New York (USA), 21 September 2009
The delegation of local governments greeted on Monday by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has accomplished its mission. Parallel to the 64th UN General Assembly, business, civil society and political leaders from around the world have gathered in New York for the Climate Week event, mainly to urge lead climate change negotiators to secure a fair and binding climate change deal in Copenhagen this December, and to cope with the urgency of climate change. AER president Ms Michèle Sabban was part of the delegation which handed over a statement to Mr Ban Ki Moon, in which the recognition of the role played by regions in the fight against climate change was emphasised.
The delegation itself is a testament to the great diversity of all stakeholders involved in the fight against climate change, as it brings together leaders from the business world as well as from the political world, coming from as geographically distant places as Québec and France. As local governments are responsible for implementing the great majority of mitigation and adaptation measures needed to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions, it was indeed crucial to raise awareness about the work that they are doing to support an agreement in Copenhagen. The goal was also to ensure that local governments will not be left out in the Long Term Cooperative Action which will be adopted this December.
AER president Sabban, who is also vice-president of the French region of Ile-de-France, presented the different policies carried out by her region to promote the emergence of new electric cars, thus illustrating the role regions can play in the advent of a green and dynamic economy.
Following this meeting day, AER does not intend to loosen the pressure on negotiators and efforts in the struggle against climate change. It will carry on several activities linked with climate change until – and beyond – the Copenhagen summit.
What they said:
Michèle Sabban: “In order to tackle the issue of climate change, I am honoured to represent the 270 member regions of AER here at the United Nations. Our regions did not wait for the states to represent negotiations during the Copenhagen Conference. Regions have been fighting the effects of climate change for a long time already. By promoting innovation, developing and spreading low-carbon public policies, regions are doing everything in their power to secure the success of the future agreement in Copenhagen. AER is open to every regional decision maker looking for solutions to the problem of climate change. Indeed, it is about time that political and economic powers join their efforts with the public to implement truly worldwide and fair solutions. Copenhagen is our last chance to take up that important challenge, we cannot afford a setback. I want to thank the Climate Group, the UN and the City of New York who, thanks to this initiative of a “Climate Week”, allowed us to make the regions’ voice heard at the highest level.”
Jean Charest, Québec Premier (CDN): “We are 70 days away from the post-Kyoto negotiations, this is time for all governments, at each level, to closely collaborate against climate change. In the fields of energy and environment, we know that federated states, provinces, Länders and regions are pioneers. That is the reason why I hand today this declaration over to the secretary general of the United Nations, in the names of the leaders of federated states and regions, as well as networks representing hundreds of regions all over the world. This declaration states our essential contribution in the fight against climate change and affirms our commitment to actively contribute to target the goals which will be fixed at the Copenhagen Conference in December”.
Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group: “Through Climate Week NY°C, we have united business, government and civil society to call for a fair, ambitious and binding global climate deal. At this critical moment in time, we must summon the collective will and urge our world leaders to secure a global deal in Copenhagen. In doing so, we will help safeguard our planet for future generations while helping to unlock the full potential of a clean, green, prosperous future.”
See AER activities in the countdown to the Copenhagen conference:
• General Assembly 2009 - Energising Europe Responsibly: Regional Innovation and Diversity for Growth and Jobs - 25-27 November 2009, Belfort, Franche-Comté (F)
• Committee "Economy and Regional development" activities on energy and climate change
• Survey on regional energy policy
• Thematic dossier on climate change (Winter 2008-2009)
• Press releases
Francine Huhardeaux, Press and Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel./Fax: +33 388 22 74 49
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.