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In introducing the item on climate change, the Chairperson of the High-level Committee on Programmes noted that, in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, the Committee had focused on modalities to ensure that the presentation of the CEB Climate Change Action Framework had maximum visibility and impact and conveyed the system’s commitment and capacity to assist Member States in the implementation of an agreement. A number of side events had been held at the Copenhagen Conference, successfully projecting a unified approach by the United Nations system. The Committee was invited to take stock of developments leading to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at its sixteenth session (COP16) and the recommendations of the High-level Committee on Programmes Working Group on Climate Change concerning ongoing work and related initiatives, as well as the next steps for the United Nations system.


Committee members took note of the briefings and expressed satisfaction with the working group’s achievements. In moving ahead, it would be important to ensure a clear division of labour among the various coordination mechanisms already in existence. A light approach by the working group was welcomed, and suggestions were made to have lead and cooperating agencies in the various thematic areas, with a structured exchange of progress through a knowledge-sharing Internet-based platform.

With regard to thematic focus, it was considered that the climate change focus and cross-cutting areas could benefit from further precision and enhanced operational perspectives. Committee members agreed to establish a separate focus area on the social dimensions of climate change as a way to ensure focus on the most vulnerable groups. The interconnectedness between the work on climate change and the Millennium Development Goals and the nine joint crisis initiatives was seen as crucial in the further work of the working group. 

In addition to those matters, the Committee engaged in discussions focused on the outcomes of COP15, lessons for managing the level of expectations and the role of the United Nations as the multilateral forum for intergovernmental negotiations and supporting Member States in implementation. Appreciation was expressed for the informal discussions that had been held in Bali, which had taken forward the message that equity and common responsibility should be the core of an agreement and that the forthcoming negotiations should be clear, transparent and inclusive.


The Committee agreed to continue the mandate of the High-level Committee on Programmes Working Group on Climate Change. Committee members agreed that, in maintaining the One United Nations approach, it would be useful to develop a clear joint message on the Copenhagen outcome as a basis for leveraging the concrete operational contributions of the United Nations system in the climate change process in order to maintain positive momentum for the conference to be held in Mexico. The Chairperson requested that the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in consultation with the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team and the CEB secretariat, give further consideration to that matter.