General Assembly winds up calling for action on climate change

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United Nations, Oct 4 (UNI) The UN General Assembly concluded its 62nd session with a high-level debate characterised by calls for action to address climate change and other pressing international concerns.

Addressing the closing session, UNGA president Srgjan Kerim thanked delegates and world leaders for their ''insightful'' contributions during the debate.

''The presence of almost a hundred heads of state and government as well as about 80 ministers for foreign affairs is a mark of the importance the world places on this unique assembly,'' he said.

Reflecting on the views expressed by a majority of leaders during the session, he urged action on climate change and global warming, cautioning the nations about accelerated melting of the Arctic.

''You have sent a strong political message that the time for talk has passed and that the time for action has begun,'' he told the gathering, declaring that climate change has become the flagship issue of the current Assembly session.

''Numerous participants endorsed the idea of a road map to coordinate the United Nations system on climate change,'' he added.

The 192-member Assembly chief specifically mentioned the planned meeting at Bali in December which aims to devise a sucessor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which limits greenhouse gas emissions but is set to expire in 2012.

''It is now up to you to deliver,'' he remarked.

Other issues which received close attention during the debate included the global anti-poverty targets collectively known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need for progress on financing for development ahead of the Doha Conference in 2008 and a broad desire to achieve consensus on a comprehensive convention against terrorism.

Participants also touched upon the importance of adherence to international law, human security and discussed regional hotspots such as West Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and Myanmar.

He called for reforms in the working of the security council so that it reflects contemporary realities and called for a broader role for the General Assembly in solving the vexed issues confronting world peace and environment.

At the outset of the debate, the president had indicated five priority areas -- climate change, financing for development, countering terrorism, the MDGs (millennium development goals) and management reform.

In total, 189 member states addressed the high-level debate, along with two observers -- the Holy See (the Vatican) and Palestine. A total of 67 heads of state, 25 heads of government, four vice-presidents, 13 deputy ministers, 66 foreign ministers, two other ministers, four deputy ministers and eight delegation leaders spoke to mark the occasion.


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