UN Climate Speech / 28 Sep, 2009
Statement by Yvo de Boer at the opening of the Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2009

Opening of the Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2009

Bangkok, 28 September 2009


Statement by
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change






Ladies and gentlemen,


I sincerely wish to thank the Kingdom of Thailand for hosting the Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2009 through his Excellency Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand. Thank you, Excellency, for gracing this session as witness to the opening of these critical negotiations. This is the second time that important climate change negotiations have taken place in Bangkok, and we are honoured to be back.

Through Mr. Suwit Khunkitti, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, I would also like to extend my thanks to the National Organizing Committee for all their valuable work in setting up this conference.

I also wish to thank the Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, and our colleagues at UNESCAP, UNCC and UNIS for their excellent work in the organization of this meeting.

Last week, over 100 world leaders met at the Secretary-General’s Summit on Climate Change in New York. They expressed their determination to seal a comprehensive, fair and effective deal at Copenhagen to avoid dangerous climate change. This was enormously encouraging and I believe it was a real turning point. It offers the negotiations support to build the success which you have longed for, and which you have worked so hard to achieve. Your task is complex. It has always been so.

The Secretary-General’s summary of the summit recorded a firm political will to reach a comprehensive deal that ensures five essential elements, all of which are embedded in the texts you have created:

  1. Enhanced action to assist the most vulnerable and the poorest in the world to adapt to the impacts of climate change;
  1. Ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialized countries, in line with the science;
  1. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries, with the necessary support;
  1. Significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources to help the developing world to adapt and to mitigate;
  1. Equitable governance structure to manage and deploy that support.

World leaders also signalled their determination to remain personally engaged until a deal has been sealed, and to support you towards an agreement. I am confident that following the climate change summit, you have been given the high-level support at home that will make it possible for you to be ambitious in the negotiations. 

Time is not just pressing, it has almost run out. But in two weeks, real progress can be made towards the goals that world leaders have set for the negotiations, to break deadlocks, and to cooperate towards concrete progress. As many leaders have said: “There is no plan B.” And if we do not realize plan A, the future will hold us to account for it. Some say this clock is ticking down to nothing, but you know this not true.

The Secretary-General’s summit was encouraging. But an AOSIS summit also took place in New York and reminded the world of a stark reality: many AOSIS nations are already fighting for survival. Science tells us that the people of many more nations will be fighting for their survival in the not too distant future. Their needs cannot be denied. Their survival is in your hands.

Above all, action builds trust. I urge those who can be more ambitious to act. The world will follow, and will remember those who led.

The Bangkok talks must end in an evident spirit of cooperation and with evident progress. I believe that the pace of action in the negotiations can and will match an increasing pace of action that we are seeing at the highest level.

The political winds are behind you, the negotiating sails are set. With all my heart, I urge you to pull up anchor and make full sail before we lose the tide and are left stranded on the beach, exposed to the coming storms.

I wish you courage. Your secretariat stands ready to support you. Thank you.


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Please note: This is prepared text of the speech and may differ from the delivered version.