27 April 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today held separate meetings on climate change with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and former United States Vice President Al Gore.
“You are fully aware of my strong commitment to address the global warming issue and I am going to take an important role in mobilizing political will in close coordination with the European Commission when I attend the G-8 Summit meeting in June,” Mr. Ban told reporters following his meeting with Mr. Barroso.
The Secretary-General was briefed by Mr. Barroso on recent decisions taken by the European Union (EU) regarding global warming.
“We were very happy to take the lead in the matter and so we welcome all efforts that can be pursued at the United Nations level,” said the European Commission chief.
“Now what we need is the political will to give an answer to that challenge” of climate change, he added.
Mr. Ban, who met the Commission’s president earlier this year in Europe, welcomed an EU scheme to slash emissions of harmful gases by 20 per cent by 2020, calling it a “very important initiative” and pledging his support. He also lauded the EU’s efforts to garner the participation of developing countries to reduce their emissions.
On his separate meeting with former US Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore today, Mr. Ban said he was “very much encouraged by his firm commitment, as well as voluntary willingness to help the cause of the United Nations” regarding global warming.
Mr. Ban stated that he hopes to work closely with Mr. Gore to mobilize countries and “enhance the awareness of the international community with this issue.”
Among the other issues discussed by Mr. Ban and Mr. Barroso were the Darfur situation and UN reform.
Regarding Darfur, Mr. Barroso stated that the EU has made a commitment to boost support to Africa and expressed his gratitude to the Secretary-General for shedding light on what “we can and should be doing to put an end to that very dramatic situation.”
He also underscored the importance of UN reform, saying that restructuring is vital to maintain the world body’s credibility. To further the causes of development, human rights and global security, “a more efficient, more modern United Nations” is necessary, he argued.