UN Chief seeks to advance global agenda on climate change

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United Nations, Sep 18 (UNI) Climate change will be the main agenda for the one-day meeting here on September 24, when the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will confer with the heads of state and other top officials from more than 150 countries.

Titled 'The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change', the meeting is scheduled to take place just a day before the opening of the UN General Assembly's annual General Debate.

The high-level event will be attended by more than 70 heads of state or government. This largest meeting ever of world leaders on climate change aims at securing political commitment and building momentum for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali where negotiations about a new international climate agreement should start.

The Bali meeting, scheduled from December 3 to December 14, will convene the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

''Bali must advance a negotiating agenda to combat climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation and resource mobilization,'' said Mr Ban, who has made the issue one of his top priorities.

Bali must be the political response to the recent scientific reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. All countries must do what they could to reach agreement by 2009, and to have it in force by the expiry of the current Kyoto Protocol commitment period in 2012, the UN Chief added.

If no action was taken on greenhouse gases, the Earth's temperature could rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius or more. The effects of climate change were being felt already and the Arctic was warming twice as fast as the global average and adverse effects on human activities were documented, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Impacts of warming have also been observed in other regions and sectors, in particular on ecosystems. As glaciers retreat, water supplies are being put at risk. For populations living in dry lands, especially those in Africa, changing weather patterns threaten to exacerbate desertification, drought and food insecurity.

Other regions are expected to suffer from floods, sea level rise and extreme weather events.

Addressing a recent session of the UN General Assembly, Mr Ban said, ''We cannot go on this way for long. The time has come for decisive action on a global scale.'' According to the IPCC, climate change would affect everyone but it would hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

Industrialised countries could do the most to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with their greater economic and technological resources.

Developing countries are also taking steps to cut back on emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. To support these efforts, resources, tools and approaches are being identified by the international community.

According to the IPCC, strategies for adaptation should take into account environmental, economic and social concerns of sustainable development.

The meeting will focus on four themes: mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing, with speeches by world leaders and other heads of delegation. The UN Chief will address the media at the end of the event.


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