UN world summit: empty words on climate change
New York (US), september 16, 2005 — The United Nations (UN) Summit which ends today in New York looks set to agree on no firm action on climate change despite broad recognition that it will have devastating impacts especially for the world’s poorest countries, Friends of the Earth International said today.
The Summit , held at UN Headquarters, is the largest gathering of world leaders in history and brings together some 150 heads of state to discuss UN reforms, challenges for the 21st Century, as well as to evaluate the progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The final outcome document of the Summit does not convey the immense challenge to stabilise our climate, and the threat that climate change poses upon reaching the UN Millenium goals by 2015.
The Summit text being put forward today reveals that no progress has been made on climate change. Circulation of previous drafts demonstrates that the outcome document has been significantly weakened through the negotiation process.
The final Summit document rightly refers to the role of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. But it does not go far enough in recognising the authority of the November 2005 UN Climate Summit in Montreal (Canada) to begin negotiations for the post 2012 international climate commitments.
Friends of the Earth International’s Climate Campaigner Catherine Pearce said:
“World leaders have clearly failed to face up to the urgent need to take action on climate change. This Summit was a golden opportunity for the UN to commit resources to and support some of the world’s poorest countries who will face the harshest impacts of the world’s changing climate.
“The international community must recognise the need to assist poorer countries in dealing with the impacts of climate change. Money must be made available to help countries adapt to the changing climate, and also to cope with climate disasters,” added David Waskow, international program director at Friends of the Earth US.
The scientific evidence clearly shows that climate change is happening and that greenhouse gas emissions must be curbed. Unless urgent action is taken by the richest, industrialised nations to reduce emissions, the poverty reduction envisaged by the Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved .
The potential and capacity for renewable sources of energy, in terms of their contribution to poverty alleviation and sustainable development in developing countries is poorly acknowledged in the final Summit
Friends of the Earth International also criticised the final text for failing to recognise that the conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment is a pre-condition for poverty eradication and human well-being, as concluded by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
The recommendations on international environmental governance that were agreed at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit form a clear mandate for the UN General Assembly to discuss the transformation of the UN Environment Program into a specialized agency financed by assessed mandatory contributions from UN member states.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
In New York (USA)
David Waskow, international program director at Friends of the Earth US Tel: +1 202 492 4660 or email email@example.com
In London (UK)
Catherine Pearce, International Climate campaigner, Tel: +44(0)7811 283 641(m) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 The Working Group on Climate and Development, which Friends of the Earth is an active member of released their second report, ‘Africa – Up In Smoke?’ in July 2005 to coincide with the G8 summit. It recommends that international efforts to combat poverty in Africa and other parts of the developing world can only be effective when combined with urgent global action on climate change. The report is available at: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/africa_up_in_smoke.pdf
The first report, ‘Up in Smoke?’ released last October 2004 is available here: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/up_in_smoke.pdf