The Director-General attends the high level segment of the World Climate Conference-3 in Geneva

The Director-General attends the high level segment of the World Climate Conference-3 in Geneva
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 3 September 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura was invited to deliver a speech at the high level segment of the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) held in Geneva, Switzerland, which brought together numerous heads of state, prime ministers, ministers, the UN Secretary General and heads of UN agencies.

The World Climate Conference is a week long event, the third of its kind following WCC-1 in 1979 and WCC-2 in 1990. The main outcome of WCC-3 was the establishment of an international framework to guide the development of climate services which will link science-based climate predictions and information with climate-risk management and adaptation to climate variability and change throughout the world.

UNESCO was present throughout the Conference, organizing a forum on Gender and Climate, a forum on Capacity Building, Education and Training, a working session on Climate, Oceans and Coasts, and a side event on groundwater and climate.

In his intervention, the Director- General reiterated the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call earlier in the day for the international community to act urgently in five key areas *.

Mr Matsuura went on to underscore that UNESCO, through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), had partnered during the past three decades with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) within the framework of the World Climate Programme, an ambitious programme of scientific research and assessment of the climate system.

The Director-General recalled that, as the focus of the WCC-3 on climate services indicated, climate change could not only be resumed to science. In this regard, Mr Matsuura noted that he was pleased that “capacity building through education and science” had been retained as a key element of the Global Framework for Generating Climate Services.

He then emphasized that “in the short term, the international community has a huge responsibility to reach a strong and fair deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen Summit in December. We must also help the poorest and most vulnerable countries mitigate the effects of climate change today.”

Mr Matsuura underlined that “climate change will affect not only us, but future generations to come” and that it was “therefore essential that we lay the groundwork for future generations to understand and effectively confront this challenge.”

In this regard, the Director-General highlighted UNESCO’s work to integrate climate change issues into national curricula and lifelong learning programmes, of including gender equality considerations in the formulation of climate change adaptation strategies, climate-related disaster preparedness efforts and in addressing migration, and of working with broadcasters in order to make climate change comprehensible to the general public.

He concluded his intervention by underscoring the importance of these types of approaches to successfully changing unsustainable deep-set mentalities and confronting climate change in the long term.

During the lunch prior to his intervention, Mr Matsuura had the opportunity to speak with H.E. Mr Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of Mozambique, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, H.E. Mr Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue, Mr Moritz Leuenberger, Minister of Transportation, Energy and Communications, Switzerland, the host of the lunch, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


* “First, we need to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. In particular, we must assist the poorest and most vulnerable, especially the least developed countries and many small island developing countries. They need significant fast-track funding for adaptation -- now.

Second, recognizing the need for consensus on an upper limit for temperature rise, we need ambitious mid-term mitigation targets by developed countries.

Third, developing countries need to act to slow the growth of their emissions.

Many are working towards this already. But to do more they need predictable financial and technological support. This is my fourth point.

Fifth, all institutional arrangements and governance structures under a new climate regime must address the needs of developing countries.”

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 155-2009
  • 04-09-2009
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