The Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 24 Sep 2007 04:00:00 GMT

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will convene an informal high-level event in New York on the margins of the General Assembly on 24 September to promote discussion on possible ways to move the international community toward negotiations on new global agreement on climate change at the upcoming United Nations climate change conference in Bali in December.

The Secretary-General hopes that world leaders will send a powerful political signal to the negotiations in Bali that “business as usual” will not do and that they are ready to work jointly with others towards a comprehensive multilateral framework for action on climate change for the period after 2012.

The Secretary-General informed Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations of the event, which will be informal and will seek to reaffirm the importance of addressing climate change in a global forum and provide an opportunity to involve all countries in the multilateral process. The high-level event would not seek to engage Governments in negotiations on the outcomes in Bali nor seek a negotiated outcome.

The Secretary-General has repeatedly stated that climate change is a major global challenge and he intends to take a leadership role in helping the international community address the problem. As the only global forum, the United Nations is uniquely positioned to forge a common approach to combating climate change. He has stated that all countries are experiencing it, all countries are becoming more conscious of the need to address this issue and the time for action is now.

Earlier this year, the Secretary-General appointed three Special Envoys to assist him with consultations with Governments on how he might facilitate progress in the multilateral climate change negotiations within the UN, as well as their views on a possible high-level event later this year. The Special Envoys are: H.E. Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development, H.E. Mr. Han Seung-soo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and former President of the 56th session of the UN General Assembly; and H.E. Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar, former President of Chile.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is among the leaders who plan to attend.

9:00 am – 9:45 am: Opening Plenary Meeting Opening by the Secretary-General, with the participation of the President of the 62nd session of the General Assembly and the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Morning session 10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Thematic Plenaries (taking place in parallel)
  • Thematic Plenary I — Adaptation “The challenge of adaptation — from vulnerability to resilience”
  • Thematic Plenary II — Mitigation “Reducing emissions and stabilizing the climate — safeguarding our common future”
  • Thematic Plenary III — Technology “Innovating a climate-friendly world— the role of technology and its dissemination”
  • Thematic Plenary IV — Financing “Financing the response to climate change — investing in tomorrow”

Afternoon session 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm: Side Event for Leaders “Global voices on climate change” Hosted by Kenya, Indonesia, Poland and Denmark

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Thematic Plenaries Continued from the morning sessions

Closing 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm: Closing Closing and presentation of Chair’s Summary by the Secretary-General