Global perspective Human stories

Secretary-General extends stay in Bali to pursue climate change negotiations

Secretary-General extends stay in Bali to pursue climate change negotiations

To continue forging ahead with his efforts to bring about a successful conclusion to the landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has extended his visit to the South-East Asian nation.

“The Secretary-General has decided to remain in Bali longer than originally scheduled because of the very critical phase of the negotiating process at the Climate Change Conference,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

“The successful launch of the negotiation process is a top priority for the Secretary-General, as well as the defining issue of our time, and he will devote as much effort as needed.”

In his third day in Bali, Mr. Ban held intensive bilateral discussions with government ministers – the environmental ministers of China, India and Japan, China’s Minister of National Development and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources – and business leaders attending the three-day high-level portion of the Conference.

Also meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, who arrived today in Indonesia, where the two conferred on the current state of negotiations and key issues, including technology dissemination and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

Additionally, they discussed how the negotiation process can proceed, as well as the Adaptation Fund, which aims to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries.

Mr. Ban also took part in a special session organized by the Indonesian President for the heads of State and government attending the Conference.

“Throughout the day, the Secretary-General continued to stress that the parties need to agree to launch negotiations here in Bali, agree on a clear agenda for those negotiations, and set a definite time line for the conclusion of negotiations – by 2009,” Ms. Okabe said.

Tomorrow, Mr. Ban departs Bali for a visit to Timor-Leste.

In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today urged action to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change.

“We are now facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges around the world, where climate change is combining with a boom in commodity prices, slipping levels of food aid, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS to increase the vulnerability of more and more people,” said the agency’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

The poorest and most vulnerable – who reside in countries heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture – are invariably most susceptible to the detrimental effects of global warming, she added.

Meanwhile, the Convention on Biological Diversity, hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), today launched a new adaptation website to further efforts to allow all of the planet’s life forms to cope with climate change.

The Earth’s numerous ecosystems and species must adapt to global warming, and this new site brings together tools created by governments, organizations and agencies to take stock of biodiversity considerations in their larger adaptation planning.

Thus, this scheme “has the potential of being a major tool to enhance synergies between biodiversity and climate change,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Convention’s Executive Secretary.

Also, the UN is partnering with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) to kick-start the spread in Africa of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, which allow industrialized countries to generate credits through investment in emission reduction projects in developing countries, by opening a new carbon forum in Senegal next September.

While nearly 900 such projects are in existence in 49 developing nations, a mere 2.6 per cent are in Africa.