Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed: “Leaders will only understand things when the people understand things.”

Heavy hitters in the UN: (from left to right) Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP; Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of WFP; Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed; Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP and Chair of UNDG; and Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the WMO.

At “Advancing work on adaptation to climate change:  A United Nations system perspective,” top officials from five U.N. agencies spoke to a packed room.  They called for collaboration and cooperation between all U.N. agencies to be provided in any text to come out of COP15.  Speakers included Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Chair of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG); Ann Veneman, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  H.E. Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives, chaired the panel.  President Masheed began the discussion by emphasizing that developing countries will feel the effects of climate change first, and that, in the Maldives, ocean level rise is leading to salt water already contaminating fresh water reserves.  He emphasized that good governance is central to successful adaptation measures to protect people and ecosystems. Continue reading