I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia? and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area as well as Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union would like to express its satisfaction on the final consensual result of the negotiations on the resolution on the Protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Mankind.
The resolution before us constitutes a significant step forward on the way towards an adequate response by the General Assembly to the serious threat posed by climate change and reflects some of the actions that the International Community must endorse to tackle it.
While the European Union welcomes this resolution and the positive message it sends ahead of Bali, we would like to have placed greater emphasis on a number of aspects.
The European Union would have liked to have marked the fact that 2008 is the 20th anniversary of the adoption of its resolution 43/53 which recognised that Climate Change is a Common Concern of Mankind and led to the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The resolution adopted today notes the significant contribution of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We would have preferred that the importance of its scientific findings had been fully acknowledged and with more precision.
In fact, scientific evidence in the most recently released Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, confirms and strengthens previous warnings about the magnitude of the challenge of climate change. Undoubtedly, the Synthesis Report states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observation of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.
Climate change is increasingly becoming a contributing factor to environmental, economic and security threats. In time, unchecked climate change will prevent us from attaining the Millennium Development Goals that the international community has placed at the core of its development efforts. We hope that this issue can be taken up by the General Assembly in this resolution in future years.
The scale of the challenge and the urgency to address it call for unprecedented international co-operation, involving all countries in a global effort to fight climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries.
The United Nations System is at the centre of this endeavor. The European Union supports the United Nations efforts towards a more cohesive response, and we look forward to the Secretary-Generals report to be issued by the 25th January 2008 and all the other steps contributing to this process.
The primacy of the UN system in this regard was unmistakably reaffirmed by the Wider Membership at the 61st session of the General Assembly during its Informal Thematic debate Climate Change as a Global Challenge.
The High Level Event on Climate Change convened by the Secretary-General last 24th of September, which allowed for a comprehensive discussion of climate change at the highest level, further galvanized political will on the need to take decisive action under the UNFCCC in Bali.
Bali is a one time opportunity to launch negotiations and to put them on the right track.
Indeed, the UN Climate Change Conference, starting next week in Bali, is the crucial moment to transform into deeds the international political momentum, and advance current negotiations with a view to agreeing on a new multilateral, comprehensive, coherent and effective post-2012 regime by 2009, in order to avoid any implementation gap between the two commitment periods. To this end, COP13 in Bali must establish a clear road map, through COP14 in Poznán, towards COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009.
Recognizing the urgency of tackling this challenge, the European Union is determined to continue playing an active role by strengthening our commitments, but it is clear that climate change must be acknowledged as a real threat and that urgent action must be taken by the entire International Community.
The next steps will require unprecedented international co-operation on a path that we must truly walk together.
Thank you very much.