical obligation to

successfully transition to a low-carbon global economy. In the last

century, we rose to the occasion to welcome the Industrial Revolution,

the technology revolution, and the era of globalization. In this

century, responding to the climate change challenge demands that we

harness that same resolve.

The United

Nations system is taking action to support the Parties to the United

Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the journey

through Poznań to Copenhagen.  In this effort, we are guided by the

Parties' wishes, as expressed in the existing agreements under the

Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, and in the Bali Action Plan.

I

continue my personal advocacy and action through consultations with

world leaders and other measures to sustain political momentum towards

a shared vision for long-term cooperative action.                        

I

have repeatedly conveyed the UN system's commitment to strengthen and

coordinate its work on climate change. Recently, all UN agencies,

funds, and programmes agreed to organize their work on climate change

along the lines of the building blocks of the Bali Roadmap. They have

committed to delivering concrete results in support of Member States –

especially through implementation in five focus areas - namely,

reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation;

technology transfer; finance; capacity building; and adaptation. And

they are also backing action in four cross-cutting areas that underpin

progress on each building block – science, assessment, monitoring, and

early warning; global, regional, and national action; public awareness;

and a climate-neutral UN. These areas were identified primarily in

response to the negotiation process, and in pursuance of the broader

mandates and capacities in the UN system. I expect to report progress

from this process in Poznań.

Raising public awareness among governments, businesses, civil society

organizations and individuals remains high on my agenda.  On 5 June

2008, this year's World Environment Day, we promoted the message “Kick

the CO2 Habit:  Towards a Low-Carbon Economy.” That theme was chosen in

recognition of the damaging extent of our dependence on carbon-based

energy and our belief that solutions are within reach.

I also pledge to lead by example. With the groundbreaking ceremony of the

renovations for the UN Headquarters in New York on 5 May 2008, we have

started the march towards a greener and more efficient UN. It is my

sincere hope that at the conclusion of this historic period of

renovation we will have facilities that are not only safer and more

modern but also a model of environmental stewardship. I know the chief

executives of all United Nations programmes, funds and specialized

agencies are following suit and moving towards climate neutrality in

their respective organizations.                        

These

are examples of some of the specific actions we are taking. When

different players – be they an individual, organization, business or

government – take action bound by a common cause, we are all energized

and our vision is brought that much closer to reality.

Our common priority is a deal in Copenhagen, on time, and in full. This bulletin

is a welcome way to keep us in touch and on track as we each do our part to meet our collective  obligation to realize this goal. [Climate-L Bulletin]

Photo: Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (Credit: UN)