Doha Conference Must Send ‘Clear Message’ on 2015 Climate Deal, Secretary-General Says, Telling Executive Heads of United Nations System to ‘Prove Doubters Wrong’

4 December 2012
SG/SM/14698-ENV/DEV/1331

Doha Conference Must Send ‘Clear Message’ on 2015 Climate Deal, Secretary-General Says, Telling Executive Heads of United Nations System to ‘Prove Doubters Wrong’

4 December 2012
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14698 ENV/DEV/1331
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Doha Conference Must Send ‘Clear Message’ on 2015 Climate Deal, Secretary-General

Says, Telling Executive Heads of United Nations System to ‘Prove Doubters Wrong’

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Chief Executives Board meeting on “The UN system Delivering as One on Climate Change:  Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action”, in Doha on 4 December:

Dear leaders of climate change.  Thank you for your participation and support and commitment for climate change.

For the last several years, the climate change meetings, the COP (Conference of the Parties) sustainable development meeting, the United Nations has been convening these CEB (Chief Executives Board) meetings to show that the United Nations leaders are committed and are working together with you in addressing all these very important issues, including climate change.

Today we are in Doha.  This is the first time to ever hold the climate change meeting in a Gulf State and the second time in the Arab world.  A group of countries in [the] Arab [world], they are playing a very important part in working together in addressing climate change and this is an important building block.  Of course, we expect from this Doha meeting that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will be adopted and will continue, and we also hope that there will be a strong political commitment by the leaders attending this meeting, so that we reaffirm our commitment and our agreement, which was done in Durban last year, that we will make this globally binding agreement on climate change to be reached by 2015; that we will have to present a clear picture of climate change financing — $100 million a year by 2020.

Short-term financing is going to expire by the end of this month; then we [will] have to agree on mid-term financing by 2015 from next year, then ultimately by 2020 — $100 million.  A Green Climate Fund Secretariat has already been established in Sombong, [Republic of] Korea, and this is almost an empty shell.  How to fill this empty shell with $100 million?  That will be a very important one; that will do something about our own credibility; that will do something about giving confidence and trust and a sense of hope to many in the developing world, particularly those vulnerable countries.  We have to make it happen.

This morning, I have convened an informal brainstorming session where ministers and business community leaders, civil society, as well as former AGF — Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing — members participated.  There are many options — workable options.  They are on the table; they are in the hands of the Member States.  How, in a balance[ed] way, to organize our plan for $100 million will be a very important one.  Therefore my expectation in this Doha meeting is that first, we come out with strong commitment on [the] second commitment period for the Protocol; [second], a strong commitment on [a] globally binding legal framework on climate change by 2015, which will ultimately be effective by 2020; and [third] mobilize this money — $100 million. 

Those are three maybe expectations.  I learned that [there] are some mixed feelings — optimism or pessimism — but we have to work on the basis of optimism.  If there is no optimism, there is no result; this is what I am asking you. 

The United Nations is very much committed. A report by UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme], WMO [World Meteorological Organization] and World Bank suggests that we are the problem.  Climate change is approaching fast, much faster, than we expect and we know.  The recent Hurricane Sandy which struck many countries in the Caribbean and also New York, Manhattan and New Jersey - that was tragic - I have never seen such tragic things.  I was not in the United States during the time of Katrina - but this is the second most serious destructive hurricane, also this is very tragic and destructive.   It has given us some awakening call, a call to action: that before it is too late, we have to take action.

Doha is an important milestone pointing towards 2015, when we will finally be able to agree on this climate agreement, and I really count on your strong commitment.  As the Secretary-General, I am not going to engage in negotiating; that’s not my mandate.  But as the Secretary-General, I have a broad mandate to talk about peace and security, and well-being and prosperity, development, sustainable development, that’s my responsibility.  So therefore, I’m really going to continue to press Member States, in a political way.  I don’t have any tools to press you physically [laughter], but I have important tools, moral tools to urge leaders and I am sure we are in the good hands of his Highness here, al-Attiyah, President of COP 18, and his leadership, and I am sure that we will have a very good outcome.

I’m going to meet major groupings of countries or individual countries to discuss how we can work together.  You are all important building blocks.  When all these building blocks are united, I think we can make it happen.  We have a responsibility as I have often said, that we have a moral responsibility, and as ministers and as leaders, you have a political responsibility for our future generation.  Please remember that we are loaning our future from our next generation.  That is a very important factor that we should never forget. 

Let us avoid our scepticism.  Let us prove wrong all those doubters on climate change and let us also avoid obstructions by certain people, who that when they present technically impossible and practically sometimes impossible, but ideally very visionary things.  We are now in the beginning of this process, so it is important that we come out of Doha with a clear message, the sense of hope that this can be done by 2015, and I really count on your leadership and strong commitment.  Your voices are much important, and I will add my own voice to your voices.  And I really thank the leaders of United Nations, World Bank and the Member States for all your leadership. 

Thank you very much.

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