21 April 2010

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

Only Global Cooperation Can Prevent Runaway Climate Change, Secretary-General Says


in Message to People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights, delivered by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), on 20 April in Cochabamba, Bolivia:

I thank President [Evo] Morales and the Government of Bolivia for hosting this important Conference.

Climate change is an ethical issue, with serious implications for the well-being of our generation and those that will follow.  It requires a global solution that takes into account the views and needs of all who share Mother Earth, our only home.

This week you will hear from those who are on the frontlines of climate change.  They have contributed least to the problem but will suffer first and worst from climate impacts.  We will hear from civil society organizations and indigenous peoples who have much to teach about living in harmony with nature and serving as good stewards of our planet’s resources.

The United Nations seeks dialogue, inclusiveness and transparency in the global climate discourse.  The universal, representative forum for discussion on climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention.  I hope your deliberations provide constructive, positive and viable inputs for COP 16 [sixteenth Conference of the Parties].  I urge this Conference to feed its results into the twin-track negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change so we can increase momentum towards reaching a robust climate change agreement as soon as possible.  Only global cooperation can prevent runaway climate change.

Each country must do its part, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, established by the international community in Rio and embedded in the Climate Change Convention.  I look forward to your suggestions on how to reduce emissions, expand clean energy and build climate resilience.  Our efforts must be much more ambitious to satisfy what science tells us is needed to stabilize our climate.

An effective, equitable response to climate change is essential for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, for global economic growth and for the health of the planet.  Let us work in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to overcome this defining challenge of our time.  Let us live in harmony with each other and with Mother Earth.

I wish you a productive meeting.

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For information media • not an official record