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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
Climate change the focus of talks in Poland
15 December 2008 / 02:38

[Dateline: Poznan | Author:  UNFCCC]

Poznan conference logoAround 11,000 participants, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions gathered in the Polish city of Poznan for a major climate change conference at which the Secretary-General called for a "Green New Deal" (full statement).

The 14th Conference of the 192 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fourth meeting of the 183 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, was the half-way mark in the negotiations on an ambitious and effective international climate change deal. The deal is to be clinched in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 and will enter into force in 2013, the year after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.

At Poznan, Parties to the UNFCCC took stock of progress made in 2008 and attempted to map out in detail what needs to happen in 2009 to get to a strengthened agreement.

According to the UNFCCC web site, "the meeting ended with a clear commitment from governments to shift into full negotiating mode next year in order to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be agreed in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Parties agreed that the first draft of a concrete negotiating text would be available at a UNFCCC gathering in Bonn in June of 2009."

Opening of COP 14 | Credit: UNFCC web siteA more detailed explanation of the conference outcomes, including decisions taken, is available online.

Staff member Daniel Shepard shared his personal perspectives on attending the conference in the form of a blog on the UN Gateway on Climate Change web site facilitated by the Department of Public Information.

“The need for real progress on tackling climate change has never been more urgent,” Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary explained during the confeference. “The effects of climate change that science has identified are already weighing upon those most vulnerable, and who await the financial and technological resources they need to deal with these impacts”.

Alluding to the fact that the Poznan conference took place in the broader context of the current global financial crisis and economic recession, de Boer warned against the danger of the world being detracted from the fight against climate change. “We must now focus on the opportunities for green growth that can put the global economy onto a stable and sustainable path,” he said.

At the High-Level Segment of the Conference from 11-12 December, the Secretary-General said, "Together, we face two crises: climate change and the global economy. But these crises present us with a great opportunity—an opportunity to address both challenges simultaneously" (full statement).

He went on to say, "Managing the global financial crisis requires massive global stimulus. A big part of that spending should be an investment—an investment in a green future. An investment that fights climate change, creates millions of green jobs and spurs green growth. We need a Green New Deal. This is a deal that works for all nations, rich as well as poor." 

About the UNFCCC

With 192 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has to date 183 member Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.