Secretary-General stresses merits of switching to ‘green’ economy

30 January 2009

“Greening” the economy will result in the twin benefits of tackling climate change and stimulate job creation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Addressing reporters at a joint press conference with United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Ban said that many have come to understand the value of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

“It can help solve the economic crisis,” he emphasized. “It will create jobs and spur growth. It is a critical step towards a sustainable future, for rich nations as well as poor.”

The Secretary-General also issued a call to help the world’s poorest, underscoring the need for new partnerships to promote development, growth, global health and the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger.

Climate change featured prominently at the five-day meeting – which drew more than 2,500 people, including 40 Heads of State, top UN officials and business leaders – in the Swiss Alps city.

Sessions at the Forum focused on, among others, catalyzing resources for a low-carbon economy, the role of the media in raising awareness on the issue and the contribution that the travel and tourism sector can make in combating climate change.

Yesterday, Mr. Ban said in an address to the Forum that “climate change threatens all our goals for development and social progress. Indeed, it is the one true existential threat to the planet.”

But climate change “also presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity. By tackling climate change head-on we can solve many of our current troubles, including the threat of global recession,” he added. “We stand at a crossroads. It is important that we realize we have a choice. We can choose short-sighted unilateralism and business as usual. Or we can grasp global cooperation and partnership on a scale never before seen.”

The Secretary-General held several bilateral meetings today, including with Mr. Brown, during which the two leaders discussed Gaza and the Middle East peace process, an upcoming meeting of the so-called Group of 20 nations in London, climate change, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Sudan.

This weekend, he will travel to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to attend the summit of the African Union (AU).

 

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