|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Tells Ibero-American Summit: We Cannot Afford to Fail
in Copenhagen; The Longer We Wait, the Worse It Will Be
(Delayed in transmission.)
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Ibero-American Summit, in Estoril, Portugal, on 29 November, as delivered by António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
It is a pleasure to send greetings to the Heads of State and Government attending this important Summit. Regional and other intergovernmental organizations are key partners of the United Nations, and the Ibero-American Conference is no exception. Thank you for the firm support that you individually, and as a group, extend to the United Nations and to me as Secretary-General.
Our cooperation encompasses many areas. Ibero-American countries are increasingly participating in peacekeeping, such as our operation in Haiti. You are working with us to promote South-South cooperation, to respond to the global economic crisis and to make international economic decision-making more inclusive. We also cooperate to promote human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, and to advance democratization. I attach great importance to this multi-faceted partnership.
Today, at this Summit which has innovation and knowledge as its key topics, I wish to make a special appeal to you on the need to address the challenge of climate change. Our knowledge dictates that we must act now. Our capacity to innovate should be put to use without delay.
The crucial United Nations summit on climate change is now just a week away. Some news headlines say Copenhagen is destined to be a disappointment. They are wrong. Each week brings new commitments and pledges ‑‑ from industrialized countries, emerging economies, and developing States. The countries of the Americas are taking on a growing role. The momentum is strong ‑‑ and continues to grow. I am confident we are on track to achieve a firm foundation for a legally binding climate treaty as early as possible in 2010.
Some 65 world leaders have pledged to attend the summit. My message to you today is simple: your leadership is crucial. I urge you to accept Danish Prime Minister [Lars Løkke] Rasmussen’s invitation to come to Copenhagen for the final days of this critical conference. I urge you to arrive ready to seal a deal ‑‑ a deal that is ambitious and equitable; a deal that satisfies the demands of science; a deal that cuts greenhouse gas emissions, protects the most vulnerable and points the way towards a greener, cleaner, more sustainable future.
We cannot afford to fail. The costs are simply too great. Countries in the Ibero-American region are well acquainted with the destruction that climate change can generate. The longer we wait, the worse it will be. I look forward to your leadership in reaching an accord and in implementing it. Thank you for your commitment, and please accept my best wishes for a successful Summit.
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