Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has outlined plans for a global meeting on the humanitarian impact of climate change.
Addressing journalists in Geneva on Tuesday, Annan, president of the new Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, demanded united action to support the world's poorest in adapting to climate change.
The issue will be the focus of the forum's first meeting to be held in Geneva on June 24-25, 2008.
The two-day conference and workshops will bring together 200 leaders and experts from governments, civil society and the business sector to "think solutions" and build partnerships to better meet the needs of those at risk. It hopes to focus attention on the more vulnerable ahead of the post-Kyoto climate change meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.
"Often when we think of climate change we focus on greenhouse emissions, while forgetting that it is having a real impact in the world today," said Annan. "Those who contributed least to climate change suffer most; the polluter must pay."
The forum was founded in June 2008 based on an initiative put forward by the Swiss foreign ministry. It aims to boost dialogue between all parties involved in humanitarian aid, acting as a catalyst, and to build bridges between areas that otherwise had little contact.
The forum's planned annual budget is SFr4 million ($3.99 million). It has so far received around SFr2.3 million, including SFr1.3 million from Switzerland.
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