UN Secretary-General’s summit hopes to speed up climate change negotiations

Press release 2014-09-19 at 8:33

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a Climate Summit in New York on 23 September. The summit is not a part of the official UNFCCC climate change negotiation process, but it aims to secure political support for the new global agreement on climate change, which is to be concluded in Paris in December 2015.

This summit will be the first time since the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference that heads of state have convened to talk about climate change: the summit is expected to be attended by world leaders from over 120 nations. Finland will be represented at the summit by President Sauli Niinistö and Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja.

The summit is expected to result in significant new financing and emissions reduction commitments and international initiatives. In addition to countries, companies, financial institutions and organisations can also contribute to the summit by making commitments and engaging in initiatives.

“In order to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, we need open-minded and ambitious action at all levels of society. National commitments and legislation are of course our primary concern, but in addition to these we need voluntary measures from, for example, cities, companies and different sectors. Recently, attempts have been made under the UN climate change convention to increase the visibility of these kinds of initiatives and the support offered to them. Some good examples of such Finnish initiatives include the Carbon Neutral Municipalities (HINKU) project, the Cities for Climate Protection campaign, the ERA17 – For an Energy-Smart Built Environment 2017 action plan, and the Climate Leadership Council”, says Harri Laurikka, principal negotiator on climate change at the Ministry of the Environment.

One of the central themes of the summit will most likely be the financing of actions on climate change, particularly the capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, which was established in 2010 under the UN climate change convention. In addition to discussing commitments, participants will issue statements based on different themes. For example, the World Bank will issue a statement on the need to establish a carbon price that could be applied throughout the global economy. The Finnish government and the majority of Finnish industries support this statement.

More information:

 Harri Laurikka, Principal Negotiator on Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 156, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi