Copenhagen summit enters second week

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pretoria - The marathon United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, has entered its second week today.

Environment ministers, including South Africa's Buyelwa Sonjica, will hold closed-door meetings to hammer out disagreements over a draft agreement to combat global warming.

World leaders, including United States President Barack Obama, President Jacob Zuma, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are this week expected to join more than 15 000 participants taking part in the summit

The leaders will be greeted with over 100 real-life stories demonstrating the devastating impact global warming has on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has installed a UN Climate Wall - high-tech touch-screens broadcasting the sights and sounds of a changing climate - near the conference hall.

The urgency of a definitive and fair climate deal is the underlying theme of the strong messages posted on the UN Climate Wall by scientists, civil society representatives, political and business leaders, public figures, UN officials and ordinary people.

"Reaching an agreement in Copenhagen is a political and moral imperative," said Satinder Bindra, UNEP Director of Communications and Public Information.

According to Bindra, the lives of millions have already been impacted by climate change and millions more will suffer if nothing is done.

"We wanted the voices of the most vulnerable to be heard as their fate, and the fate of the planet, lies in the balance."

Meanwhile, on Sunday police detained more than 200 climate change activists in downtown Copenhagen.

Riot police detained activists at the tail end of the demonstration when some of them started vandalizing buildings.

An estimated 40 000 people joined the mostly peaceful march toward the suburban conference center where the conference is being held.