|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Note to Correspondents
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER PLIGHT OF COUNTRIES
IMMEDIATELY THREATENED BY CLIMATE CHANGE AT 8 JULY SESSION
From the small island States that face inundation as a result of rising sea level to the countries that find themselves exposed to fiercer storms, desertification and droughts, the General Assembly will consider, at a special debate on 8 July, how the States most vulnerable to climate change can cope and adapt to an increasingly changing landscape.
“Climate change is anything but abstract,” says United Nations General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim. “It is about people who are suffering increased floods and droughts, it is about people who have to face re-emerging diseases linked with climate change, and it is about people, often the most vulnerable, who may have to leave their villages or their countries when it becomes unbearable to live with the damage climate change brings.”
He added: “We need to reconcile the economic aspirations of people in developing countries, in particular the poor and most vulnerable ones, with the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge is to find policies, instruments and technologies that can create low-carbon economies which promote sustainable economic growth and provide incentives for individuals to change behaviour. This meeting is intended to help us meet this challenge.”
The countries most vulnerable to climate change include a wide range of developing countries. Many small island developing States are already experiencing considerable erosion due to storm surges and sea level rise. They are, as well, suffering from increasing contamination of soil and drinking water due to the intrusion of salt water. Many countries are likely to experience a decrease in water runoff by 10-30 per cent over some dry regions, dry tropics and some semi-arid areas, due to decreases in rainfall and higher rates of evapotranspiration, including parts of Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe. It is projected that by 2020, between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa alone will be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.
This will be the third debate that President Kerim has convened on climate change, which he has called the “flagship” issue of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly. The one-day panel discussion is not only designed to raise awareness of the peril facing the most vulnerable States, but also to provide real proposals that feed into the negotiations that are under way to forge a global agreement to address climate change. That agreement, which is to be completed in Copenhagen next year, will need to take into account the perspective of the most vulnerable States.
The negotiations, called for at last year’s Bali Climate Conference, are taking place under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and are seeking to reach a new global climate change deal to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and assist efforts to adapt to climate change. A new agreement is also intended to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries, increase investment for climate change, and reduce emissions from deforestation.
For more information, please visit www.un.org/ga/president/62/ThematicDebates/thematicdebates or www.un.org/climatechange.
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