UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, officially closed climate change discussions in Abu Dhabi yesterday (Monday) with a rallying cry to governments and business to take meaningful action to mitigate the impact of climate change. Hailing the Abu Dhabi Ascent as a success, he said the meeting was a critical step forward on the way to forging a consensus on how to tackle climate change.
The Abu Dhabi Ascent was a special two-day, high level meeting convened by the United Nations Secretary General that brought together political, business and society leaders and policy makers, from across the developed and developing world, in an effort to catalyze ambitious climate change solutions. The Secretary General said the meeting had accelerated momentum in the lead up to September’s New York Climate Summit, which aims to drive transformative action and build political impetus for a global, binding climate agreement, to be signed in 2015.
At the summit’s closing ceremony, the Secretary General praised the progress made in Abu Dhabi on an array of critical issues. “We have had two busy days. Now is the time for visionaries and those who are prepared to act to step forward. I am urging all to raise the level of ambition. Governments have to lead. But business and finance, voters and consumers have a significant role to play. Climate change is an issue for all,” he said.
“Let us work together to mobilize the political will to make climate change a top priority for all leaders – at home and in the global arena. Tell them solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead. Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all.”
The Secretary General also highlighted that the UAE is a champion in global efforts to check climate change, and he urged other nations to follow the example set by the UAE in terms of sustainability efforts and clean energy deployment.
“We made real progress in cementing ambitious partnerships to cut emissions, mobilize investment and help countries adapt to climate change,” said His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change. “The UAE is proud to have played such a central role in supporting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his outstanding efforts to lead the global community to real climate action. Our contribution to this important summit reinforces the UAE’s leadership on climate mitigation.”
The discussions at the Abu Dhabi Ascent emphasized the links between climate change and core development issues such as energy, food and water security. The UAE has been a leader in bringing together holistic discussions of these challenges. Notably, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week brings together the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, together with the Zayed Future Energy Prize and other major events, with the aim of cultivating win-win solutions to challenges in both water and energy.
“We believe more strongly than ever that addressing climate change will demand effective actions across the energy-food-water nexus. It has been encouraging to see that here in Abu Dhabi we have achieved real progress in shaping, scaling up and preparing these initiatives to be announced in September,” said H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber.
The Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting was attended by over 1,100 delegates, including more than 100 government leaders and ministers. Attendees included former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, former US Vic President, Al Gore, former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon and the Chairman of UN-Energy and former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh Yumkella.