Statement at the closing session

by Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs

Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Lųj

It is a privilege and a pleasure for me to close this International Conference on "National Action to Mitigate Global Climate Change".

When I say it is a pleasure it is not because I am paying lip-service to you, but because I follow with great interest how the political commitments of 150 heads of state or ministers who signed the Climate Change Convention are followed up by action on national level.

And during the Danish presidency of the EU last year, I personally had the privilege to head the Danish delegation to INC in March 1993.

We believe that European leadership is necessary both at national and international level to take action to implement the Climate Change Convention. In his opening speech, the Danish Minister for the Environment, Mr. Svend Auken, explained how we have taken the lead by setting up the most ambitious target worldwide to reduce with 20 per cent CO2 emissions by the year 2005.

This target will be implemented mainly by action plans on energy and transport which are in the process of being implemented.

Leadership is also taken with regard to financial assistance.

Denmark is one of the main contributors to activities related to Climate Change and next week the board of Danida will be presented with a proposal for activities related to the implementation for the Climate Change Convention, namely a communication and review project under the Interim Secretariat as well as a project under UNEP on country case studies and development of guidelines for assessing the impact of climate change and adaptation measures.

The reason for mentioning these two projects is not only that we are giving a substantial Danish support, but also that they are closely related to the work that you have undertaken during the past three days.

Officials from all over the world have to do the hard work, namely to translate the political commitments from Rio into national action plans. It is our ambition that bringing you together will lead not only to an improvement of the global climate, but also to a better climate among officials dealing with this important task. Better knowledge of the problems and constraints that all countries are facing in the process of translating words into national action leads to better understanding and cooperation among nations.

The climate is a global resource that we all share. Protecting it will require all countries to cooperate on the basis of real partnership which is the true spirit of Rio.

Further, Mr. Chairman, I would like to congratulate the Risų Collaborating Centre for taking the initiative to arrange this conference. I believe it is the first large-scale conference which the Centre has hosted. The successful outcome of the conference, I believe, proves that the Centre has now, after 3½ years of existence, shown its quality and potential.

It is therefore appropriate that I am able to announce that UNEP, Danida and Risų National Laboratory have just this week reached an agreement on the modalities for a new three-year phase for the Centre.

I know that living on the basis of short-term financing agreements is not always easy for a scientific institution. I am therefore sure that it is welcome news that the basis for securing financing up to the end of 1997 has now been agreed.

Next year, when UNEP's Governing Council has approved a new general programme for the biennium 1996-97, the exact work programme for the Centre will be negotiated in order to ensure coherence between the two programmes.

However, based on past experiences as confirmed in the recent evaluation report, the Centre is able to fulfil the tasks that will be assigned to it within the framework of the new UNEP energy programme. A programme which we are awaiting with great interest - like the rest of the work programme for a revitalized and restructured UNEP.

Mr. Chairman, participants, I hope you have enjoyed the meeting, our city, our not too hot climate, and I wish you a safe journey home.

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