UN General Assembly Thematic Debate Addresses Climate Change’s Links to Achieving the MDGs

Mdg2 April 2008: Many speakers addressed links between climate change and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the UN General Assembly's two-day thematic debate entitled “Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges and getting back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.” In her opening remarks to the 1-2 April 2008 thematic debate, Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General, highlighted many speakers' concern that climate change could thwart achievement of the MDGs.

Djibouti's representative emphasized that low food levels, coupled with the negative impact of climate change, meant Africa's food production would likely shrink at least 20 percent. Tanzania said the UN “should continue to show robust leadership on how to address the negative effects of climate change and should, with urgency, assume leadership in spearheading action on the global energy crisis.” The representative from the Maldives called for quick, “targeted practical action” to fulfil the commitments made at various summits and conferences and to particularly “properly fund various action programmes that had been agreed upon for the most vulnerable groups, small island developing States, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries…”

Poland said his country would like to ensure that the fourteenth Conference of the Parties, to meet in Poznan at the end of 2008, “will make an important contribution to setting out specific measures in the scope of mitigation and adaptation” along with modern technology and its transfer to developing countries, and measures related to adaptation, in particular the Adaptation Fund's principles and functioning.

Bangladesh, on behalf of Least Developed Countries, said “developed nations must also create innovative financial structures to better assist their less developed partners with such challenges as climate change and structural deficiencies…”

Austria highlighted the need to address gender-specific aspects of climate change, to ensure successful climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies along with having a positive effect on broader concerns of development and poverty reduction.