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Building on momentum, General Assembly to convene climate change debate

7 February 2008 - In a bid to build on the momentum generated by last December's landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the General Assembly will host a two-day debate on the crucial issue next week in New York.

Assembly President Srgjan Kerim – who has made global warming a top priority – underscored that the UN cannot combat the problem on its own.

“What is needed is a common vision, a global consensus, a global alliance for action,” he observed. “Only then will we have a chance to tackle this enormous challenge to our lives.”

The Bali 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, on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our aim is to support that process,” Mr. Kerim noted. “We need to keep the momentum created by the Bali Roadmap.”

The debate, taking place on 11 and 12 February, will feature speakers such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and will include panels with participants from the private sector, media, Government representatives and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Nearly two dozen Government ministers are expected to take part in the Assembly debate.

In a related development, a convention backed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has joined forces with a European Community initiative to improve efforts to halt illegal trafficking of hazardous and other wastes.

The UNEP-administered Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal has 170 Parties, and seeks to protect humans and the environment from the adverse impacts of hazardous wastes.

Created in 1992, the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) aims to ensure that environmental legislation is effectively implemented and enforced within the European Community.