UN official proposes global summit on climate change to plan next steps

Ban Ki-moon (R) and Yvo de Boer

16 January 2007 – The head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) today proposed the convening of a global summit backed by the UN to plan a future course of action for tackling the cross-cutting problem.

Since climate change “affects energy, energy security, economic issues [and] development issues, it really needs to be taken to the level of heads of State and heads of government,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo De Boer told a press briefing in New York.

The official, who met yesterday with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the UN leader would be an ideal advocate on the issue. “I feel that the Secretary-General of the United Nations is in an excellent position to mobilize that kind of leadership and to help to move the process forward.”

A spokesman for Mr. Ban said today the Secretary-General is well aware of the urgent nature of reversing or stopping climate change and believes that it is “an important issue that has serious consequences for humanity, including social and economic impacts.”

Mr. Ban himself has said, “We must do far better in the mission to halt climate change.” At a news conference earlier this month, he added, “This, too, will be one of my priorities.”

Despite some progress towards positive change made by some of the world’s major emitters, Mr. De Boer pointed out that the issue has reached a major turning point given that developing countries are already burdened by effects of climate change such as prolonged drought and loss of infrastructure.

The current Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 UN treaty mandating targets for reducing greenhouse gases, expires in 2012. Mr. De Boer said that the interests of developing nations must be considered when creating a replacement mechanism after the treaty’s cessation.

“I feel it’s so important to bring the question of climate change back to the UN process, back to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change where basically all of the interests can be addressed and you can find a solution for after 2012 that really does `represent the diversity of views,” he said.

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