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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Addresses UK Parliamentarians: 2009 the Year of Climate Change and of Opportunity

UNFCCC Executive Secretary: “2009, the year of climate change, is also the year of opportunity.”

26 January 2009: In an address to UK Parliamentarians, 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 the world's most pressing problem 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 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 Copenhagen to be a success, namely clarity on: quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives of industrialized countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries; how financial and technological support both for mitigation and adaptation will be generated; and on the institutional framework to deliver support for mitigation and adaptation. Recognizing that the challenges to be tackled in 2009 are “huge,” 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 then outlined a number of recommendations to help the world “to rise to the challenge,” including the need for: industrialized countries to take up their leadership role in climate change abatement; new and additional adaptation funding; assistance to least developed countries with identifying the most pressing adaptation needs and implementing adequate adaptation measures; and the meaningful engagement by developing countries. He concluded by stressing that 2009, labeled by the UN Secretary-General as the year of climate change, will also be “the year of opportunity.” [The Statement]