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UN chief calls for compromise on Kyoto protocol

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon asked governments to reach a compromise on the Kyoto Protocol at Durban climate conference and to make a broader comprehensive climate agreement possible in the future.

“Durban must complete what was agreed last year in Cancun,” he said at the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)-2011 conference in the capital on Monday.

Beginning on Sunday, the two-day conference aims to reach consensus on various climate issues and work together at COP-17 to be held in Durban, South Africa on November 28.

Speaking as special guest, Ban called for scaling up climate financing through launching the Green Climate Fund agreed last year in Cancun. He said governments must lead the way to catalyze the US$100 billion per annum from public and private sources that was pledged to 2020.

Ban said: “We are in the middle of a serious economic crisis. But even in these difficult times, we cannot afford delay. We cannot ask the poorest and the most vulnerable to bear the costs.”

“The Fund needs to be launched in Durban. An empty shell is not sufficient,” he told the conference attended by representatives from more than 30 countries from around the world, which are most vulnerable to the climate change.

The UN chief said climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution and it requires urgent efforts on the part of every country – both in the global negotiations, and through scaled-up national actions on the ground.

He said since unresolved issues are both critical and complex, compromise and common sense will be crucial. “We must work together to build a safer, healthier, more climate resilient world. Together, we can build the future we want.”

Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in disaster management, Ban said in 1991 cyclone, more than 140,000 people were killed while in the 2007 Cyclone Sidr 4,000 people perished, but tens of thousands of lives were saved as some 40,000 volunteers with bullhorns and bicycles helped move more than three million people out of harm’s way.

“You have made great strides towards political stability and economic growth. Your achievements across all the Millennium Development Goals are a source of national pride and the envy of many nations. And you are a world leader in disaster preparedness.”

He said because of its adaptation and preparedness measures, the people of Bangladesh are much safer today.

“The lesson is clear: natural hazards need not cause human catastrophe,” Ban said, adding there are many cost-effective remedies that communities and countries can take to reduce the impact of extreme weather events.

He said that strong disaster risk reduction and adaptation policies will be increasingly essential. The IPCC report provides guidance to governments on disaster risk reduction and adaptation.

The UN chief said Bangladesh is acutely aware of its vulnerability to the growing impacts of climate change – cyclones, flooding, sea level rise.

Quoting Hasina’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly this year, he said a one-metre rise in sea level could displace some 30 million Bangladeshis.

Ban Ki-Moon posing for photograph with leaders of Climate Vulnerable Forum in Dhaka on Monday

He mentioned that last week, the International Energy Agency released a report saying: “We are close to a point of no return for staying under two degrees temperature rise. If we keep adding fossil fuel-based infrastructure, we will forever lose the chance to avoid dangerous climate change.”

Ban said adaptation must be a priority for all countries, but especially the most vulnerable. They need help with resources and technology.

He commended the lead taken by Bangladesh to follow a pro-development, low carbon path and establishment of a Climate Change Trust Fund and a Resilience Fund.

He said governments must ensure that the Adaptation Framework and Technology Transfer mechanisms are up and running as soon as possible.

Durban also must advance a work programme on loss and damage to respond to the needs of countries like Bangladesh that are particularly afflicted by extreme climatic events, Ban said.

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