The UN system as a catalyst for climate action: Promoting sustainable low-carbon development

Tuesday, 19 November 2013,from 13:15 to 14:45
Room Cracow (Level 2, Zone B2), National Stadium, Warsaw

This high-level event brought together UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN system leaders to make the case for innovative solutions for climate action. The event showcased how governments, the private sector, NGOs, and local communities - with the support of the UN - can partner to scale up and implement proven solutions to climate challenges that lead to economic and social progress and protect the environment.

Opening remarks
H.E. Mr. Marcin Korolec, President of COP-19
Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
UN Secretary-General
Ms. Christiana Figueres,
Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Moderator
Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP

Podium participants
Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP
Mr. Michel Jarraud,
Secretary-General, WMO
Ms. Rachel Kyte,
Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank
H.E. René Castro Salazar,
Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica
Mr. Harry Verhaar,
Head of Global Public and Government Affairs, Philips Lighting

Highlights of the event:

Photograph courtesy of IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin

This event brought together UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN system leaders to make the case for innovative solutions for climate action. Achim Steiner, UNEP, moderated the event, challenging UN system leaders to reflect upon their contributions to scaling up actions in support of countries’ own initiatives. In this regard, Helen Clark, UNDP, noted that climate change was among the areas where countries were requesting most support from the UN system, and that they were particularly looking for the UN system to work in an integrated way, such as was the case with the UN-REDD initiative.

Supporting countries to generate the science necessary for informed climate action was highlighted by Michel Jarraud, WMO, as one area where countries were looking for the UN system’s support. Several UN organizations were therefore collaborating to assist countries through the Global Framework for Climate Services. In terms of finance, Rachel Kyte, World Bank, underscored the high return on investment in adaptation and mitigation strategies, and the need for monetary and bank regulation policies if funds were to be invested in areas that would lose value in decades to come.

Stressing the importance of national leadership, René Castro Salazar, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica, explained how the country had changed its laws and invested both tax payer and external resources to become “eco-competitive”, with the catalytic assistance of the UN system. Harry Verhaar of Philips Lighting outlined the energy saving, mitigation, financial and social benefits of the transition to energy efficient lighting, as illustrated by the company’s “en.lighten” initiative, in partnership with UNEP.

In closing the event, the Secretary-General called for urgent action on climate change, and reiterated the UN system’s joint support to the efforts of countries in transitioning to low-carbon, sustainable economies and societies.