Political will now, technicalities later: Ban Ki-moon


"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonIn 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," Ban said in a statement released by UN climate change chief Yvo de Boer in Denmark yesterday.

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

The UN has underlined the "essential elements" as enhanced action to help the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt--ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialised countries, nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries, 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," Ban said.

Around 192 countries that will meet in the Danish capital are expected to hammer out a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol since the first commitment period under this treaty ends in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 has strong, legally binding measures, committing 37 industrialised states to cut emissions by an average of 5 per cent against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.

UN scientists have underlined the need for aggregate emission reduction by industrialised countries of between minus 25 per cent and 40 per cent over 1990 levels by 2020 with global emissions falling by at least 50 per cent by 2050 despite deep-seated pessimism about the international community’s ability to reach an agreement at Copenhagen.

"This year, we have the wind in our sails. Governments are mobilised. 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," Ban said.

Last week, Ban called on heads of state and government to personally come and participate in closing days of the negotiations in the Danish capital.

"The Secretary-General believes it is essential to maintain political momentum at the highest level and from all sectors of society, and is optimistic than an ambitious, fair and effective climate deal can be reached at Copenhagen," read the statement.

This week, the head of the UN noted that key political issues remain unresolved, and called on the leaders who will be heading their national delegations to transform global political will into concrete outcomes in Copenhagen.

"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," Ban said.

Ban stressed the need for finances to help developing countries in two main areas--urgent adaptation action that can prevent loss of life and livelihood as well as assistance helps in planning the mitigation actions that can simultaneously achieve.

"To move ahead in these critical areas, urgent start-up finance is needed on the table in Copenhagen," the Secretary-General said.

"This would make possible the prompt implementation of adaptation measures as well as mitigation planning, technology cooperation, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) activities and capacity-building. "These are all areas where we can and must deliver real results," he added.

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