UN Climate Statement / 22 Oct, 2012
Pre-COP 18 Ministerial meeting on climate change

Pre-COP 18 Ministerial meeting on climate change

Seoul, 22 October 2012


Statement by
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



Hon. Minister Yoo,

H.E. Mr. Al-Attiyah,

Ambassador Mxkato-Diseko, representing the COP 17/CMP 7 President,


Ladies and gentlemen,


Let me begin by thanking our host, the Republic of Korea for the warm welcome, the wonderful facilities and the excellent arrangements for this Pre-COP, so effectively coordinated with the incoming presidency of Qatar.


Let me also congratulate the Republic of Korea on its selection as the host of the GCF. This is already one important step taken in preparation for a successful COP in Doha.


As I look upon the Doha Conference, it strikes me that this is an event of immense opportunity. It represents the opportunity for you to make a global intervention that wedges itself between a scientific fact and a widely-held misperception.


The scientific fact is that global climate change is upon us, that we are experiencing increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and that global greenhouse gases continue to rise.


The widely held misperception is that this process is stuck, that it is ineffective, that nothing is being done to address global climate change.


None of us will dispute the fact that we are in a race against time, but all of us know that the climate change process has advanced steadily over the past three years and in very concrete ways:


  • You have made mitigation pledges that cover 80% of global emissions
  • You have also constructed a new global infrastructure to address the full gamut of the climate challenge: Green Climate Fund, work programme on Long-Term Finance, Standing Committee, CTCN, Adaptation Committee, and the registry are only some of the achievements, designed with purpose of supporting developing countries.


The opportunity of COP 18/CMP 8 is to move many of these constructs into firm implementation:


  • In Doha, you can move the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from lengthy negotiations to implementation as of
    January 1, 2013.
  •  In Doha, you can move the broad infrastructure of support which you have been building under the AWG-LCA into firm implementation, while deciding where to handle still outstanding issues.
  • In Doha, you can decide how you will implement the commitment of financial support to developing countries.
  • In Doha, you can recognize that mobilization of cooperative action is being implemented today, on the ground, by your partners in the sub-national governments, private sector and civil society and you can encourage them to do more. 


Admittedly, significant political issues remain to be resolved and I do not underestimate the challenge. But COP 18/CMP 8 can become the COP that unequivocally launches immediate implementation of what you already have, while at the same time taking the first steps to design what you want for the future.


I thank all the Chairs, co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of all bodies and work programmes for all their hard work during this year and in advance of even harder work in Doha. I thank all Ministers for their perseverance, dedication and willingness to find the way forward.


In Doha, you have the opportunity to show the world that the intergovernmental climate change process:


  • has built a firm response which now goes into implementation;
  • continues to build further in order to keep with fairness; and
  • increased ambition in order to keep within the two degree temperature limit. 


You may even want to show the world that climate change conferences always start on time and sometimes even end on time.


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