United Nations agencies and their partners are calling on the world’s leading industrialized nations, on the eve of their Group of Eight (G8) summit, to take bold steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
Climate change will feature prominently on the agenda, when leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States meet tomorrow in Heiligendamm, Germany, for their three-day summit.
Today, the heads of more than 20 leading financial service companies – members of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Finance Initiative – called on G8 leaders to adopt deep emission reduction targets no later than 2009.
They fear that “unchecked climate change” could lead to an increase in climate-related disasters and include annual economic losses that could rise to as much as $1 trillion by 2040.
“Many of the effects of climate change are beginning to be manifested and the threats posed by continued warming will affect – and even possibly disrupt – the operation of markets, societies, ecosystems and cultures,” the group stated.
Meanwhile, senior officials from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Convention on Biodiversity and the World Conservation Union and their partners encouraged G8 leaders to protect the diversity of life on earth and support adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, stated that “climate change and biodiversity loss, two strongly linked issues, are poised to interfere with, and even reverse, progress that is being made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” – specific targets agreed to by world leaders for reducing poverty and achieving major advances in health, education, environment and equality by 2015.
The two issues could also disrupt economies and international trade, as well as fuel international conflict over access to natural resources, Dr. Djoghlaf added.
Also today, UNDP named banking and insurance leader Fortis as the financial services provider for UNDP’s MDG Carbon Facility, thereby making the Facility – designed to harness the vast resources of the carbon market to bring long-term sustainable development to developing countries – operational.
Under the terms of the partnership, announced in Berlin, UNDP will help developing countries conceive projects intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and will ensure that these projects meet the Kyoto Protocol’s agreed standards and deliver real, sustainable benefits to the environment and broader human development.
Fortis will then purchase and sell the emissions-reduction credits generated by these projects. The proceeds will provide developing countries and communities with a new flow of resources to finance much needed investment and to promote development.
The issue of global climate change is also being discussed at the Junior 8 Summit, an international youth conference in Wismar, Germany, this week with an agenda that mirrors that of the G8 summit.
A joint initiative sponsored by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Morgan Stanley International Foundation, “J8” aims to strengthen the voice of children and young people and enhance their ability to influence decisions with the G8.