Global consensus on climate change more feasible now – Assembly President

General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim

8 July 2008 – Not only is it more pressing than ever, but it is now more achievable than ever for the international community to reach agreement on how to combat climate change, Srgjan Kerim, President of the United Nations General Assembly, said today.

“To achieve this we need to build on our previous work and strengthen the ability of the UN system to assist vulnerable countries build their capacity and capability to adapt, while ensuring that the system works together more coherently to deliver more than the sum of its parts,” he told a special one-day Assembly debate on the issue.

The head of the 192-member body also called for stepped up efforts to transfer technology to developing countries that cannot otherwise afford it, as well as to ensure sufficient funding to help the neediest.

“We have the technological capability and scientific know-how,” he said, but warned that “a global consensus can only be secured if all countries can share in the benefits from action to address it – in particular the most vulnerable countries.”

Emphasizing that addressing global warming is intrinsically linked to sustainable development, the President also voiced concern over the impact of climate change on least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).

Also addressing the debate, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro underscored the “particularly immediate and severe” burden placed on the poor by climate change.

Citing the UN’s Human Development Report, she noted that 1 in 19 people in developing countries will likely feel the impact of global warming, compared to only 1 in 1,500 in the 30 industrialized and market-economy countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Ms. Migiro pointed out that the most vulnerable risk being flooded out of their homes, face greater health risks and find access to water impeded by climate change.

“These trends would be alarming enough individually, but taken together they amount to a development crisis – unless action is taken on a war-footing, the world will not only miss the Millennium Development Goals, we will see existing development gains unravel as well,” she said, referring to the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

Today’s debate was the third one on climate change convened by Mr. Kerim during the Assembly’s 62nd session.


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