Ban urges flexibility, political will in climate talks

Updated: 2007-12-13 11:22

BALI, Indonesia -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for "flexibility" and "political will" in speeding up the ongoing negotiations aimed at adopting a Bali roadmap for a future climate agreement.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday calls for "flexibility" and "political will" in speeding up the ongoing negotiations aimed at adopting a Bali roadmap for a future climate agreement. [Agencies]

"We work for success, we don't work for failure. We must succeed at this Bali meeting. We must be able to launch negotiations for an international agreement by 2009 with a clear agenda," the UN chief told an afternoon press briefing following the opening of the High-Level segment of the Climate Change Conference.

Mr. Ban pointed out that science has made it quite clear that "climate change is happening"and "the impact is real", but all that was lacking was political will in addressing such a " defining challenge of our age". "I would really urge the major economic powers to exercise flexibility and to demonstrate their leadership."

The UN Secretary-General acknowledged that the two-year timeline to conclude negotiations was tight, given the scale and complexity of the task at hand.

"We really need to expedite our process of negotiation," he urged, adding that he would "spare no effort" in facilitating the process. He said that failure to exercise political leadership and act now would be tantamount to "betraying both our planet and our children".

On the contentious subject of emission reduction targets, Mr. Ban said that agreement on specific targets need only take place at a later stage in the negotiations.

Mr. Ban stressed that due to their "historical responsibilities" with regard to climate change, industrialized countries must take the lead in tackling the problem. He said they also had the necessary technological and financial capacity to do so, and that this capacity should be made available as an incentive to developing countries.

In response to a question about the position of the United States regarding the scope of a future climate agreement, Mr. Ban said that he had been in regular contact with US government leaders and had urged them to exercise flexibility as the world's largest economic power. He said it was encouraging that the United States supported the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.  

On Wednesday, 144 ministers and high-level government representatives along with six heads of state gathered in Bali for the high-level segment of the UN climate conference, which is expected to launch negotiations on a new global deal on climate change.

The conference, the 13th Conference of the 192 Parties to the UNFCCC and the third meeting of the 176 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, is being attended by more than 11,000 people, making it the largest UN climate change meeting ever held.

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