The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, on Thursday held talks with youth leaders representing 11 countries from around the world on the sidelines of the UN climate change conference.
She explained the agency's work on cities, urbanization and climate change, emphasizing the important role that cities play as contributors to the problem of global climate change and as centers for developing viable solutions. She highlighted the need to empower urban youth, particularly in developing countries, so as to promote environmentally and socially sustainable cities.
Earlier, she joined the United Nations top officials at the high-level segment of the climate change talks to appeal to delegates from some 150 nations to take urgent action to tackle global warming. It was no coincidence, she said, that climate change had emerged at the forefront of international debate at the same time, and virtually at the same pace, as the world becomes urbanised.
“This is because urbanisation brings about irreversible changes in our production and consumption patterns. How we plan, manage and live in our growing cities determines, to a large extent, the pace of global warming,” she said in a keynote address. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon extended his stay in Bali as the climate change talks reached a critical phase.
“The Secretary-General has decided to remain in Bali longer than originally scheduled because of the very critical phase of the negotiating process at the Climate Change Conference,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.
“The successful launch of the negotiation process is a top priority for the Secretary-General, as well as the defining issue of our time, and he will devote as much effort as needed.”
On his third day in Bali, Mr. Ban held intensive bilateral discussions with government ministers – the environmental ministers of China, India and Japan, China’s Minister of National Development and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources – and business leaders attending the three-day high-level portion of the Conference.
Also meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, who arrived Thursday in Indonesia, where the two conferred on the current state of negotiations and key issues, including technology dissemination and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.
Additionally, they discussed how the negotiation process can proceed, as well as the Adaptation Fund, which aims to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries.