General Assembly climate change debate ends with call for global cooperation

14 February 2008 –

The three-day General Assembly debate on climate changed wrapped up yesterday with the body’s President issuing a call for increased global partnerships to tackle the issue.

The event – entitled “Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and the World at Work” – was held at UN Headquarters in New York and included addresses by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; panels featuring media, government and business leaders; and plenary meetings featuring 115 delegates.

What is evident is “that the actions necessary to address climate change are so intertwined that they can only be tackled through combined efforts,” Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said in his closing remarks to the debate.

But despite the importance of partnerships, he underscored that individuals can also make a difference in the battle against global warming.

“Small contributions add up,” Mr. Kerim pointed out. “Many of our speakers made the case that we can all make a difference through simple changes to our daily behaviour.”

He also spotlighted the link between addressing climate change and sustainable development, nothing the need for the creation of low-carbon economies which can in turn promote growth.

Last December’s historic UN Climate Change Conference 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.

The Assembly President said yesterday that much work remains to be done to tackle climate change, and expressed his intention to convene two further meetings to contemplate more specific global warming issues: one will consider the impact of climate change on vulnerable countries while the other will focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability.

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