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UN Second Committee Considers Report of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary

UN General Assembly 27 October 2008: The Second Committee of the UN General

Assembly considered, on 27 October 2008, the Secretary-General's note on

Implementation of UN environmental conventions, transmitting the report

submitted by the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, and the report of the

Secretary-General on implementation of the UN Convention to Combat

Desertification (UNCCD) and the outcome of the observance of the International

Year of Deserts and Desertification (Document A/63/294).

The document reports

on the work of the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in Bali,

Indonesia, in December 2007, and its follow-up. In particular, the report

includes a summary of the outcomes of the thirteenth session of the Conference

of the Parties (COP13) to the Convention and the third session of the COP serving

as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, as well as of the joint

high-level segment of COP13 and the third session of the COP serving as the

Meeting of the States Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The Report recommends that

the General Assembly: take note of the report of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary

and the outcomes of COP13 and the third session of the COP to the Convention

serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol; pledge its support

to the negotiating processes established by the Bali road map; and invite the

Executive Secretary to continue to report to it on the work of the Conference.

Introducing the report, Yvo De Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, noted progress

achieved at the August negotiating session on climate change in Accra, Ghana,

but stressed the importance for States parties to “move into the next stage of

negotiations” at and after the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań, Poland,

scheduled to take place in December 2008. He underlined that “an enormous amount

of work needed to be covered” for the 2009 Copenhagen conference to “work well”

and be “truly ambitious.”

To agree on this ambitious deal, he outlined the need

for clarity on: the nature of commitments; how to mobilize the necessary

financial resources for adaptation and mitigation; and the institutional

arrangements needed to deliver on both adaptation and mitigation. Noting that

investments in clean energy had proven to offer long-term returns, he stated

that the financial crisis was no excuse to delay action. In his report on

implementing the UNCCD, the Secretary-General recommends that the General

Assembly underline the importance of the Convention when addressing climate

change issues, and envisage that the post-Kyoto arrangement duly takes into account

the potential of land not only as a carbon storage reservoir, but that the

sustainable management of land contributes to adapting to climate change,

mitigating its effects and strengthening the resilience of affected developing

countries. Introducing the report, Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary,

noted that research shows that by 2050, half of the world's arable land will no

longer be productive due to desertification.

He underlined the role soil can

play in addressing climate change, and urged States to focus on both land and

climate change to address it. He explained that the report outlines concrete

actions aimed at delivery of the joint strategic objectives of the three Rio

Conventions, namely: raising public awareness; creating capacities;

contributing to the improvement of the global environment; and fostering strong

scientific backing for sustainable policies derived from their implementation.

The Committee also considered the Secretary-General's report on the Implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/63/351), which in light of climate change and other factors, stresses the need to scale up efforts and resources for implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015:  Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. A number of speakers noted the urgency of acting on disaster risk reduction, including as a tool for climate change adaptation.

The Second Committee is scheduled to conclude its debate on sustainable

development on 28 October 2008. [The Report] [UN Press Release]