UN chief asks US, China, India to lead way on climate change

February 11th, 2009 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

“We have no time to lose,” he said at a news conference Tuesday, noting that crucial climate change negotiations are scheduled for December in Copenhagen to draw up a new agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The United States, China, India and the European Union - all must show the way. We must provide for those least able to adapt.”

Giving an account of his recent tour of the world’s crisis points, Ban also called on the international community not to forget the food crisis stemming from soaring prices and insufficient production. “I call it our forgotten crisis - because it has not gone away,” he said.

Ban called for a unified approach to the current economic meltdown, warning against protectionism. “We face a global financial crisis.”

“We therefore need a well-coordinated, synchronized global stimulus package that protects the world’s poor as well as the rich. Piecemeal, nationalist, protectionist policies will only hurt us all,” he said.

On Afghanistan and his talks with President Hamid Karzaim, Ban said with elections due, this is the critical year for addressing the security challenges and strengthening its democratic institutions.

“It is impossible to come away from Kabul without a strong feeling that we need a stronger, more concerted, more strategic approach in Afghanistan, if our work over the past seven years is to succeed. Regional cooperation is essential,” he said.

Ban also voiced grave concern at the plight of the tens of thousands of people caught by fighting in Sri Lanka, noting that he had phoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa who assured him that he would take all measures to safeguard the civilian population.

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