World at tipping point: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the CSD 17

There is a strong link between climate change and the issues before this session. Sustainable agriculture can contribute to climate change mitigation. On the other hand, if left unchecked, climate change will affect agricultural production and exacerbate drought and desertification. This will have a devastating impact on the poor. It will particularly affect women, who make up a significant portion of agricultural producers in many highly vulnerable countries. Many say our world is at a tipping point. If we do not act together, if we do not act responsibly, if we do not act now, we risk slipping into a cycle of poverty, degradation and despair. Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations advanced the idea of sustainable development as a way of escaping from this cycle. This idea of an integrated and comprehensive approach to development remains as valid today as ever. It shows how to address the climate crisis, the food crisis and the energy crisis. It contains durable solutions to the financial crisis and global recession. We must follow the wisdom of the Brundtland Report. We must pursue “development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. To do that, we must deal with climate change.

We look to the December climate negotiations in Copenhagen to seal a deal that will enable us to pursue climate action on all fronts. A deal that covers adaptation, mitigation and the deployment of clean technologies. A deal that will reverse deforestation. A deal that will build capacity, and mobilize financial resources for developing countries. To that end, I have invited all Heads of States and Government of United Nations Member States and Observers to a high-level event on climate change on 22 September in New York. This will be the only international climate meeting before Copenhagen that will bring together all world leaders –- from the major emitters to the most vulnerable countries.

These comments come from the Secretary Generals remarks to the CSD 17.


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