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UN Secretary-General meets with Finnish NGOs

Finnish environmental group disappointed by UN leader’s views on climate

UN Secretary-General meets with Finnish NGOs
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon got a critical review from Leo Stranius, climate policy spokesperson for the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation on Wednesday.
      At a meeting between Ban and Finnish non-governmental organisations, Ban was said to have given vague answers to Stranius’s questions on actions to slow climate change.
      “I can’t be very enthusiastic. I am surprised that he spoke so much about the findings of climate scientists on global warming. Everyone knows that. Now we need new action”, Stranius said.
Ban’s message was, more or less, that the governments of the world need to believe what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported on warming.
      He sees the trend as “serious and alarming”, and said that the European Union should take the lead in the climate struggle.
      Sanius was nevertheless pleased that the Secretary-General was willing to meet with the NGOs, and he admitted that Ban might not have much capacity to affect the situation on his own.
A representative of the Sami, or Lapp people, Janne Saijets, said that he was pleased to have the opportunity to express to Ban his concern about the problem of land rights for the Sami. Saijets noted that Finland has not ratified the treaty of the International Labour Organisation on the issue of indigenous peoples.
      The ILO treaty recognises the right of indigenous peoples to their traditional home areas, and urges states to protect their culture, language, and environment.
      According to Saijets, tree felling in the north has affected the Sami for decades.
      Ban admitted that he knows little about the situation of the Sami, but he emphasised that indigenous peoples have the right to “a dignified life”.
      “I got the answer that the Finnish government should take Sami matters into consideration”, Saijets said.
Ban told Eeva Koskinen, a local representative of UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, that he wants a new section in the UN to promote the status of women, and a new programme or fund, or a combination of these.
      “However, he did not take a stand on whether or not UNIFEM would remain a UN brand in the future”, Koskinen said.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  UN Secretary-General: New US policies warm international atmosphere (27.5.2009)
  UN Secretary_General begins visit to Finland (26.5.2009)

  Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
  UNIFEM Finland
  Finnish Association for Nature Conservation

Helsingin Sanomat

  28.5.2009 - TODAY
 UN Secretary-General meets with Finnish NGOs

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