Sarkozy calls for a global organization on the environment | World | Breaking news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 18.07.2009

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Sarkozy calls for a global organization on the environment

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stressed the need for a global environmental organization to help countries fight climate change. Sarkozy is in New York to attend a concert honoring Nelson Mandela.

The silhouette of a person in front of a map showing temperatures

Sarkozy wants more action on climate change

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the call for a global environmental organization after a working lunch at the French consulate in New York City with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, where the two took part in wide-ranging discussions on global issues, with climate change topping the agenda.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Sarkozy didn't explain the specifics of his idea during talks with Ban

Speaking on French television after the meeting, Sarkozy called for new action on environmental issues, which were a major part of discussions at this month's G8 summit in Italy. Sarkozy didn't give any indication of how he thought this new global organization should be laid out.

"We will fight, hand in hand, a battle against the consequences of climate change. We must create a global organization on the environment," he added.

The key decision of the G8 summit was an agreement that world efforts should be directed towards limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above eighteenth-century levels, to prevent catastrophic climate and weather changes around the world.

Ban said he was grateful for Sarkozy's "full commitment to work together to seal the deal in Copenhagen on a globally acceptable" climate change agreement.

UNEP left out?

The world already has a global environmental organization. It's called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established in June1972 as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment.

Part of the mandate of the UNEP is "to promote international co-operation in the field of the environment and to recommend, as appropriate, policies to this end."

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy singing on stage

Bruni-Sarkozy said she wouldn't take the stage again after becoming first lady of France

Almost every international agreement on the environment has come under the auspices of the UNEP, including the Kyoto Protocol. It is unclear how a new global environmental organization would really be different.

At an international conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December, governments are to agree on goals to fight climate change under a new Kyoto Protocol. The current protocol will expire in 2012.

Sarkozy is in New York with his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to attend a fund raising concert to celebrate the 91st birthday of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Bruni-Sarkozy, the model turned singer turned first lady, will be performing at the concert.

Editor: Trinity Hartman

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