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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yu Qingtai, China's Special Representative for Climate Change Talks, at the Thematic Debate of the United Nations General Assembly on Climate Change
New York, 12 February 2008

2008/02/12

Mr. President,

The issue of climate change has become a serious challenge in today's world. It affects not only the development of the global economy and prosperity, but also the very existence of mankind. A united front to confront this challenge, and to safeguard the common home of mankind has become the unanimous appeal by all members of the international community.

The United Nations has been playing a unique role with respect to confronting climate change. In September last year, we met in this place for the high-level discussion on climate change under the theme of "future in our hands". That meeting contributed positively to the eventual adoption of the "Bali Road Map" at the Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia toward the end of last year. The meeting today on the same issue serves to emphasize the active support and full affirmation of the leadership role played by the United Nations in responding to climate change.

Mr. President,

The Bali Conference last December was a turning point in the process of negotiations over climate change. It marked the beginning of new historic period of international cooperation in responding to this challenge. Its significance can be summed up as follows:

First of all, an agreement on the Bali Road Map was eventually reached, a road map that gives direction to the efforts by the international community to confront climate change. Secondly, the Conference in Bali contributed to the acceleration of the negotiating process by confirming the twin-track negotiating process involving the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, and by a clear-cut pronouncement on the mechanism and the time-table for the process. Thirdly, the Bali Conference reaffirmed the Convention and the Protocol as the main channel for international response on climate change, and reiterated the fundamental principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, thereby safeguarding the very foundation for international cooperation in this regard. Finally, the Conference incorporated the Annex I party that had not approved the Protocol, thus assuring the comprehensiveness as well as the effectiveness of international cooperation.

It must also be recognized, however, that the Bali Road Map is only a beginning. The international community must continue with the task of conducting substantive consultations and negotiations, so as to insure a final agreement on the post-2012 international cooperation on climate change within the next two years. In this connection, I wish to emphasize the following three points:

1. the principles established by the Framework Convention and its Protocol, particularly the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", represent the consensus of the international community, and constitute the essential foundation for international cooperation to respond to climate change. Any framework for future arrangements must be firmly based on these principles.

2. the four building-blocks, i.e. mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing, are all important components for developing an effective framework for responding to climate change, and as such, should be given equal attention, and none of them should be neglected. The policies and measures by the developed countries aimed at emission reduction should be further strengthened. At the same time, the concerns by the developing countries over adaptation, technology transfer and financial resources should be addressed in real earnest, so that they will have the capacity to make greater contributions to confronting the challenge from climate change.

3. an effective response to climate change requires broad participation from the international community. But the effectiveness of participation by the developing countries will, to a significant extent, depend on whether the developed countries will take substantive actions on financial and technological assistance. Effective mechanisms should be set up as soon as possible, to insure that measurable, reportable and verifiable assistance be provided to the developing countries with regard to financial resources, technology and capacity building, to facilitate their achievement of sustainable development.

Mr. President,

China welcomes the United Nations, as the most broad-based inter-governmental organization, to play a positive role with respect to responding to climate change, particularly with regard to promoting international cooperation in the interests of achieving sustainable development. China supports the United Nations in performing its mandates, focusing on following aspects:

-- Political mobilization. The United Nations should make full use of its General Assembly and other relevant platforms to conduct dialogue on all major issues related to climate change, with the objective of raising the level of understanding on this challenge, and facilitating the achievement of sustainable development.

-- Promoting partnership. The United Nations should make full use of such channels as the Commission on Sustainable Development to encourage the establishment of partnership between governments and business community, the academic community and non-governmental organizations, so as to make joint efforts in responding to climate change.

-- Providing pragmatic support. The United Nations should utilize available new resources to promote flows of financial resources and the transfer of technology, to support the developing countries in the formulation and implementation of their national climate change strategies.

Mr. President,

China takes climate change very seriously. We have adopted a significant number of policies and measures within our capacity to respond to the challenge from climate change, with noticeable success. In the years to come, China will continue to shoulder its share of responsibilities in accordance with the Framework Convention and its Protocol, and the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". While making our own due contribution, we will also help other developing countries to enhance their ability to adapt to climate change. We are confident that through the joint efforts, we will certainly be successful in overcoming the challenges from climate change, and leave behind us a world characterized by harmonious, clean and sustainable development, in the interests of future generations.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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