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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

24 September 2008


Opening remarks at joint press conference on climate change

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.

It is a great pleasure for me to join together with H.E. President Kaczynski of Poland, H.E. Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark and H.E. Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Dr. Hassan Wirajuda. They are the current and future presidencies of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. In view of this coming Poznan Climate Change conference, we have established an informal consultation group, together with the three leaders of the three countries. We first had a video conference on September 12th, and today we had a meeting together with the leaders of these very important countries, and I am very pleased to have this press conference on the most daunting challenges facing the international community.

I have reiterated on numerous occasions that climate change is a defining issue of our time. The impacts of climate change are increasingly apparent in various parts of the world. Science is clear and we need to take action now. The world is waiting.

Climate change must be considered in the context of sustainable development. It is closely linked to other global issues such as food security, energy, trade, finance and health.

I have identified climate change as one of my top priorities and I am personally committed to help the international community meet the daunting challenges of fighting climate change.

The Bali Roadmap was a significant breakthrough. The new UNFCCC negotiations process launched by the Bali Action Plan last December created increased political momentum and renewed hope that an effective multilateral response to the climate crises is possible and attainable if we rise to the challenge of our time, act in good faith and responsibly, and if national Leaders are able to rise above their immediate national concerns, and look after the global good.

I will do all I can to facilitate a global deal by the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

It is now clear that in order to achieve the needed outcome -- that is an inclusive, comprehensive and ratifiable treaty by Copenhagen -- the negotiations need to be elevated to the highest political levels.

I have established, as I said, an informal process with the Leaders of the presiding countries of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC over the negotiations period to strengthen political leadership, continuity and consistency in conducting the negotiations. This will be an important vehicle through which we can enlist additional leaders to participate in the process at the highest level.

We held the first such meeting through video-conference on 12th September. I was very much encouraged by the strong commitment demonstrated by all the three Leaders of Indonesia, Poland and Denmark for moving the UNFCCC process forward and expediting the ongoing negotiations. I am very grateful to them.

We jointly organized this press conference to share with you our political expectations, and about the challenges ahead.

We all agreed that the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan – or COP-14 is a crucial bridge to Copenhagen. The importance of the political leadership of Poland in hosting COP-14 was underlined by all of us. There was a consensus that we need to make real progress in key areas in Poznan so that we can:

- Rebuild momentum by agreeing to a clearly-defined 2009 work programme for the negotiations that will deliver a result in Copenhagen;

- Second, come to a common understanding of a “shared vision” for a long-term cooperative action?including on the institutional architecture that is adequate for the challenge posed by climate change;

- Thirdly, ensure that Adaptation Fund is ready to receive and finance projects without further delay, including by encouraging generous voluntary contributions;

- And fourthly, it is imperative that developed countries send a clear signal that they are ready to discharge their responsibilities with regards to emissions reductions and financing to support developing countries' own actions on climate change.

Furthermore, the Leaders of the COP Presidency and I as the Secretary-General will use all public events, including those on Finance and Trade to promote those common positions.

It was also agreed that this informal high-level political effort engaging the Leaders of the COP Presidents must be expanded at a later stage to include more leaders from interested and pro-active countries to provide political guidance, not only to their negotiators in the UNFCCC process, but also to their various Ministers in charge of environment, trade, energy, agriculture and finance to lay the foundations for an enabling domestic environment, and to empower negotiators on all aspects.

During the next few months I will consider facilitating some informal and also formal gatherings in the course of 2009 to help maintain and increase the political momentum, and to consider the broad political-economic context which should guide the climate change negotiations for success.

I will continue to consult with Leaders and Ministers to discuss options for such initiatives. I will also continue my consultations with Leaders of COP Presidency in preparations for Poznan conference and we will collectively continue to promote our common position which I just highlighted.

Thank you very much for your attention.