The General Assembly should set up a mechanism to devise a global strategy to deal with climate change that avoids the current fragmentation and pays particularly attention to the needs of small island States, Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said today.
Dr. Gonzi told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate that international institutions and organizations such as the United Nations should tackle the issue of global warming and its repercussions “in a more cohesive and concerted manner,” or future generations would pay the price.
“It is imperative that all actors involved in climate risk reduction take a unified stand on a strategy and action to strengthen the resilience of affected countries in building their ability to face and adapt to the adverse impact of climate change,” he said.
Dr. Gonzi said the General Assembly mechanism should also report on all the activities in the field of climate change over the past 20 years to help in proposing its strategy to deal with the problem.
The Prime Minister also welcomed the efforts of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to build momentum – including by holding a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday – on the issue.
“Malta looks forward to decisions at the Bali summit next December that will orient and accelerate action within the United Nations framework to obtain agreement on a comprehensive, effective, fair and urgent global strategy to limit climate change and adapt to its impacts.”
The negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, are aimed at hammering out a successor pact to the legally binding Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, which is set to expire in 2012.
Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski told the Assembly that “the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind in the years to come,” although he added that “to be objective, it should be noted at this point that many scientists represent dissenting views” about climate change and recent weather extremes.
Development does not have to be coupled with increased greenhouse gas emissions, he said, calling on wealthy nations to ensure that poorer States can take greater advantage of effective technologies and renewable energy sources.
“There is no doubt that deforestation in the developing countries increases the emissions of greenhouse gases and destroys biodiversity. We must counteract that. We cannot demand slower development of those countries at their expense. We must therefore help them in realistic and tangible ways.”