SERIOUS MONDAY: NGOS CHALLENGING CLIMATE CHANGE

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Representatives of nongovernmental organizations gathered at the United Nations for a three day conference to discuss climate change. The event was organized by the Department of Public Information.

Ms. Migiro, Deputy Secretary General, addressed nearly 2000 civil society representatives from 90 countries. She said the effects of climate change were already visible from the Arctic to Africa.

Ms. Migiro stated, “The challenge presented a remarkable opportunity to break with the past, to look anew at the way we operate…and the way we relate to each other.” It also provided the opportunity to implement a new sustainable development process, promote cleaner business, industries and jobs; make better and wiser use of limited natural resources and reinvest in depleted natural capital.

She noted the landmark reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had suggested that “it will not cost the moon to save the Earth.” As little as 0.1% of global gross domestic product might be needed annually for the next three decades if we “act now.”

A Keynote speaker, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme said 2007 was a pivotal year, and that people of the world, galvanized by the Intergovernmental Panel’s report, have finally begun to ask their governments and leaders, “What are you doing about this problem?”

The challenge to take another step forward would again be on the table of the world leaders this December in Bali.

General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said, “A comprehensive global response to the climate change threat must be pursued within the ambit of the international development agenda. It requires radical change of behavior and consciousness and the effort can only succeed if it is home-based and engages communities in identifying the actions and responses that are most suited to their particular circumstances.” She went on to say, “Civil society could contribute greatly and most effectively if it fostered awareness and persisted in developing inventive initiative at the grass roots level which inspires people to work towards a solution. The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization but draws its strength and inspiration from the support of civil society worldwide.”

During the three day conference there were numerous keynote speakers from around the world addressing issues ranging from poverty and water conditions to climate change and CO2 emissions. Several NGO representatives urged the United Nations to exert their “soft power” to persuade governments to set goals regarding climate change.

Dawn

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