PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL, LEADERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE HOSTS

24 September 2008

PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL, LEADERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE HOSTS

24 September 2008
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

press conference by Secretary-General, leaders of CLIMATE CHANGE conference HOSTS

In the lead-up to the climate change conference in Poznań, Poland, this December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and leaders from the “Troika” of climate change conference hosts -- Indonesia, Poland and Denmark -- raised a call to other world leaders to join them in preparing for successful negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol before the 2009 deadline.

Addressing a Headquarters press conference this morning, Secretary-General Ban described the next gathering of States at Poznań as a bridge to next year’s meeting of States Parties to the Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen, where the international community would be expected to agree on a successor to Kyoto.

Describing climate change as the “defining issue of our time”, the Secretary-General noted that it was inextricably linked to such issues as food security, energy, trade, finance and health.  “If national leaders are able to rise above their immediate national concerns and look after the global good, I will do all I can to facilitate a global deal.”

The Secretary-General said that, in order to ensure a “ratifiable” treaty would be tabled in Copenhagen, it had been necessary for him and other interested parties to raise the conversation on climate change to the highest political levels, including informal meetings with Troika leaders on how to enlist the involvement of other leaders so as to strengthen political leadership on the climate change question.

Appearing alongside the Secretary-General were two leaders from the Conference of Parties Troika:  Lech Kaczyński, President of Poland, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark.  The third member, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, was represented by Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  Their first informal meeting took place on 12 September via video link.

The group had agreed to use public events to promote their cause, including global meetings on finance and trade, the Secretary-General said, adding that their chief concern was ensuring a clearly defined work programme for the gathering in Copenhagen.  For participants at the upcoming Poznań meeting, that meant arriving at a list of key elements necessary to a successful treaty, including a clear outline of the kinds of institutions needed to help nations address climate change.

He said it would also be necessary to ensure that the United Nations Climate Change Adaptation Fund, established in 2006, was ready to finance projects, sending a clear signal from developed countries that they were ready to discharge their responsibilities to less developed nations.  It was the group’s goal to expand the informal alliance to include more leaders, so as to lay the foundations for an enabling environment for the negotiators from environment, trade, energy, agriculture and finance ministries expected to descend on Copenhagen in 2009.

President Kaczyński said the informal alliance of Indonesia, Poland and Denmark was a fortuitous gathering of nations of varying histories and geographic locations.  The leadership of those countries was helpful in a situation where nations were attempting “something that is extremely difficult to achieve”.  The eventual treaty must be ratified by as many States as possible in order to have the right kind of effect.  If all went well, the Poznań conference would see deepening solidarity between rich and poor.

Prime Minister Rasmussen suggested that major sticking points must be discussed in Poznań and not left up to the last minute in Copenhagen.  Among key elements that, hopefully, would be discussed in December was the importance of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.  Discussions should also focus on the technology needed to achieve that goal.  “We need serious engagement of the highest political level and we need it now.”  Only Heads of State and Government could deal with “the real political tough nuts” while injecting the necessary urgency into the climate change talks.

Mr. Wirajuda expressed agreement on the need to overcome differences quickly, pointing out that climate change talks continued to be hampered by persistent mistrust between developed and developing countries.  It was to be hoped that the Troika, working with the Secretary-General, could help the international community “shift gears” and “speed up its work” of developing a treaty to replace the soon-to-be defunct Kyoto Protocol.  “Requirements for successful negotiations are good preparations, effective communication and leadership.  We must ensure that these are present in great abundance in Poznań.”

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.