1 April 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12163
ENV/DEV/1032

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS PRINCE OF WALES’ RAINFOREST PROJECT RECALLS NEED FOR LOFTY


PRINCIPLES TO BE TETHERED TO PRACTICAL WORKS TO MEET CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE


Following are remarks of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as prepared for delivery, at the meeting on climate change and forests, hosted by the Prince of Wales, in London today:


I am grateful to His Royal Highness for gathering us here to discuss one of the gravest challenges of our day ‑‑ climate change ‑‑ and the role that sustainable forest management can play in abating that threat.


Let me say at the outset that I also wish to pay tribute to Prince Charles’ longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship.


In launching the Rainforest Project, you have reminded us that lofty, well-meaning principles must be tethered to practical works if we are to successfully meet the climate challenge.


Indeed, the Rainforest Project is about nothing less than the principle of sustainability put into practice, with tangible benefits for both the local community and the global community.


Deforestation accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global carbon emissions.  By protecting rainforests, preserving livelihoods, and promoting responsible business efforts, the Rainforest Project is ‑‑ quite literally ‑‑ a powerful catalyst for green growth.


And green growth is precisely what the world needs during the current economic downturn.  Green growth can help jumpstart recovery and generate jobs today.  As importantly, it provides the path for lower-carbon, long-term prosperity.


In Copenhagen this December, Governments will meet to “seal the deal” on a new climate agreement to reduce global emissions, prevent deforestation, and assist countries with adaptation needs.


If we are to be effective in combating climate change, we must give people the tools ‑‑ the resources and, not least, the hope ‑‑ needed to move towards a lower-carbon economy.  The Rainforest Project provides a timely model to do just this.


The United Nations system welcomes the Forest Financing Mechanism Working Group proposed by the Prince of Wales.  Working together, and drawing on our combined expertise, including that of the UN-REDD Programme, the World Bank, and the UN Forum on Forests, we can promote sustainable, green growth for generations to come.


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For information media • not an official record