16 November 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to seize the opportunity presented by next month’s climate change conference in Copenhagen to clinch a political agreement that will help chart the way forward on a new legally binding pact to combat global warming. “Opportunity is knocking. It is up to you to open the door,” Mr. Ban told a two-day meeting that began today in the Danish capital, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference.The conference, set to begin on 7 December, aims to reach accord on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 pact which has strong, legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. In a message delivered by Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. Ban stated that Copenhagen will mark a milestone in international efforts to build a more sustainable relationship with the planet. “We must seize this opportunity to create a safer and more prosperous future for all, to reduce the emissions that are causing climate change, and to help the most vulnerable adapt to impacts that are already under way,” he said, adding that “the technical details can be resolved at a later stage.”While applauding the progress made in the negotiations to date, the Secretary-General noted that core political issues remain unresolved.A comprehensive outcome, he pointed out, should ensure enhanced action to help the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt; ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialized countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries with the necessary support; significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources; and an equitable governance structure. “These are the essential elements of a Copenhagen deal – a deal that can safeguard our common future while ushering in powerful new opportunities today for economic growth, enhanced security, and sustainable, climate-resilient development.” He added that the engagement of world leaders is critical, noting that the support of the ministers gathered in Copenhagen today and tomorrow is vital for ensuring that a global climate change deal stays at the forefront of their agendas.Last week Mr. Ban strongly encouraged all heads of State and government to accept the invitation issued by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to attend the closing days of the 7 to 18 December conference. “The Secretary-General believes it is essential to maintain political momentum at the highest level and from all sectors of society, and is optimistic than an ambitious, fair and effective climate deal can be reached at Copenhagen,” read a statement issued by his spokesperson.