Homepage > News > World > 

UN chief calls for vigilance on humanitarian needs arising from climate change

2009-12-10 08:23 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon warned here on Wednesday the international community "must remain vigilant" in the face of "significant humanitarian needs in 2010 and beyond," mainly arising from climate change.

Addressing the annual conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) at the UN headquarters in New York, Ban noted that while an agreement in Copenhagen is a "moral imperative and a practical necessity," the international community can also act now with community-based disaster preparedness and risk reduction programs.

"Climate change will be an increasingly prominent part of this picture," the secretary-general said. "When I attend the Copenhagen conference next week, I will stress the climate change is already affecting millions of people worldwide every year through more frequent, intense and non-seasonal floods, storms and droughts."

"I will call on developed countries to provide fast-track financing of 10 billion U.S. dollars per year over the next three years to scale up urgent adaptation efforts, and to assist developing countries in clean energy growth," Ban said.

"An agreement in Copenhagen is essential for saving jobs and lives," he said.

Describing the CERT as "one of the world's leading tools for disaster response," and quick and efficient in saving lives, Ban said that the Fund was an important aspect of the humanitarian response to "nearly every major crisis" in 2009.

"Those who suffer most are the poorest and most vulnerable in risk-prone countries, where people have the fewest resources to cope," he said while underscoring that there has been an abundance of food insecurity, migration and displacement and public health threats.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, he noted that the global response was "inspiring to behold." "But the speed and generosity displayed in that crisis also highlighted the underwhelming response to others," he said.

"In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, needs were every bit as acute, but only a fraction of the funding arrived," he said.

He noted that from 2005 and on, the CERF, created by the UN General Assembly, became a new tool for potential victims of disasters, natural or man-made, where the funds are available immediately.

"CERF funding also brings equity to a system that often focuses on high-profile emergencies while victims of the so-called 'neglected crises' receive less," Ban said.

"We do not know exactly how, in the coming year, the effects of climate change will mix with demographic shifts and the global economic slowdown to create emergency needs," he warned.

But he emphasized that in facing these challenges, the CERF is an "important part of the response," and called upon participants of the conference for donations for the humanitarian fund.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua