High-Level Task Force To Seek New Climate Change Framework

Club Of Madrid Partners With UN Foundation

December 20, 2006


Megan Rabbitt

The Club of Madrid and the United Nations Foundation announced today the formation of an independent High-Level Task Force on Climate Change to develop and propose a new framework for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change through the Gleneagles Dialogue process. The Task Force will be chaired by Ricardo Lagos, President of the Club of Madrid, and Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, and facilitated by Mohamed El-Ashry, former CEO and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility.

The Club of Madrid consists of 66 Members, democratic former Heads of State and Government from some 50 countries around the world. It offers a neutral, yet uniquely equipped combination of political experience and substantive expertise to consider major global issues affecting sustainable democratic development. At its recent Annual Conference, the Members of the Club of Madrid resolved to work on the issue of climate change as an area of global concern which urgently requires leadership and international cooperation.

The Task Force will offer recommendations to the Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, launched at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in July 2005 as an informal forum complementing the formal negotiations within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Dialogue involves 20 countries – the G8 plus Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Spain, South Africa, and South Korea, as well as the European Commission The Dialogue will report back to the G8 in 2008.

“We are fast approaching a tipping point on global warming, and it is time for more concerted action to avoid dangerous impacts on our economic and environmental systems,” said Wirth, who led the U.S. climate team as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs under President Clinton. “The basic building blocks of an international agreement are readily identifiable – but political will and consensus have been elusive. Together with the Club of Madrid, we’re creating this task force to harness the wisdom of former world leaders and demonstrate that a political consensus is possible – before it is too late.”

“We know that a sustainable energy future is possible and the costs are not out of reach, but increased political will and greater collaboration between developed and developing countries are missing,” said Lagos, who served as President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. “We hope that by using this forum of high-level dialogues, we’ll be able to make clear, concise recommendations on the next steps to mitigate climate change and empower our leaders to move quickly and forcefully on this important issue.”

“The Club of Madrid brings great political strength to this effort. As former Presidents and Prime Ministers, they have had to make difficult decisions in many different areas. They know firsthand what the difficult political questions are and thus can offer unique added value to this very particular and major challenge,” said El-Ashry, now a Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation. “The UN Foundation is providing support and leadership for a dialogue that will need to take into account the concerns and needs of different regions, levels of development, and the role that parties involved – in government, politics and institutions – should and can play in stopping climate change.”

The High-Level Task Force will have a maximum membership of 20 eminent persons, widely recognized for their ability to influence public opinion and shape agendas on global issues. It will include Members of the Club of Madrid, former leaders of major intergovernmental organizations, and renowned representatives of civil society, the private sector, and academia. Membership will reflect both a geographical balance and the voice of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in the climate change challenge.

The Task Force on Climate Change will address a number of key issues including:

  • Effective targets and timetables for developed and developing countries.
  • Market-based mechanisms, carbon trading, and a more efficient Clean Development Mechanism.
  • Flexible intellectual property rights and competitiveness rules to allow for innovation and transfer of clean energy technologies between developed and developing countries.
  • Assistance to developing countries for adoption of clean and efficient energy technologies.
  • Adaptation, its link with development, and financing mechanisms.
  • Enhanced investment and collaboration on research, development, and deployment of cleaner and lower-cost energy technologies.

In 2007:

  • Members of the Task Force will meet on at least two occasions in advance of the Berlin Gleneagles meeting in September and the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention in Bali in December to exchange views and draw up recommendations.
  • To provide technical input and inform the Task Force deliberations, two expert roundtables with approximately 20-30 participants will be convened prior to each of the two Task Force sessions to advise on the most critical topics of debate. In addition, a multi-stakeholder consultation will be organized to facilitate broader participation and enhance the output of the Task Force process.

The end result of the Task Force’s work will be a concise statement of principles and objectives to guide international negotiations toward a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change, particularly within the desired, accelerated timetable, well before the treaty’s expiration in 2012.

A review of the results of this process and the outcome of the Gleneagles Dialogue meeting in September 2007 will guide the Task Force in charting a course for 2008, with a focus on the final meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue in Tokyo in the fall of 2008.

About the Club of Madrid

The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government. www.clubmadrid.org

About the United Nations Foundation

The UN Foundation was created in 1998 to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems and also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. www.unfoundation.org.

Press Contacts
Katherine Miller, Communications Director, United Nations Foundation
(o) 202.778.1622 (c) 202.247.7280 (e) kmiller@unfoundation.org
Barbara González del Valle, Communications, Club of Madrid
(o) 34. 91. 154 82 45 (e) bgonzalez@clubmadrid.org