Donnerstag, 20. September 2007

"The clock is ticking ..."

It's a nice view from the 38th floor of the United Nations building. It's a far cry from the gloomy basement of the UN that I know so well from many negotiations. It's also where Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General, has his office. However, he is not spending his time enjoying the spectacular Long Island vista. Instead, he is busy drumming up support for drastic and bold action on climate change.

As a political animal, I like to be right about things. I like to predict things accurately. But, quite honestly, I never predicted that Ban Ki-moon would make climate change his priority when he became Secretary General in January. In fact, I googled "Ban Ki-moon and climate change" when he was confirmed as Secretary General last year. There were no hits. Try it now - that has changed dramatically! Moon has called attention to the link between climate and security, controversially pointing out how climate impacts are contributing to the atrocious violence plaguing the Darfur region in Sudan. He has visited California and made a show of supporting Arnie's green shoots. And he has made it very clear that he wants a strengthened Kyoto agreement for after 2012. Yesterday, he met an international Greenpeace delegation - and he was very genuine and likeable - a rare feature in a diplomat or politician, I find. The picture shows him with one of the gifts we brought him - a photograph of receding glaciers in the Himalaya's, which put the water supply of no less than one third of the global population at risk. He liked another of our presents even better, though. We gave him a Swiss watch stating "Time is running out". He smiled and told us that that that very morning he had told his staff that "The clock is ticking". So, we hit a nerve. Let's hope it emboldens him to give a powerful speech at Monday's High Level Meeting on climate change, for which some 80 Heads of States will join me in New York ... ;-)

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