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(Warsaw, 11 November 2013) – The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw
began today with calls for governments to harness the strong groundswell of
action on climate change across all levels of government, business and
society and make real progress here towards a successful, global climate
change agreement in 2015.
The newly elected President of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19/CMP
9), H. E. Mr. Marcin Korolec, Poland’s Environment Minister, said in his
opening address that climate change is a global problem that must be turned
further into a global opportunity.
“It’s a problem if we can’t coordinate our actions. It becomes opportunity
where we can act together. One country or even a group cannot make a
difference. But acting together, united as we are here, we can do it,” he
In her opening speech at the Warsaw National Stadium, the venue of COP 19,
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change, called on delegates to “win the Warsaw opportunity” in
order to safeguard present and future generations.
“We must stay focused, exert maximum effort for the full time and produce a
positive result, because what happens in this stadium is not a game. There
are not two sides, but the whole of humanity. There are no winners and
losers, we all either win or lose in the future we make for ourselves.”
Ms. Figueres pointed to the sobering realities of climate change and the
rise in extreme events that climate science has long predicted, including
the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that just hit the Philippines, one of the
most powerful typhoons ever to make landfall.
Ms. Figueres highlighted the key areas in which COP 19 can make progress:
“We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards
low-carbon development. We must launch the construction of a mechanism that
helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of
climate change. We must deliver an effective path to pre-2020 ambition, and
develop further clarity for elements of the new agreement that will shape
the post-2020 global climate, economic and development agendas”.
In addition, the meeting in Warsaw will focus on decisions that will make
fully operational the new institutional support under the UNFCCC for
developing nations in finance, adaptation and technology. These are the
Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and the Adaptation Committee,
all agreed in Cancun in 2010.
Ms. Figueres stressed the fact that the meeting in Warsaw is taking place
against the background of growing awareness that climate change is real and
accelerating, and the growing willingness of people, businesses and
governments to take climate action, at all levels of society and policy.
“There is a groundswell of climate action. Not only for environmental
reasons, but also for security, energy, economic and governance reasons.
Political will and public support favour action now. A new universal
climate agreement is within our reach. Agencies, development banks,
investors and subnational governments are on board. The science from the
IPCC is clear. Parties can lead the momentum for change and move together
towards success in 2015.”
In order to showcase the growing climate leadership and contributions to
the climate challenge from all sides, a Business Forum organized by the UN
and the Polish host government will take place next week alongside the
meeting. Cities and regions will gather for the first ever “Cities Day”
that highlights their actions. And a Gender Day will showcase women’s role
in meeting the climate challenge.
Also next week, the UNFCCC secretariat will showcase Momentum for Change
lighthouse activities, climate action that demonstrates positive results
for innovative finance, women and the urban poor. In addition, the
initiative will launch a new area that focuses on contributions by the
information and technology sector to curb emissions and increase adaptive
capacity to respond.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (11 to 22 November) is currently
being attended by government delegates, representatives from business and
industry, environmental organizations, research institutions and the media.
More than 100 Heads of State and Government and Ministers are scheduled to
attend the high-level segment of the meeting, which begins on 19 November
and ends with a decision-making plenary on 22 November.
About the UNFCCC
With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997
Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC
Parties. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, 37 States,
consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the
process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission
limitation and reduction commitments. In Doha in 2012, the Conference of
the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
adopted an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes the second
commitment period under the Protocol. The ultimate objective of both
treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at
a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate
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