10:15–10:20 Welcoming Statement
Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Vice-Rector, United Nations University (UNU) and Director, UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)
10:20–10:50 Keynote Presentation
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico
“Preserving Our Common Heritage: Promoting a Fair Agreement on Climate Change”
Moderator: Hironori Hamanaka, Chair of the Board of Directors, IGES
Commentators: Yoichi Funabashi, Editor-in-Chief, Asahi Shimbun and Kazuhiko Takeuchi.
Mexican president Felipe Calderón delivered the 16th U Thant Distinguished Lecture to a standing-room-only audience at UNU on 2nd February 2010 on the subject of a fair agreement on climate change.
Mr. Calderón emphasized the need to rebuild confidence and trust following the disappointing COP 15 climate summit in Copenhagen last December. Mexico will host the next major climate summit — COP 16 — in Cancún in November and December this year.
He said that developed countries have the responsibility to act on climate change, but that developing nations are now responsible for more than half of the total greenhouse gas emissions. “Emission reduction efforts by advanced economies are not enough,” he said, “We need everyone’s participation.”
While noting the difficulty of a complete consensus, Mr. Calderón added that “the principle of consensus doesn’t mean in any way the capability of veto coming from three or four parties.”
Mr. Calderón spoke of mitigation and adaptation initiatives in Mexico, notably those that sought to link climate change and poverty reduction: those who struggle to feed themselves and their families have little incentive to act against the more abstract threat of climate change, even though the longer-term consequences to them may be dire. “We have to change the existing economic order,” he said, and spoke of the need to solve the “intertemporal problem” of bringing the long-term benefits of investment in new technologies and energies to people today in the form of jobs and improved livelihoods.
Following his speech, Mr. Calderón was joined on stage by Yoichi Funabashi, editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun and Kazuhiko Takeuchi, UNU vice-rector, for a discussion moderated by Hironori Hamanaka, chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.
Text of President Calderón’s speech is available in Spanish and Japanese. UNU’s webcast is available in Spanish, Japanese and English.