The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September in New York, in order to engage them in a conversation for advancing climate action and ambition across the world. The Summit intends to act as a platform for leaders and experts to put forward ideas and actions for tackling the issue of climate change and catalyse ambitious action on the ground for reducing emissions, strengthening climate resilience and mobilising political will for meaningful legal agreement in 2015.
Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of ICCCAD and Senior Fellow at IIED, has been selected after an open competition, as one of 38 civil society representatives to attend the Summit. Dr. Huq hopes that this event will revitalize global attention on climate change, from which, he believes, the focus has shifted in recent times.
“Our specific role will be to focus attention on the needs of most vulnerable to make sure countries have a strong common voice,” he says. “The prevailing narrative from developed countries — and large developing countries — is: Don’t expect too much, these are hard times; it’s difficult for us to mitigate. Their strategy is to manage and lower expectations” He also added “Our counter-narrative is, the cost of action might be high but it’s nothing compared to the cost of inaction, which is hugely worse. Doing nothing will have repercussions for everyone – it might hit the most vulnerable first, but ultimately it will come back and hit everyone.” Dr. Huq also cited the late entry of politicians into the scene, as one of the failures of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009.
In addition to the Climate Summit, Dr. Huq will also be joining the Bangladeshi community in New York on 21 September, in participating at the People’s Climate March. More than 1000 organizations, along with people representing countries around the world, will be taking part at this event also being referred to as “the largest climate march in history”. The aim of this march is to raise attention on climate change and encourage leaders attending the summit to agree on positive action for tackling the issue.