In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that time is running out to address climate change, a sentiment reflected by several speakers who called for cooperation on climate change.
Speakers proposed several actions, including: appointing a Special Representative on climate change and security; recognizing the potential of the Green Climate Fund to finance transitions to a green economy and sustainable development; “debt for adaptation” swaps; and a climate change roadmap.
25 September 2012: During the opening of the High-level Debate of the 67th session UN General Assembly (UNGA), several speakers called for global cooperation to address climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “action on climate change remains a major piece of unfinished business.”
Stressing that time is running out, Ban underscored that sustainable and green economy options offer opportunities for growth, innovation, jobs and long-term stability. Sprent Dabwido, President of Nauru, expressed concern that global ambition to address climate change has been downscaled and urged prioritizing pre-2020 mitigation ambition. Noting that climate change impacts are now unavoidable, Sprent Dabwido, President of Nauru, called on the UN to begin analyzing threats and addressing the security implications of climate change by appointing a Special Representative on climate change and security. Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, indicated that the Brazilian Government had voluntarily adopted targets on greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions and transformed them into legislation. She called on countries with a greater historical responsibility for climate change to fulfill their obligations.
On the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, said it offers an opportunity for progress and urged countries to implement agreements. Christopher Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands, said the Platform had moved the UNFCCC into a new chapter of a single, legally-binding protocol applying to all countries by 2020 while redoubling efforts to close the global mitigation gap.
On climate finance, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, President of Switzerland, said the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is key in financing transitions to a green economy and sustainable development. Loeak underlined that the Marshall Islands and other small island countries support “debt for adaptation” swaps. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia, expressed his country’s desire to host the Secretariat of the GCF.
Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir, Qatar, stated that the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, which will be hosted by his country, could produce a climate change roadmap. Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, emphasized the obligation of the international community to address climate change, including through defining and applying measures designed to adjust to new climatic conditions. François Hollande, President, France, called for adopting a long-term response to climate change. He informed that France could host a UN conference on climate change in 2015 to facilitate an agreement on a comprehensive climate deal. [UN Website on UNGA 67 High-level Debate]