'The glaciers are melting', Brende warns Ban

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon meets journalists on Monday. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix
16:45 CEST+02:00
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been told to expect the worst when he visits the Arctic islands of Svalbard on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende warning that “climate change is happening in double quick time”.

Ban is visiting Svalbard alongside Brende as part of his preparations for the Climate Change Summit in Paris in December. He last visited in 2009 ahead of a similar summit in Copenhagen.

“Unfortunately, I think you will see negative changes since 2009,” Brende told Ban as he received Ban on Monday ahead of the Oslo Education Summit. “The glaciers are melting and climate change is happening in double-quick time. It's going to be a wake up call before the Paris meeting.”

Ban said he hoped his visit would help speed up the slow pace of negotiations.

“We must make the world aware of the urgency to take action on climate change,” he said. “I was on Svalbard in 2009 and got a first-hand look at what changes have happened there.”

Senior figures from 40 different countries came to Oslo on Monday for the education summit, including former UK prime minister Gordon Brown and Malala Yousafzai, the education activist who won last year’s Nobel peace prize.

Ahead of the summit, Brende cited a new UN report which showed that fewer children were attending primary school.  

“The challenges are enormous. Altogether there are 124 million children and adolescents who do not go to primary or secondary school,” Brende said. “If we are to succeed in eradicating poverty, we must invest in quality education for all.”

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