Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties of the

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

25 October - 5 November 1999, Bonn, Germany

PRESS RELEASE No. 2 25 October 1999

For use of the media only;

Not an official document


Message of the Secretary-General to the

Fifth Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


BONN, 25 October (UNFCCC) Following is the text of the message of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany (25 October to 5 November), delivered at the opening session of the Conference by Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC.

I am pleased to convey my greetings and best wishes to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The presence of His Excellency Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the start of these proceedings shows how high this issue can climb on national agendas. I am grateful for his show of support and also to the people of Bonn for welcoming this important meeting.

In the five years since the Convention on Climate Change entered into force, the Parties to it have laid a solid foundation for long-term action to minimize climate change and its consequences. You are building effective institutions and technical capacities at the national level and a credible international system of data-gathering and information-sharing. You have started to set targets and design a system to ensure compliance. You are basing your policy decisions on the best available science, drawing on the respected assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. You have stressed cost-effectiveness through mechanisms that engage the resources and ingenuity of business and industry. And you have opened your work to the scrutiny of civil society.

These are signs of a maturing international regime. You can take pride in your achievements. But now is no time for complacency. Your efforts will bear fruit only if they are



understood and supported by the people outside this room: the voting and taxpaying citizen, the investor, the business executive, the city official charged with transport or waste management, the national official responsible for forestry or agriculture. That audience is looking to you here in Bonn for a message.

The people outside this room want to hear that developed countries are fully committed to early domestic efforts to achieve their emission targets. Given the time it will take to turn around emission trends, action now is essential if developed countries are to demonstrate progress by 2005 and start hitting the targets by 2008.

The global audience also needs to be reassured that you are working for a fair and inclusive strategy, sensitive to the concerns of vulnerable countries and driven by the need to protect the climate as a global resource.

They want to see the developing countries being empowered, through finance, technology and capacity building, to follow environmentally sound paths of economic development and make their rightful contribution to limiting global emissions.

They want to see evidence that the Clean Development Mechanism, the innovative centrepiece of the Kyoto Protocol, will be ready to be activated immediately after the sixth session of the conference of the parties, to be held next year in the Hague. And they would like to be confident that the climate-friendly decisions and investments being made today will be rewarded by the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002 at the latest.

We live in a time of extraordinary technological creativity. Old industries are being turned upside-down or replaced by new ones. The energy and transport sectors, which hold the key to your success, will not remain static over the coming decades. Even if we set aside the issue of climate change, the need to be more competitive and less polluting points to increases in efficiency and a cleaner future. Pioneering firms are already leading the way to green profits. The Convention and the Protocol are moving with this tide.

You have come a long way since the Convention was adopted and signed in 1992. But you have a long way to go yet. The United Nations system is ready to go with you. In that spirit of partnership, please accept my best wishes for the success of your deliberations.


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