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UNSG Outlines Expectations for Durban Negotiations

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General6 December 2011: On the first day of high-level talks at the Durban Climate Change Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Parties to the UNFCCC to move forward on key issues and keep up momentum, even as a comprehensive and binding agreement may be “beyond our reach” in Durban, where governments are gathered for the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC.

He said the science was clear regarding the level of carbon emissions and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in order to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees, and called for a “sustainable future that fulfils the promise of the United Nations Charter."

To reach that goal, Ban laid out four expectations from negotiators at the COP: first, to implement the agreement in Cancún to ensure that the Adaptation Framework and its Committee, and the Technology Mechanism and its Climate Technology Centre and Network, are ready to start working as soon as possible; second, to make tangible progress on short- and long-term financing, including creating greater transparency in allocation and disbursement of fast-track funds, and on longer-term financing, the mobilization of $100 billion per annum by 2020 from governmental, private sector and innovative new sources, and to launch the Green Climate Fund created in Cancun; third, to “carefully consider” a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, in the absence of a global binding climate agreement, to avoid a vacuum for markets; and fourth, to take steps toward a comprehensive, binding climate change agreement that is effective and fair.

Finally, Ban noted the actions already in progress around the world to implement a lower-carbon path, such as the rise in global investment in clean energy, mitigation efforts by governments, creating financial value for the carbon stored in forests, via REDD+, and the Secretary-General's own Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.

In remarks to the press on the same day, Ban added that a comprehensive, binding climate change agreement that is both effective and fair for all, was a thread in the tapestry of sustainable development. In response to a question about the lengthy negotiating process to reach a new agreement, Ban said he could share the frustration that the process has been taking so long, and said it depended not on the UN system but on States' political will to look beyond their national borders. The press conference also addressed the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), China's statement of readiness for a legally binding agreement; and the gap between climate commitments and actual emissions. [UN Press Release] [Statement of UNSG to COP 17] [Comments of UNSG at Press Conference]