General Assembly president urges sustained momentum on climate change
The President of the United Nations General Assembly today opened its annual high-level debate with a call for action to sustain the international momentum generated by yesterday’s high-level meeting on addressing the problem of climate change.
“Climate change and its dramatic effects are increasingly visible and increasingly violent. The irony is that those least responsible for it will suffer most. Yesterday, many of you reaffirmed this, and sent a strong political message that the time for action had come,” General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said, urging countries to build on Monday’s historic gathering on climate change.
Convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to jumpstart international action on the issue, the daylong event attracted the participation of top officials from over 150 nations, including 80 heads of State or government.
The President stressed the need to map out a way forward. “First we need to take stock – to outline the instruments we have and structures necessary to address climate change; then a clear vision of the way forward; and, finally a strategy to get us there together.”
In addition to climate change, the President restated his key priorities for the current session, including financing for development; the global antipoverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); countering terrorism; and renewing the management, effectiveness and coherence of this organization, including Security Council reform.
“Modernizing our management and implementing greater coherence across the system will enable this organization to deliver better results on all the priorities I have outlined,” he said, calling on all present to support the Secretary-General’s efforts to make the UN more effective.
“Together, dealing systematically with substance, the General Assembly can demonstrate its global leadership on these important issues. To revitalize this ‘house’ is also to renew our faith in each other, and this Organization’s cherished values,” he said.
President Kerim also pointed to a change in global dynamics. “The basic values, norms and principles of international relations world are undergoing a profound transition,” he said. Noting disparities in wealth and education, he emphasized the need to “move the world towards a sense of genuine belonging, shared opportunity and responsibility.”
The General Assembly leader also urged action to address key global hotspots, calling on those present to “use all the opportunities presented to us during the course of this session to advance towards durable peace, especially in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur.”
The General Assembly “should be more of a dialogue, not a monologue; more engaging and insightful,” he said, urging a focus on results based on a “spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.”