- The ministers come from nations considered most vulnerable to climate change
- An important world-wide climate change meeting is coming up in South Africa
- The ministers agreed to stand united on a number of climate issues
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged global leaders Monday to launch a multibillion-dollar climate fund agreed to last year in Cancun, Mexico.
The U.N. chief made the call as he attended a conference of climate vulnerable countries held here in the Bangladesh capital.
Representatives from 20 countries attended the ministerial level meeting inaugurated by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Ban said, "We are in the middle of a serious economic crisis. But even in these difficult times, we cannot afford delay. We cannot ask the poorest and the most vulnerable to bear the costs."
"The Green Climate Fund needs to be launched in Durban. An empty shell is not sufficient," he said.
"Governments must lead the way to catalyze the $100 billion dollars per annum from public and private sources that was pledged to 2020," he said.
He urged the governments to find a compromise on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change at a Durban climate conference and to make a broader comprehensive climate agreement possible in the future.
"Durban must complete what was agreed last year in Cancun," he said at the Climate Vulnerable Forum-2011.
The two-day CVF conference began Sunday, aiming to reach consensus on various climate issues and an agreement to work together at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) to be held in Durban, South Africa, beginning November 28.
Ban said adaptation must be a priority for all countries, but especially the most vulnerable. "They need help with resources and technology," he said.
The conference of the alliance of the 26 most vulnerable countries to climate change, ended with the adoption of a 14-point Dhaka Ministerial Declaration.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina expressed her frustration over a slow and inadequate progress of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process to confront the daunting challenges of climate change, and she called for setting criteria to prioritize vulnerable countries based on their risks and lack of coping capacities.
"We see no evidence of direct and easy access to funds and technology, and conditions and criteria seem to favor countries that have greater capacities... most vulnerable countries are failing to access whatever support that are being realized," she said.
The CVF members expressed their determination to stand indivisible to face causes, consequences and collateral effects of climate change in their declaration.
They reiterated firm resolve to work collectively with the other Parties to the UNFCCC towards limiting foreseeable global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, peaking global green house gas emissions by 2015.
Briefing reporters after the conference, the Bangladesh state minister for environment and forests, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, said, "We have decided to raise our voice together on various contentious issues in Durban".
The declaration said climate change induced displacement of people has become a major concern, and the relocation and rehabilitation of those people is putting enormous pressure on infrastructures and service facilities, as well as causing tremendous social stresses.
It said migration is a viable adaptation strategy to manage risks during displacement and relocation and affected populations should be offered enhanced options leading to a dignified and diversified livelihood.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum was founded at the initiative of the Maldives in 2009 and 26 countries, mostly from the group called the Least Developed Countries, have joined the forum so far.
The CVF members include Antigua, Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.