On Tuesday, 11 December, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Denpasar, Bali, from Bangkok, Thailand, to attend the high-level segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
That afternoon, Mr. Ban held separate meetings with Humberto Rosa, Secretary of State for the Environment of Portugal; Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister for Environment and Tourism of South Africa; and Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs of the United States. He also held a working session with his Climate Change Special Envoys Gro Harlem Brundtland, Han Seung-soo and Ricardo Lagos Escobar.
He gave an opening address to a panel debate on “the threat posed by climate change to the world’s poor and strategies for mitigation and adaptation”, during a United Nations Development Programme-sponsored event on its Human Development Report. (See Press Release SG/SM/11322)
He also met with a group of young people from the Kiko network, a Japanese non-governmental organization, marking the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.
That evening, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia entertained the Secretary-General and participants of the Conference at a dinner in Garuda Wisna Kencana Cultural Park.
On that day, 11 December, two bomb blasts in the Algerian capital of Algiers killed 17 United Nations staff. The Secretary-General personally condemned the terrorist attacks as “an abject and cowardly strike against civilian officials serving humanity’s highest ideals under the United Nations banner”. (See Press Release SG/SM/11324)
On the following day, from Bali, the Secretary-General addressed the General Assembly in New York by video link, calling the Algiers attack a despicable strike against individuals serving humanity’s highest ideals. (See Press Release SG/SM/11326)
That morning, he addressed the high-level segment of the Climate Change Conference. He told the 6 Heads of State and 144 Government representatives gathered there that climate change is “the moral challenge of our generation”, and that “the eyes of the world are upon us” to do something about it. (See Press Release SG/SM/11325)
The Secretary-General said he was encouraged by progress in the negotiations so far, including agreements on adaptation, deforestation and technology, and called for the adoption of an agenda, with a road map and timeline, for reaching a deal by 2009.
Answering questions from the media later, the Secretary-General said that it might be too ambitious to expect delegations to reach an agreement on emissions targets while at Bali, but he stressed the importance of launching an urgent negotiating process.
Bilateral meetings that day included talks with Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia; Celso Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil; Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Maldives; Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany; Jean-Louis Borloo, State Minister, Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning of France; Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank; Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy of Denmark; Lee Kyoo-Yong, Minister for Environment of the Republic of Korea; and Munir Akram, Chair of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations.
He also met that day with representatives of civil society organizations and attended, that evening, a working dinner with heads of United Nations agencies present in Bali.
On his third day in Bali, the Secretary-General continued an intensive series of bilaterals on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference, meeting with several ministers as well as business leaders attending the high-level segment. He met separately with Alexander Bedritsky, Head of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring; John Baird, Minister for the Environment of Canada; Ichiro Kamoshita, Minister for Environment of Japan; Xie Zhenhua, Minister and Vice-Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission of China; Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Environment and Forests of India; and Ali Bin Ibrahim, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources of Saudi Arabia. He also met with Nobel Laureate Al Gore, who arrived that day in Denpasar and who addressed a side event at the Bali meeting.
They discussed the state of play of the negotiations and some key pending issues. These included dissemination of technology, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and how the negotiating process could proceed. They also discussed the Adaptation Fund to help developing countries cope with the impact of climate change.
The Secretary-General also met Indonesian President Yudhoyono and participated in a special four-hour session organized by the President for the Heads of State and Government of Australia, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Singapore, present in Bali.
Throughout the day, the Secretary-General continued to stress that the parties need to agree to launch negotiations in Bali, agree on a clear agenda for those negotiations and set a definite timeline for the conclusion of negotiations -- by 2009.
Following a day’s visit to Timor-Leste, the Secretary General returned to Bali on Saturday, 15 December, because of the very critical phase of the negotiating process at the Climate Change Conference.
Saying he was disappointed at the lack of progress, he appealed to delegates to make the necessary agreements and not to risk all that had been achieved. “Seize the moment, this moment, for the good of all humanity,” he pleaded. (See Press Release SG/SM/11336)
Hours later, the conference of parties adopted a “road map”, which the Secretary-General strongly welcomed in a statement. (See Press Release SG/SM/11337)
Later that day, Mr. Ban departed Indonesia and travelled to Paris, where the following Monday he would participate in a donors’ conference on Palestine.