UN Secretary-General Takes Stock of 2011

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General14 December 2011: At a year-end press conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that 2011 delivered warnings about our common future, highlighting the disaster at Fukushima and record floods in Pakistan, Thailand, Colombia and El Salvador, which he qualified as "a vivid reminder of the increasing incidence of extreme weather."

Ban recalled that when he took office, he spoke of climate change as "the defining challenge of our era," noting his determination to raise it to the top of the global agenda. He added that five years later, significant progress has been achieved, from Bali to Copenhagen, to Cancun and Durban. On the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, which was held in Durban, South Africa, Ban underscored that "we defied the sceptics." He stated that the COP had "showed clearly that UN multilateral negotiations can deliver," and noted in particular the agreement on: a clear target and timeline for reaching a legally binding agreement involving all countries; a re-commitment to the Kyoto Protocol; and advances on technology and financing, including the Green Climate Fund.

He indicated that the UN will "build on this Durban spirit of cooperation" to advance on climate change financing and, in particular the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Ban underlined that sustainable development is the UN's top priority, stressing the need to "connect the dots" between climate change, energy, food, water, health and education, and oceans. He underscored that these issues will be addressed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in June 2012. [Press Conference Transcript] [UN Press Release]