High Level Segment at COP 18 Kicks off
Opening of the High Level Segment
The opening of the High Level Segment of the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties and the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol was attended by H. H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, H.H. xx Emir of Kuwait, H. H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Crown Prince and H. E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani.
The High Level Segment was addressed by the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency the President of COP 18/CMP 8 and His Excellencies the Emir of the State of Kuwait and the Emir of the State Qatar.
The High Level will continue through 7 December to hear the statements by ministers of Environment and other high officials of more than 100 countries.
UN Side Event: Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action
Food Security in Dry Lands under a Changing Climate
This high-level event, co-hosted by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, as Chair of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and the State of Qatar, fostered a dialogue among the Host Country, Parties to the Convention, civil society and UN system leaders to demonstrate the UN system’s collective capacity to support countries in implementing sustainable, people-centered solutions to the challenge of climate change. In particular, the event highlighted initiatives by the Host Country for addressing food security and dry land issues. The panelists were, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; H.E. Mr. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, President of COP-18, H.E. Mr. Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, Chairman, Qatar National Food Security Programme, Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, Mr Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary General, Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, Rachel Kyte, Vice-President, World Bank Izabella Vieira Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, Benedito Braga, Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa, President, World Water Council (WWC) and Kieren Keke, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nauru participated in this event. The event was moderated by Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.
Rachel Kyte, Vice-President, World Bank, highlighted national and multilateral efforts addressing food, water and energy security. Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa, outlined her country's policy framework in response to climate change, saying that it had both an adaptation and a mitigation component.
During this high-level event, moderated by Helen Clarke, Administrator, UNDP, participants heard from ministers and leaders within the UN system on actions to be taken under the climate-water-food security nexus in the drylands. Highlighting drylands as one of the most vulnerable ecological areas, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, UNFCCC COP 18 President, Qatar, said that over two billion people are affected by climate-related impacts in these areas. He called on participants to consider the concerns of these people in their negotiations.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed optimism that this conference will decide: a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; the means to mobilize the finances for the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and short-term financing until the GCF is fully operational. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres noted the leadership of Qatar at the domestic levels and in the global community on food security. She stressed the importance of the food-water-energy nexus, highlighting this nexus is the “human face” of climate change, as well as its solution. She stressed the time for talking is over, saying it is time to move to solutions.
Fahad Bin Mohammad Al-Attiya, Chairman, Qatar National Food Security Programme, emphasized that food security has everything to do with climate change, saying that for Qatar, a net importer of food, the impact of climate on food deeply affects his country. He highlighted that Qatar is establishing a Global Dry Land Alliance to focus on this issue and engage in knowledge sharing.
Izabella Vieira Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, noted the clear messages from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development on the food-water-energy nexus and sustainable consumption and production patterns. She said the focus of Rio+20 was "the urgency of the present," noting it took a pragmatic approach. She highlighted the challenge of increasing food production in Brazil while reducing deforestation and rehabilitating degraded lands.
Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa, spoke on actions taken by her government in response to climate change, particularly in the country’s water-scarce dryland areas. Speaking for Africa, she called for international support in technology transfer, and predictable and adequate financing to increase food and water security.
Rachel Kyte, Vice-President, World Bank, stressed the need to invest in agricultural research to help smallholder farmers access drought and disease-resistant crop varieties. Noting the current volatility in world food prices, she called for the establishment of viable, functioning social safety nets to allow people to withstand the climate change impacts already being experienced. Benedito Braga, President, World Water Council (WWC), emphasized the need for supply- and demand-side measures to address water challenges and adapt the water sector to climate change. He called for negotiators under the UNFCCC to bring water into the discussion, in order to add urgency to the process, and for developing a s1ustainable development goal (SDG) on climate-adaptive water strategies.
Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), underscored high levels of water stress in many countries and noted climate change will increase water variability, further heightening vulnerability. He called for translating climate data into usable forms for policymakers or individual farmers and fishers, noting the development of the new Global Framework for Climate Services. Kieren Keke, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nauru, said that small island developing states (SIDS) face similar challenges in food and water security as countries with drylands.
Achim Steiner, Executive Secretary, UNEP, said that the role of his organization is "to speak truth to power." He lamented that the negotiators have ignored climate science. He also challenged popular thinking of the pathways to industrial growth, noting this growth can occur in a sustainable, green manner.
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