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Climate ChangeWill Endanger Gains Against Poverty

Climate Change Could Endanger The Global Gains Against Poverty, UN Conference Warned

New York, Nov 6 2006 6:00PM

Kenyan Environment Minister Kivutha Kibwana opened the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi today with a warning that climate change could endanger whatever gains have been made against poverty. He urged countries to work together to ensure that real action is achieved on the issue of adaptation to climate change.

“Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most serious threats that humanity may ever face,” said Mr. Kibwana, who is also the President of the conference.

More than 5,000 participants from 178 countries are in Nairobi for the two-week meeting, which will focus on adaptation to climate change, developing market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, and the future of post Kyoto cooperation. The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.

This is the twelfth Conference of the 189 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the second meeting of the 166 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The conference is the first UN climate summit in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We face a genuine danger that recent gains in poverty reduction will be thrown into reverse in coming decades, particularly for the poorest communities on the continent of Africa,” Mr. Kibwana warned. He added that scarce resources that would otherwise be channelled into essential projects to further economic development would inῳtead be used for other emergencies, such as health care crises, water shortages or food stock failures.

The UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer called for specific activities to be agreed within the five-year work plan on impact, vulnerability and adaptation.

“We expect countries to take decisions in Nairobi that will enhance action on adaptation on the ground,” he said. “Ministers meeting in Nairobi have an opportunity to reach agreement on critical elements of the governance and management of the Adaptation Fund.”

The Adaptation Fund is financed by a share of proceeds generated by the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism that permits industrialized countries which are members of the Protocol to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries, and thereby generate tradable emission credits.

While there may not be pressure to conclude an agreement on future, post-Kyoto policies, Mr. de Boer said “there is a strong sense of mounting international consensus on the urgent need to act to avoid serious consequences of climate change.” He added that a recently released report clearly suggests that the price of inaction will be much greater than the costs of addressing the problem.


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