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Norway: Statement on Climate Change

New York, 26 October 2006: In a statement by First Secretary Lars S. Alsaker, Norway outlined its views on the CSD, climate change and biodiversity. Alsaker said Norway recognised that it is now widely accepted that we must deal with environmental challenges if we are to reduce poverty and solve the development problems the world is facing. On the CSD, Norway stressed that the Commission should continue to lead the effort to follow-up on the Rio and Johannesburg documents. Norway considers the CSD to be an important arena for all stakeholders engaged in sustainable development efforts. It has an important agenda-setting role, and initiates processes that are taken up in other forums. It promotes interlinkages between environment and development, as well as cross-cutting issues. These functions are the CSD’s strongest assets.

Regarding climate change Alsaker said it was increasingly clear that the main threat to global sustainable development is posed by climate change and its negative effects. Norway said it was imperative that a truly global regime to reduce emissions, in which all major emitters participate, be put in place as soon as possible, and in time to avoid any gap after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. He said the Norwegian Government has adopted the objective of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2˚C above the pre-industrial level. Being responsible for less than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, the countries that have accepted emission commitments under the Kyoto Protocol will be unable to achieve this objective on their own. Alsaker also added that while much deeper and broader efforts to mitigate GHG emissions are essential, the international community should not forget the plight of those who have not contributed much to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but who are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change: the world’s poorest and least resourceful countries, often the least developed countries and SIDS. He stressed that the international community has a responsibility to expand significantly assistance to the most vulnerable countries in this area. He emphasised that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial contribution to global-level disaster risk management and said that adaptation efforts should be fully integrated into general development plans, including through new and innovative financial mechanisms for supporting adaptation.

Regarding biodiversity, Alsaker said Norway welcomes the recent inclusion of the 2010 Biodiversity Target as part of Millennium Development Goal 7 on environmental sustainability, noting that this will contribute to the environmental credibility of the MDGs, and has the potential to ensure that actions are better targeted at safeguarding the ecosystem services on which we all, and most of all the poor, depend for our livelihoods.  He said Norway strongly supports the current focus on implementation of the commitments made under the CBD, but also sees the need to achieve positive outcomes in key areas that are still the subject of negotiations. He emphasised that Norway was particularly interested in access and benefit-sharing under the CBD, and said that Parties need to work together to develop systems to fulfil the third objective of the CBD – the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources. He stressed the need for a legally binding regime, in the form of a protocol to the CBD, to address these issues comprehensively. Norway said the new regime will need to take into consideration the agreements and provisions that already exist under other regimes and that better mechanisms for benefit-sharing will be an important incentive for countries to secure their biodiversity. 

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Source: Norway’s Mission to the UN, 2006

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