Ban Ki-moon shifts focus in climate change fight: report

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is shifting his focus away from involvement in international climate change talks and towards new areas in the fight against global warming, a report said Friday.

Ban is to redirect his efforts from trying to push forward the international climate change negotiations to a broader agenda of promoting clean energy and sustainable development, UN officials told Britain's Guardian newspaper.

After his deep involvement with the failed Copenhagen summit in 2009, Ban realised world leaders were not going to strike a sweeping agreement on global warming in the next few years, the officials said.

"It is very evident that there will not be a single grand deal at any point in the near future," said Robert Orr, UN assistant secretary general for strategic planning and a key adviser to Ban.

"Because the circumstances have changed, the nature of his engagement is changing," Orr added. "The relative balance of his time is shifting towards getting it done on the ground out there."

The Guardian reported that Ban was ending his hands-on involvement with international climate change negotiations.

But this was played down by UN spokesman Farhan Haq, who told AFP: "That's not quite the case. He is still involved."

The paper also said that Ban will not be deeply involved in negotiations leading up to the next UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, meeting at Durban in December 2011.

Despite the shift in focus, Orr insisted that Ban still believed an international agreement on climate change was essential, saying: "We are still going in the same direction."

Ban has previously said that it would be better to focus on individual areas than on clinching an overall deal.

Before the Cancun climate conference last year, he said it would be better to make progress on areas such as financing efforts against climate change and on forestry than on reaching a sweeping agreement.

He is due to discuss climate change at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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