UN must coordinate action to address climate change, says new report

31 January 2008 –

The international community has recognized that the United Nations is “best suited” to tackle the pressing issue of climate change, and must step up cooperation across the system to meet the challenge, according to a new report made public today.

“The United Nations needs to be more than merely the sum of its parts,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in the report. “The challenge is to develop and implement effectively integrated economic, trade, social and environmental policies on mitigating and adapting to climate change.”

The report was prepared in response to a General Assembly resolution, ahead of its upcoming debate on 11-12 February, requesting a comprehensive overview of the UN’s activities pertaining to climate change.

Last December, the landmark UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia ended with 187 countries agreeing to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, on greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, the UN must “deliver as one” by “providing a neutral negotiating forum, establishing trust and galvanizing high-level political support,” the report states.

It also points out that some $15-20 trillion may be needed over the next quarter century to achieve sustainable energy, and the UN can provide assistance by helping countries make decisions based on sound scientific and technical data.

The newly released report also stresses the need to make the UN itself climate-neutral. To this end, Mr. Ban has tasked the Environmental Management Group, under the leadership of the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), to find the necessary approaches to make the world body “more climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable.”


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