Is U.N. secretary-general planning pre-Copenhagen gathering?
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set on jump-starting international climate negotiations, according to a Financial Times article (registration required).
The report appears to be based on comments made today by Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN climate convention. De Boer’s remarks, made at the Globe International meeting in London, were picked up by other news organizations, but the FT‘s reporters put much greater emphasis on Ban’s apparent plans to call a summit in the near term.
The BBC piece makes no mention of a summit, while Reuters buried the summit mention further down, suggesting that the U.N. chief isn’t as far along in planning as the FT piece would make it seem. From the Reuters piece: “De Boer said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hoped to convene a ‘small but representative’ group of governments and heads of state in the spring to identify key political issues. ‘What I would like to see come out of a process like that is first of all a shared vision that politically has to be delivered and agreed in Copenhagen,’ he said.”
Ban certainly did talk climate change with two high-level U.S. officials today, as made clear in this bit of the transcript from the daily U.N. press briefing:
Question: What did Secretary-General Ban say to Susan Rice when he met with her this morning?
Deputy Spokesperson: As you probably heard, Susan Rice came out at the stakeout this morning, and I certainly can confirm that the subjects that she mentioned and the way forward that she laid out is in line with the readout that I received. Just to recap, for those of you who may have missed the readout of the Secretary-General’s conversation with President Obama on Friday afternoon:
The Secretary-General received a call early on Friday afternoon from President Barack Obama. The two leaders discussed a range of issues of common concern and interest. The Secretary-General underlined the importance of the US-UN partnership and stressed the need for the two to work closely together on major issues like the global economic crisis, climate change, food security and in the resolution of regional crises, particularly those in the Middle East and Africa.
The Secretary-General and the US President discussed ongoing efforts at UN reforms and the Organization’s need for adequate political support and funding. The Secretary-General was encouraged by the US President’s assurance of strong support as the Organization makes further progress in this direction. They also looked forward to mutual visits.
The Secretary-General also had a very cordial conversation with United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at which they discussed issues of multilateral interest and importance such as food security, the Darfur peace process, climate change and management reform in the UN. The Secretary of State emphasized the importance of working together with the UN in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq. And the two leaders discussed greater cooperation in UN reform and budgetary issues as well as mutual visits.
Based on this readout and Susan Rice’s readout at the stakeout, I think you have some idea of where we are going on this.