Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development - Statement by Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
London, 1 November 2005

It is my distinct pleasure to participate in this post-Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. I greatly commend Prime Minister Blair for his leadership in advancing progress on this critical set of issues. And I bring the greetings and best wishes from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to all participants.

I would like to begin by remembering a friend and colleague to many of us here, Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter. Her leadership and tenacity as head of the Secretariat of the Convention on Climate Change should be an inspiration to us all.

With the growing intensity of extreme weather events and the warmer weather experienced in some regions, the need to promote a concerted and coherent response to climate change is more than ever apparent. The 2005 World Summit clearly recognized the seriousness and the global nature of this increasing threat to humanity. More than that, in one of the Summit’s key decisions on development, world leaders committed themselves to “move forward the global discussions on long-term cooperative action to address climate change.” It is incumbent upon us all to make every effort we can to meet this urgent challenge, and to start at the upcoming Montreal Conference on climate change [COP-11/MOP-1].

For action on this front, the Summit also underscored that “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate Framework for addressing future action on climate change at the global level”. The world should welcome all initiatives and partnerships to mitigate green house gas emissions and to promote energy efficiency and clean energy, such as the hydrogen economy, methane and carbon sequestration partnerships, and also the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, to name a few. But they should be consistent and seen as contributions to the basic multilateral framework.

To move forward on long-term cooperative action, as agreed by the world leaders, these and other initiatives must be integrated into a more inclusive international framework beyond 2012: a framework engaging the broad participation of all major players, developed and developing countries, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This means, as agreed at Rio and Johannesburg, that the primary responsibility for mitigating climate change and other unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must lie with the countries that contribute the most to the problems. The industrialized countries must take the lead in advancing this essential approach. But, whereas there are encouraging signs in some quarters, the overall trend is towards increasing emissions.

The Gleneagles Outcome presents a valuable opportunity to explore ways to bring all major actors on board, public and private, and to help mobilize the investments needed to change the global energy system and to advance adaptation efforts. Crucially, this Dialogue recognizes, from the outset, that climate action and energy use are interconnected and that the two issues must be approached in the wider context of sustainable development.

This interconnectedness has been strongly recognized by the Commission on Sustainable Development, the UN’s high-level policy forum on sustainable development. The 14th (2006) and 15th (2007) sessions of the Commission provide an invaluable opportunity to explore this link between climate change and energy, and to explore new areas of international cooperation to address the long-term challenges that the world faces in both areas.

Scientific advances and technological innovation have an important role to play in mitigating climate change and in facilitating adaptation to the new conditions. They must be mobilized now if we are to develop the tools needed in time. In particular, research and development funding for renewable energy sources, carbon mitigation and energy efficiency needs to increase substantially.

Policy measures should also be expanded. For instance, the use of different economic and positive incentives can send clear signals to the market and should therefore be promoted. The Carbon Market in general and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in particular need to be strengthened. A strong CDM can provide the resource flows required to make a difference in developing countries’ energy and transport infrastructure and technology choices.

Finally, we must quickly step up efforts to develop adaptation strategies with substantial financial and technical support to vulnerable developing countries. And those measures must be integrated into the broader sustainable development programs and strategies. We all know that the current financial resources available to developing countries to address climate change and to enhance their adaptive capacity are far from adequate. Now is the time to ensure that these resources are augmented, including through a substantial increase in the 4th Replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

I trust that the discussions in this Dialogue will help to advance the climate change agenda and to strengthen the multilateral framework for action, making a positive contribution to the Montreal Conference on climate change. The United Nations stands ready to work together with the Government of the United Kingdom and all the participants in this Dialogue to make it a success.