Local governments have critical role to play in fight against climate change – Ban

Local governments have critical role to play in fight against climate change – Ban

National and local governments must work more closely together in tackling climate change if the world is going to mount an effective response to the problem, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as his continued to spotlight green issues during his official visit to China.

Mr. Ban toured the city of Xi'an, renowned for its 2,000-year-old terracotta warriors, and saw first-hand the efforts of local authorities to protect the environment and maintain cultural heritage while transforming the city into a more modern urban area that can handle its growing population.

He also met with the Governor of Shaan'Xi province, visited a solar energy research centre and a sewage treatment site, and toured the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, which is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

In his meetings Mr. Ban praised local authorities for their efforts and urged national and local governments worldwide to better integrate their approaches to climate change to ensure they are more effective.

“National governments can have their national policies, but after all it is provincial governments who have to implement these policies and even from this kind of bottom-up support, policies will be much more effective than to-down policies,” he said.

“Top-down policies by the central government and bottom-up policies by the local governments, one day united,” means that the world can successfully address climate change and sustainable economic development, according to the Secretary-General.

Mr. Ban, on the second day of his visit to China, today also reiterated the importance of Chinese leadership for the global climate change talks being held in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.

Those talks are supposed to result in an emissions pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

Tomorrow Mr. Ban is slated to travel to Mongolia, where he will address the challenges of climate change and adaptation with an emphasis on the special needs of landlocked countries.

Mongolia is one of 30 landlocked developing countries, which face a number of constraints to their economic development, including lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs.

Mr. Ban is expected to meet with President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Prime Minister Bayar Sanj and Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold. He will also spend time in a traditional Mongolian herder community that is faced with water shortages and desertification.