‘Opportunity Knocks; It Is Up to You to Open the Door’, Secretary-General Says in Message to Pre-Copenhagen Meeting, Urging Climate Change Deal

16 November 2009

‘Opportunity Knocks; It Is Up to You to Open the Door’, Secretary-General Says in Message to Pre-Copenhagen Meeting, Urging Climate Change Deal

16 November 2009
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘Opportunity Knocks; It Is Up to You to Open the Door’, Secretary-General


Says in Message to Pre-Copenhagen Meeting, Urging Climate Change Deal

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Pre-COP Meeting, held in Copenhagen, 16 to 17 November, as delivered today, 16 November, by Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

In just three weeks, Governments will gather here in Copenhagen to chart a new path forward ‑‑ one that can protect people and the planet from catastrophic climate change while catalysing global green growth.

Copenhagen will mark a milestone in international efforts to build a more sustainable relationship with our planet.

We must seize this opportunity to create a safer and more prosperous future for all, to reduce the emissions that are causing climate change, and to help the most vulnerable adapt to impacts that are already under way.

From all corners of the globe, we see unprecedented momentum for Governments to act quickly and decisively.

Heads of State and Government are now directly involved in climate change discussions to a degree previously unimaginable even a few short years ago.

At the September summit in New York, 101 world leaders signalled their determination to reach a deal in Copenhagen.

Since then, we have continued to see growing support from the highest levels of Government for a comprehensive outcome that ensures:  enhanced action to help the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt; ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialized countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries with the necessary support; significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources; and an equitable governance structure.

These are the essential elements of a Copenhagen deal ‑‑ a deal that can safeguard our common future while ushering in powerful new opportunities today for economic growth, enhanced security, and sustainable, climate-resilient development.

Real political commitment is needed to achieve these essential elements.  The technical details can be resolved at a later stage.

This year, we have the wind in our sails.  Governments are mobilized.  So, too, is much of the private sector.  Businesses around the world are clamouring for the policy signals that could unleash green investments and innovation and usher in a new era of clean energy prosperity.

Millions of people on every continent are demanding urgent, ambitious action on climate change.

Opportunity is knocking.  It is up to you to open the door.

Now is the time for you and your fellow ministers to take forward what your leaders called for at the September summit in New York.

The world is looking to you to transform those expressions of global political will into tangible outcomes in Copenhagen.  The science, the future of the global economy, and the fate of the planet require no less.

I applaud the progress that you have made in the negotiations to date.  But core political issues remain unresolved.

As ministers, you have a key role to play.

We need political agreement on the outline of a deal in Copenhagen to ensure that specific mitigation and adaptation actions can be swiftly implemented as of 2010.

Developing countries need assistance, particularly for urgent adaptation actions that can prevent loss of life and livelihoods.

Developing countries also need help in planning the mitigation actions that can pave the path to sustainable green growth.

To move ahead in these critical areas, urgent start-up finance is needed on the table in Copenhagen.  This would make possible the prompt implementation of adaptation measure, as well as mitigation planning, technology cooperation, REDD [reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation] activities and capacity-building.  These are all areas where we can ‑‑ and must ‑‑ deliver real results.

We need a comprehensive climate change deal that provides for short- and long-term action alike.

The engagement of world leaders is critical.  Your support is vital for ensuring that a global climate change deal stays at the forefront of their agendas.

The COP-15 president faces a challenging set of responsibilities in the days ahead.  I call on you and your delegations to support the COP presidency with a sense of common purpose.

The United Nations system, for its part, will continue to support Governments in achieving an ambitious outcome.

Similarly, the United Nations stands ready to “deliver as one” in helping Member States to implement adaptation and mitigation actions on the ground, drawing on the United Nations global expertise in energy, water, development and other relevant areas.

Let us work together.  Let us seize this moment to make Copenhagen the success the world wants and needs it to be.

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