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UNGA Climate Change Event Focuses on Post-Bali Talks and Partnerships

Srgjankerim

The need for a global agreement on climate change for the post-2012 period, the importance of collaborative partnerships, and the role of the United Nations system were the focus of discussions during a three-day “thematic debate” in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The event, which met at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 11-13 February 2008, took as its theme: “Addressing climate change: the United Nations and the world at work.”

The

meeting, which went one day longer than originally scheduled, drew more

than 100 high-level speakers from governments, the UN, the private

sector, non-governmental organizations, the media, and other key

stakeholders. The event opened with statements from UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim,

and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Secretary-General Ban

stressed the priority of reaching a global agreement by the end of 2009

to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “A deal in Copenhagen, on time, and

in full, is my priority and that of all the Funds, Programmes and

Agencies of the United Nations family,” he said, referring to the UN

Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Denmark from 30

November to 11 December 2009.

On

the first day, participants held high-level panel discussions focused

on partnerships and on the work of the United Nations. At the

conclusion of the first day's sessions, Yvo de Boer, Executive

Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said

countries participating in these talks had the responsibility to turn

the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December

2007, into a success through a “truly comprehensive climate change

strategy” that united the developed and developing worlds. De Boer also

stressed that finance and technology mechanisms would be an essential

component of the negotiations that lay ahead.

On the second day, a number of member States made statements.

Antigua and Barbuda, speaking for the Group of 77 developing

countries and China, said multilateral action should remain “fully

rooted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and

Kyoto Protocol,” and that developing countries should receive

technology, capacity building and other support “in a measurable,

reportable and verifiable manner,” as agreed in the Bali Action Plan.

Slovenia, speaking for the EU, urged a global agreement for strong

post-2012 action and also outlined the EU's unilateral policy

agreements on emissions and renewable energy. Other speakers addressed

issues including reducing emissions from deforestation in developing

countries, the vulnerability of small island developing States, and the

role of public-private sector partnerships.

On

the final day, member States commented on issues including “climate

proofing” development assistance, the importance of energy efficiency,

market mechanisms, clean technologies, financing for adaptation and

mitigation in developing countries, and the need to follow up on the

Bali conference by designing and agreeing on an inclusive and effective

post-2012 framework for global action. At the close of the meeting,

Assembly President Srgjan Kerim reflected on the discussions, noting

that the large number of speakers was a “testament to the importance of

taking immediate practical action” to combat climate change. He

highlighted speakers' comments on the need for both long-term targets

and short-term action and said the UN system must respond with policy

solutions that could help Member States answer some of the questions

and issues raised during the discussions. He also announced that he

would hold two additional meetings in 2008 that would focus on the

concerns of vulnerable countries and on corporate responsibility and

sustainability.

Links to further information

UN press statement/report (day one), 11 February 2008

UN press statement/report (day two), 12 February 2008

UN press statement/report (day three), 13 February 2008

UN press overview of meeting, 14 February 2008