New UN scheme to help poor countries weather economic crisis climate change

“The full repercussions (of the economic crisis) have yet to be felt, but already we know we must do our utmost to prevent the unfavourable economic climate from undermining our efforts to fight climate change and achieve the Millennium Development Goals [that seek to slash poverty, hunger and a host of other social ills by 2015],” Mr. Ban said in a message read out to the 40th Pacific Leaders Forum in Cairns, Australia.“For the Pacific, the downturn is likely to hit hard, limiting resources for development, leading to job losses and a decline in exports, and creating a risk of instability,” he added in the message, delivered by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).“As part of the UN system’s wide-ranging response to the crisis, we are establishing a Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System to better track the impact of the crisis – and thereby better respond.”Noting that climate change is at the top of the Forum’s agenda, Mr. Ban called on participants to show “dynamic engagement” in sealing a deal at the international meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December which will strive to reach a far-reaching new pact on global warming ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions. “Toward that end, I urge you to attend the climate summit that I will be convening next month in New York, and use that gathering to create the political momentum we need for an agreement,” he said.He pledged full cooperation with the region, including through the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, to address the negative consequences of climate change that are already being experienced, from extreme weather to environmental degradation. “Mitigation and adaptation must both be our urgent priorities,” he declared.Low-lying island States are already concerned about a potential rise in ocean levels while other nations in the region have suffered from torrential rain storms and flooding, as happened in Fiji at the beginning of 2009. 5 August 2009The United Nations is setting up a new system to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis on poorer countries, such as those in the Pacific region that are already being hobbled by climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

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