UNGA CLIMATE CHANGE EVENT FOCUSES ON POST-BALI TALKS AND PARTNERSHIPS
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The need for a global agreement on climate change for the post-2012 period, the importance of collaborative partnerships, and the role of the United Nations system were the focus of discussions during a three-day “thematic debate” in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The event, which met at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 11-13 […]

The need for a global agreement on climate change for the post-2012 period, the importance of collaborative partnerships, and the role of the United Nations system were the focus of discussions during a three-day “thematic debate” in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The event, which met at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 11-13 February 2008, took as its theme: “Addressing climate change: the United Nations and the world at work.”
The meeting, which went one day longer than originally scheduled, drew more than 100 high-level speakers from governments, the UN, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media, and other key stakeholders. The event opened with statements from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Secretary-General Ban stressed the priority of reaching a global agreement by the end of 2009 to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “A deal in Copenhagen, on time, and in full, is my priority and that of all the Funds, Programmes and Agencies of the United Nations family,” he said, referring to the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Denmark from 30 November to 11 December 2009.
On the first day, participants held high-level panel discussions focused on partnerships and on the work of the United Nations. During a panel discussion entitled “Responding to a multifaceted challenge: the UN at work,” the Co-Chairs of the UN General Assembly consultations on International Environmental Governance (IEG), Peter Maurer (Switzerland) and Claude Heller (Mexico), noted that aside from the debate on scientific knowledge and the policy responses to the climate change challenge, the third dimension of IEG was how to organize the international community to respond more efficiently to these challenges. Drawing attention to the lack of coherence and coordination among the UN agencies dealing with the environment, the Co-Chairs underlined that strengthening IEG would be beneficial for all bodies managing environmental issues, including climate change. In addition, the Co-Chairs stressed the need to move the IEG process forward, and expressed their intention to facilitate a draft resolution in the near future.
At the conclusion of the first day’s sessions, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said countries participating in these talks had the responsibility to turn the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, into a success through a “truly comprehensive climate change strategy” that united the developed and developing worlds. De Boer also stressed that finance and technology mechanisms would be an essential component of the negotiations that lay ahead.
On the second day, a number of member States made statements. Antigua and Barbuda, speaking for the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said multilateral action should remain “fully rooted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol,” and that developing countries should receive technology, capacity building and other support “in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner,” as agreed in the Bali Action Plan. Slovenia, speaking for the EU, urged a global agreement for strong post-2012 action and also outlined the EU’s unilateral policy agreements on emissions and renewable energy. Other speakers addressed issues including reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, the vulnerability of small island developing States, and the role of public-private sector partnerships.
On the final day, member States commented on issues including “climate proofing” development assistance, the importance of energy efficiency, market mechanisms, clean technologies, financing for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, and the need to follow up on the Bali conference by designing and agreeing on an inclusive and effective post-2012 framework for global action. At the close of the meeting, Assembly President Srgjan Kerim reflected on the discussions, noting that the large number of speakers was a “testament to the importance of taking immediate practical action” to combat climate change. He highlighted speakers’ comments on the need for both long-term targets and short-term action and said the UN system must respond with policy solutions that could help member States answer some of the questions and issues raised during the discussions. He also announced that he would hold two additional meetings in 2008 that would focus on the concerns of vulnerable countries and on corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Links to further information
UN press statement/report (day one), 11 February 2008
UN press statement/report (day two), 12 February 2008
UN press statement/report (day three), 13 February 2008
UN press overview of meeting, 14 February 2008


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