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UN Secretary-General and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Emphasize Accelerating Action on Climate Change in Statements at Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received the Sustainable Development Leadership Award from H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

5 February 2009: During the 2009 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, which is organized around the theme “Towards Copenhagen: an equitable and ethical approach” and is taking place from 5-7 February 2009, in New Delhi, India, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that ignoring or underestimating the threat of climate change would lead to increased poverty and hardship. Ban, who received the Sustainable Development Leadership Award at the Summit, underlined that tackling this challenge requires “all our leadership, all our commitment, all our ingenuity,” but that it also provides an “opportunity to make progress on a wide range of sustainable development issues.”

Ban outlined the three main political challenges that the Copenhagen climate conference must resolve, namely: set ambitious mid-term targets with credible baselines for developed countries' emissions reduction and clarify what mitigation actions developing countries will be prepared to make; advance on the issue of financing the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries; and develop credible solutions for the governance of new funds, and for their implementation response. In concluding, he noted growing commitment from political and business leaders to seize the opportunities of the New Green Deal and expressed his confidence that “we can, and we will, rise to this challenge.”

Also addressing the Summit, Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underlined that the need for urgent action on climate change has become “abundantly clear” and that a political solution to this “massive threat to human development” is critical for humanity's further development as a whole, and especially for the World's poorest and most vulnerable.

Recognizing that the Poznan Climate Change Conference of December 2008 had not been marked by any major political outcomes, he noted that it made progress in a number of specific areas of work, including the adoption of the Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer and the operationalization of the Adaptation Fund, and fully endorsed an intensified negotiating schedule for 2009.

De Boer provided an overview of what needs to be achieved within the coming months for an outcome to be agreed in Copenhagen, namely clarity on: ambitious targets for developed countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries; generation of sufficient financial and technological support both for mitigation and adaptation; and an institutional framework that can deliver support for mitigation and adaptation. Recognizing the challenges to be tackled in 2009 and noting the difficult context of the financial crisis and economic down-turn, he stated that they also present an opportunity to redirect energy policies towards a greener future. He urged the negotiations on the road to Copenhagen to address the question of how “measurable, reportable and verifiable support for nationally appropriate mitigation actions be turned into something that makes mitigation and economic growth mutually reinforcing across the developing world?” Noting the various negotiating sessions scheduled for the coming months, he stated that in the process of stepping up action on climate change, “necessity and opportunity are hand-in-hand.” [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Acceptance Speech] [UNFCCC Executive Secretary's Speech]