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A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations. The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.
The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.
President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall
Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being in 2020.
The chairman of the group representing some of the world’s poorest countries called the deal historic, adding: “We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures.
“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall. Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being.
The measures in the agreement included:
• To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
• To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
• To review progress every five years
• $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
Analysis: The BBC’s Matt McGrath in Paris
The speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief. The influence of the COP president, Laurent Fabius, cannot be overstated. His long diplomatic career gave him a credibility seldom matched in this arena. He used his power well.
The deal that has been agreed, under Mr Fabius, is without parallel in terms of climate change or of the environment. It sets out a clear long term temperature limit for the planet and a clear way of getting there. There is money for poor countries to adapt, there is a strong review mechanism to increase ambition over time. This is key if the deal is to achieve the aim of keeping warming well below 2C.
More than anything though the deal signifies a new way for the world to achieve progress – without it costing the Earth. A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.
Ahead of the deal being struck, delegates were in a buoyant mood as they gathered in the hall waiting for the plenary session to resume.
Mr Fabius was applauded as he entered the hall ahead of the announcement.
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande called the proposals unprecedented, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on negotiators to “finish the job”.
Some aspects of the agreement will be legally binding, such as submitting an emissions reduction target and the regular review of that goal.
However, the targets set by nations will not be binding under the deal struck in Paris.
Observers say the attempt to impose emissions targets on countries was one of the main reasons why the Copenhagen talks in 2009 failed.
At the time, nations including China, India and South Africa were unwilling to sign up to a condition that they felt could hamper economic growth and development.
The latest negotiations managed to avoid such an impasse by developing a system of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
In these, which form the basis of the Paris agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, nations outline their plans on cutting their post-2020 emissions.
An assessment published during the two-week talks suggested that the emission reductions currently outlined in the INDCs submitted by countries would only limit global temperature rise by 2.7C.
Nick Mabey, chief executive of climate diplomacy organisation E3G, said the agreement was an ambitious one that would require serious political commitment to deliver.
“Paris means governments will go further and faster to tackle climate change than ever before,” he said. “The transition to a low carbon economy is now unstoppable, ensuring the end of the fossil fuel age.”
UN climate conference 30 Nov – 11 Dec 2015
The Secretary-General said: “I am heartened by the significant and growing coalitions that are emerging to tackle the challenges of climate change and realize new opportunities. I am pleased to be joined by so many key partners to scale climate action efforts and make them sustainable.”
The Secretary-General, joined by the World Bank; the Global Environment Facility; the Compact of Mayors and Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; We Mean Business; and the University of Maryland, will co-sponsor a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities and localities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 in Washington, D.C.
This high-level gathering will complement ongoing implementation efforts and catalyze actionable, concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, including: cities; land use; resilience; energy; transport; tools for decision makers; and finance.
Source: UNFCC Newsroom
Caribbean leaders appear to be giving serious consideration to making a proposal requesting the gradual write-off of billions of dollars in external debt.
The issue was raised by Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena at a high-level meeting this morning that preceded yesterday’s official opening of the 36th regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.
She pointed out that 40 per cent of the Caribbean’s US$46 billion debt is to multinational agencies, with 14 per cent being bilateral.
Of that amount, she said, US$30 billion was accumulated between 1990 and 2014 as a result of natural disasters.
She described the situation facing regional states are serious, explaining that five Caribbean countries are among the most indebted in the world.
Bárcena said the problems are compounded by the vulnerabilities of Caribbean economies that are already facing a decline in foreign direct investment.
“Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis are the top five in the Caribbean,” she said. “Nobody talks about them. We all hear about Belize. Of course it represents one per cent of the global debt so we are not a systematic problem.”
The ECLAC official said “the time is ripe” for CARICOM states, along with the Caribbean Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to hammer out an agreement on a proposal for debt relief.
“The debt service payments should go to a resilience fund that can probably be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank. The resilience fund should be used . . . for infrastructure adaptation, sea defence.
“Another fund that should be very important is . . . an external micro economic fund. That fund is for external shocks. Who should support that external micro economic fund is the larger economies of Latin America, the Brazil and Columbia,” she said.
In his intervention, President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Warren Smith said Caribbean leaders need to show they are serious about change by making hard decisions.
“Even as we make a case for that debt relief we need to demonstrate to those with whom we are negotiating that we are prepared to take the tough decisions to do the right thing,” he told the meeting.
“We need to change the structure of our economies. We can’t continue to do what we have done in the past and expect different results.”
The discussion was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States Luis Almagro Lemes, and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma, among other officials.
Credit: Caribbean 360