National action must be at the center of our response to climate change—with industrialized countries taking the lead. Fifteen years have passed since the Framework Convention on Climate Change was finalized in Rio. It has been ten years since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.
Yet most industrialized country emissions are still rising. And their per capita emissions remain unacceptably high. At the same time, support for adaptation by poor countries has fallen well short of what is required. Addressing these shortcomings requires contributions from all countries and all sectors of society, from civil society and business, to regional and local governments. That is why I have invited their representatives to join us today, and to share their ideas and experiences. All sectors will need to be engaged if global emissions are to peak in the next ten to fifteen years, and be significantly reduced in the years thereafter, as indicated by the IPCC.
Given the nature and magnitude of the challenge, national action alone is insufficient. No nation can address this challenge on its own. No region can insulate itself from these climate changes. That is why we need to confront climate change within a global framework, one that guarantees the highest level of international cooperation."
—Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, in the opening address of the High-Level Event on Climate Change, 24 September, 2007