Yearly Archives: 2007
So 80 heads of state, plus international celebrities like Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger all came to the United Nations today. Great! What did they accomplish? Well, if you are looking for a single document committing UN member states to combat climate change, you are looking in the wrong place. Rather, the significance of today’s meetings needs to be understood in the longer term.
Al Gore may have just burnt his bridges with Hollywood. The former Vice President receieved a nice ovation for urging us to turn our attention away from Anna Nicole Smith, OJ Simpson and Paris Hilton, and instead focus on the important climate change meeting in Bali in December.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is now speaking. If my translation is correct ( and fair warning: my French is far from flawless) he seems to have affirmed French support for “25 by 25″–that’s a pledge to make 25% of his country’s energy supply come from renewable sources by 2025.
By Olav Kjorven, Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau of Development Policy, UNDP, and member of the UN Secretary General’s climate team
Today at the United Nations, the world is coming together, at the request of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to address a truly global challenge. Climate change is the kind of issue that the UN was created to deal with. Today, we’ll address the climate challenge with words. Of course, it’s going to take much, much more than that to ensure a sustainable future for our kids, their kids, and beyond, but if today’s discussions inject energy, purpose, and will into the global response to climate change, as the Secretary-General and indeed, we all hope they will, then they will have served a valuable purpose.
As promised, UN Dispatch is coming to you live from the UN. The place is buzzing as heads of state and foreign ministers are starting to gather for the High Level Meeting on Climate Change. The head of one state, Governor Schwarzenegger of California, is poised to speak at General Assembly in a few moments.
Today’s meeting was convened by Secretary General Ban Ki moon, who is making climate change a signature issue of his. In that, he and Governor Schwarzenegger have something in common. In June, Ban traveled to the San Francisco area where he met Schwarzenegger for a tour of Silicon Valley businesses that are on the cutting edge of the green technology revolution. (Fun fact: Ban also stopped by the home of a ninety year old woman who hosted him when he participated in a foreign exchange student in 1967).
Check back to UN Dispatch for frequent updates throughout the day.
UN Dispatch will be on scene at the United Nations next Monday to cover the much anticipated High Level Meeting on Climate Change in which foreign ministers and heads of state will converge on First Avenue to discuss climate change issues. UN Dispatch, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, is hosting a number of bloggers on site. This is the first-ever event designed solely for bloggers, enabling us to report on the United Nations. We are very excited.
The climate change meeting kicks off an action packed week at the United Nations. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 62nd General Assembly officially opens for business, meaning every head of state is invited to address the UN. This always makes for some interesting moments. Be sure to check our “Live From the UN” mini-site next week for frequent updates.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.