Climate change was the focus today as Ban Ki-moon kicked off his first visit to Seattle as United Nations Secretary-General, setting out to see firsthand the efforts of United States citizens, communities and businesses to protect the environment.
There are just 42 days left until countries meet in Copenhagen to 'seal the deal' on a new global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, which Mr. Ban has called “the defining challenge of our era.”
Today in Seattle, the Secretary-General is slated to attend an event for children as part of the Shrinking Bigfoot programme, an interactive project sponsored by Seattle City Light to help young people learn about climate change and environmental issues.
Launched in November 2008, the initiative focuses on empowering children to shrink their carbon footprints with easy, everyday actions such as turning off the lights and recycling.
Mr. Ban is also scheduled to meet today with local leaders, civil society groups, the private sector and community representatives to discuss climate change and environmental and economic sustainability.
In addition, he will call for renewed multilateralism and greater engagement on the major challenges of the day, including for climate change and for an agreement in Copenhagen, when he addresses the local chapter of the UN Association of the US (UNA-USA).