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On Road to Bali, Kyoto Protocol Under Fire, UN's Ban Defends from NGO, not UNDP

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- Ten days before the Bali climate change conference, the Kyoto Protocol is under fire from outside and inside the UN. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through his spokesperson, tried to rebut the outside criticism on Thursday, rejecting non-governmental organization WWF's estimate that one in five Clean Development Mechanism projects "would have been done anyway." Video here, from Minute 15:24. The spokesperson said that's "impossible to say" because the "science is new." In any case, she said, the CDM rules are the responsibility of the 175 countries in the conference of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, not of the UN. But does Ban Ki-moon think the rules are strong enough? The answer will have to be pursued.

            Wednesday there were even fewer answers. A day after questioning the UN Development Program about its Human Development Report's criticism of the Kyoto Protocol, and its call for developing countries to commit to emission caps, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's Associate Spokesman for his position on the report.

Ban Ki-moon and Dr. Pachauri, UNDP report not shown

From the transcript:

Inner City Press: The report yesterday by UNDP, the Human Development Report on Climate Change, you know, called for specific emissions targets, including for developing countries.  It's been criticized by India and even by Dr. Pachauri, the UN's IPCC expert on it.  Ban Ki-moon, does he agree with the UNDP report, or does he disagree with the report?  What does he think of it?  It's a UN report on climate change that now Dr. Pachauri has criticized.  So where does Ban Ki-moon stand on the recommendations of the report?

Associate Spokesperson:  We stand by the UN system's reports.  Obviously, they have the right to publish a variety of reports with a variety of views in it.  We don't have to sit as the referee between different officials about that.

Inner City Press: Does he believe that the developing countries should go to Bali with an idea of committing to targets for reductions of emissions or not?  Developing countries.  That seems like a key issue.

Associate Spokesperson:  The Secretary-Generalís positions about Bali have been articulated by him several times in the past, and I can just refer you simply to his comments, which do not deal with that particular issue.

            Why answer about an issue by referring to comments which "do not deal with that particular issue"? And who but the Secretary-General is going to referee between two conflicting UN system positions on global warming? Maybe it will all become clear in Bali. Stay tuned.

* * *

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540