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25 June 2008 - News Article

Kofi Annan reveals the way forward

Kofi Annan looks to the future
(GHF. Photo: Daniel Rihs)
GENEVA, 25 June – As the main proceedings of the annual meeting drew to a close, the Forum’s President, Kofi Annan, summarised the conclusions of many of the roundtable discussions held over the past few days.

He said there was general consensus that climate justice must be a priority on the international agenda and that the polluter must pay for the damage done by carbon emissions.
“We will build a global alliance for climate justice and it must be at the heart of Copenhagen”, he added, referring to the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is expected in 2009.


He noted that concerted action was necessary on various fronts. Different sectors of society had to work together to combine their strengths and there needed to be a stronger local and regional approach. More emphasis should be put on capacity building and agriculture and water supply problems needed to be urgently addressed. A price must be put on water without depriving the poorest communities of their basic right to the commodity.

New technology

It was clear, he said, that climate adaptation needed new technologies, which had to be made available to the poor. Much more research and development was required to meet the technological challenges ahead.

Mr Annan noted that these new technologies came at a price and that the question of funding should be included in a strong global climate agreement to be discussed in more detail in Copenhagen. He advocated the development of an effective and fair carbon-trading market.


Mr Annan was enthusiastic about the idea of providing insurance for poor farmers. “Farmers in Africa take all the risks but have no support from outside. This insurance could make the difference between survival and catastrophe”.


In terms of urban development and making cities more habitable, migrating communities should be encouraged to make their homes in smaller settlements rather than ending up in city slums. A more humane environment needed to be created to stop uncontrollable urbanisation.

Getting results

Kofi Annan concluded: “In the past few days we’ve shown that by uniting across different sectors, we can achieve more. A number of parties attending the Forum are already working on making weather data available for all poor people”.

“We don’t want this Forum just to be a talking shop”, he said.
Addressing guests directly, the President added: “We’d like to see you all back here next year to report on the progress that has been made in the meantime”.

By Julie Hunt

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