WEF told to create global Green New Deal

Business leaders and governments meeting at the World Economic Forum were urged to use the current economic crisis to create a global 'Green New Deal'.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urged world leaders meeting at Davos, in Switzerland, launch a Global Compact to create jobs and fight climate change by investing in renewable energy and technological development.

Speaking at the forum, he said the changing times called for a new definition of leadership – a global leadership.

“By tackling climate change head-on, we can solve many of our current troubles, including the threat of global recession,” he said.

Mr Ban urged businesses and governments to avoid “short-sighted unilateralism and business as usual”.

“We live in a new era,” he told delegates. “Its challenges can be solved by cooperation – and only by cooperation.”

His words recalled the actions of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who ten years ago at the World Economic Forum launched a Global Compact of corporate responsibility challenging businesses to partner with the UN on the Millennium Development Goals.

At other sessions in Davos, the Secretary-General also pushed for a climate change communication initiative to encourage global engagement in tackling climate change, and for businesses and world leaders to make water security a top issue for climate change adaptation discussions this year.

“The problem is that we have no coordinated global [water] management authority in the UN system or the world at large,” he said.

“There is no overall responsibility, accountability or vision for how to address the related problems of climate change, agricultural stress and water technology.”

This year’s World Economic Forum saw social networking become an integral part of the activities, with YouTube, MySpace and Facebook all running initiatives to get their audiences involved in the debate.

UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron was among those who took part in a question and answer session with YouTube users.

Asked if the environment will lose out to the economy in 2009, he said: “I don’t agree. We have got to make sure that growth and the environment are not alternatives – that they go together.”

See his full response below.

Kate Martin

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