Tarja K Halonen

Climate Change Speech - Sept. 24, 2007

Tarja K Halonen
September 24, 2007— New York City
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Speech at the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Event on Climate Change, in New York on 24 September 2007.

Well-being for mankind and nature go hand in hand. Sustainable development on a global scale can become a reality if we take true care of people and if we have a strong environmental awareness. There are positive signs of attitudes changing and of a stronger common will to act on climate issues. Scientists and non-governmental organizations have been active in this area for a long time, and the business community is starting to assume the same approach.

All countries have the right to develop and to aim for growth and prosperity. At the same time we as member states must recognize our joint responsibility in responding to global challenges. The United Nations and its organizations are the central forum for multilateral efforts.

The commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and by 2009 we must achieve a consensus on how to proceed. The Bali meeting this December will be a crucially important event for showing our commitment.

The European Union has adopted ambitious objectives for climate action. The Union has stressed that increased cooperation on technology-related issues should become an essential part of the post-2012 framework.

Industrialized countries must continue to take all possible steps to promote access to environmentally sound technologies for all countries. We have to show solidarity towards developing countries that address climate change and, at the same time, strive to achieve other development goals such as poverty eradication.

Countries need to work together to encourage the use for climate-friendly technologies. The key issues here are related to standards, taxes, duties and carbon markets.

Furthermore, we need innovation and creativity. The role of universities as well as research and development centres is of great importance – and that of innovative businesses, too. Also public-private partnerships can provide helpful means for promoting the development and use of clean technologies. Global markets have already shown signals that they are rewarding for those who are innovative, take early action and perform in a clean manner.

Though many aspects of sustainable development require international cooperation, most of the actual work must be done at the national and local level.

Ecological sustainability and social justice play prominent parts in Finland’s domestic and international policies. These are also key elements that have made our country competitive in globalization. Forestry and forestation are traditionally important areas for us, but environmental technology is also an integral part of our approach. Finland has, for example, invested in climate and energy technology, particularly in combined heat and power production, bioenergy and wind power technology. One third of the total value of Finnish exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies.

In this context, I would like to mention that during the past five years Finland and Tanzania have facilitated the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy – and have under this process worked together with many statesmen and politicians from both developing and developed countries.

As a part of the process, work is currently being done related to climate change and international energy governance. Experiences and networks of the Helsinki Process could be utilized also in the future in order to facilitate multilateral dialogue on sustainable development.

Finally, I would like to stress Finland’s commitment to the task ahead us. The shared challenge of combating climate change makes me confident that we will find ways to work together – also for developing necessary technologies and for putting them into use all over the world.

These are my greetings from the country, which you may know from its welfare and competitiveness - but Finland is also a country which the Arctic Circle crosses.

Halonen, Tarja. 2007. "Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen at the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Event on Climate Change, in New York on 24 September 2007." The President of the Republic of Finland. https://www.presidentti.fi/halonen/public/defaultdd8a.html?contentid=177022&nodeid=41416&contentlan=2&culture=en-US.