A high-level international meeting on global climate change kicked off in Seoul on Monday to lay the groundwork for the upcoming 18th round of the United Nations conference on the issue, officials here said.
The Pre-Conference of the Parties (Pre-COP18) meeting, set to run until Tuesday, is expected to serve as a venue to discuss ways to push for negotiations on climate change ahead of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, Qatar from Nov. 26-Dec. 7, according to the officials.
The Seoul meeting brought some 200 participants, including Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, as well as ministers from 50 countries, members of the secretariat of the UNFCCC, and non-governmental organizations, the officials said.
Under the theme of "Meet the Challenge, Make the Change: Moving Forward with a Balanced Perspective," the participants aim to reach an agreement on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, under which countries vowed to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases, among other things, they added.
The Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 in the Japanese city and took effect in 2005, sets binding obligations on advanced countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent from the amount each recorded in 1990. The first phase of the commitment expires this year.
"The most pressing task in this year's negotiations is to ensure a smooth transition, so that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will start from the year 2013," South Korea's Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said during his congratulatory remarks at the opening ceremony.
"Now is the time to take a brand-new approach to global environmental challenges. Through concerted efforts, we can make a difference," Kim added. (Yonhap)