Senior UN official joins climate change financing advisory group

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD. Photo: Horasis

14 July 2010 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with promoting trade and development today accepted a request by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to join his advisory group on climate change financing to strengthen the world body’s role on that body.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), joins the other members of the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, which is co-chaired by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, and the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg.

Other principals on the 21-member team include the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, philanthropist George Soros, French Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment Christine Lagarde, and prominent British academic Nicholas Stern, as well as finance ministers, bank representatives, regional financial and monetary officials, and leading economists from around the world.

The Group is tasked with studying potential sources of revenue that can be used to help developing countries carry out activities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Such financing was promised during the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December of last year. According to the Copenhagen Accord, “in the context of meaningful action and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion a year by 2020” for such activities in developing countries.

Mr. Ban warned of the risks posed by inaction on climate change when he briefed reporters yesterday following the Group’s meeting in New York, during which it said it had made progress on the issue.

“The more we delay, the more we will pay – in lost opportunities, resources and lives,” Mr. Ban said.

Mr. Meles voiced confidence that the Group will be able to submit a “very robust” report to the Secretary-General by the end of October. For his part, Mr. Stoltenberg, who replaced former United Kingdom leader Gordon Brown last month as co-chair, noted that there are numerous sources of resources for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Mr. Supachai’s assumption of a seat on the team reflects the concerns of the Secretary-General “that the UN role is well understood by panel members, and also that specifics about the UN role are clearly included in the final report,” UNCTAD stated in a news release.

It added that Mr. Supachai, in his work, will “send a clear signal about the importance” of the UN role in securing financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation.


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