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UNGA High-level Debate Calls for Increased Action on Climate Change

27 September 2012: World leaders speaking during the third day of the High-level Debate of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) have highlighted the need for urgent action on climate change and called for greater commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

Many small island developing states (SIDS) highlighted the disproportionate affects of climate change on their nations, including coastal erosion, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, variable rainfall, sea-level rise and temperature changes. Several leaders also called on developed countries to commit to greater greenhouse gas emission reductions. Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister, Solomon Islands, and Emanuel Mori, President, Micronesia, expressed concern about low ambition levels among developed countries and major emitters. Lilo urged prioritizing mitigation at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. Spencer said both developing and developed countries should address climate change mitigation but that developed countries should accept responsibility as the leading contributors of GHG emissions. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Bangladesh, supported an international agreement based on common but differentiated responsibilities, and Mohamed Waheed, President, the Maldives, reiterated the need for a binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Donald Ramotar, President, Guyana, said current global responses to the climate crisis fall short in both scale and urgency and called for matching concern with decisive, urgent action. Ikililou Dhoinine, President, Comoros, said the Copenhagen Climate Fund (CCF) should be made operational and Hasina recommended the early adoption of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer.

Others underscored connections between climate change and development challenges. Gjorge Ivanov, President, Macedonia underlined the linkages between sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction and climate change. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister, Lesotho, highlighted that drought and floods have intensified food insecurity challenges in Lesotho, resulting in the declaration of a food crisis.

Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Minister, Turkmenistan, proposed establishing a regional center for climate change-related technologies in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin, in cooperation with the UN.  He said such an entity would strengthen cooperation on ecological safety and support sustainable development aims. [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 27 September]