UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 100 heads of state and government concluded on Tuesday evening their largest-ever gathering on the climate challenge with what UN chief Ban Ki-moon called "a sense of optimism, urgency and hope."
The day-long event has generated "fresh wind" and "much-needed political momentum" for the international community to reach an ambitious agreement on greenhouse gas emission at the upcoming UN conference in Copenhagen, Ban told a press conference at the end of the summit.
"We are on the right track," the UN secretary-general said.
But the UN chief also struck a more cautious note. "It will not be easy. It involves a terribly complex negotiating process," he said. "We are not there yet, and while the summit is not guarantee that we will get a deal, we are certainly one step further."
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, whose country will host the historic UN climate meeting in December, echoed with a similar view. "We are still far from a solution. There is a deadlock in negotiations."
Although this summit was "a bold step in the right direction," heads of state must make it a priority to provide clear support and guidance to the negotiators, Rasmussen said.
The premier said that he was encouraged by the round table discussions, which sent "a very strong signal that heads of state have decided to engage themselves in this."
The opening session of the summit featured quoting late astronomer Carl Sagan and showing his "Pale Blue Dot" photo of Earth taken in 1990 from Voyager 1 within the larger cosmos, followed by a film both written and narrated by children from around the world.
Leaders of the United States, Maldives, China, Japan, Rwanda, Sweden, Costa Rica and France also spoke at the opening session.
U.S. President Barack Obama, making his first visit to the UN since taking office early this year, said that the developed nations had a responsibility to lead in dealing with climate change.
"The developed nations that caused much of the damage to our climate over the last century still have a responsibility to lead," Obama said.
"And we will continue to do so -- by investing in renewable energy, promoting greater efficiency, and slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050," he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a meeting of leaders of major economies in November to further discuss the climate challenge ahead of December's meeting in Copenhagen.
"Considering how complex this negotiation is, a new summit before Copenhagen is needed," he said.
After the opening session, world leaders met in eight closed round tables throughout the day, to discuss possible actions that can help the negotiations reach a successful outcome in Copenhagen.
At the conclusion of the summit, Ban urged world leaders to act speedily by providing the much needed political support and guidance.
"I was heartened to hear that a growing number of leaders are prepared to move beyond purely national perspectives to global leadership," Ban told world leaders at the closing session of the summit.
"You have undertaken to remain engaged until a deal is sealed in Copenhagen. And you have agreed to give guidance to your negotiators to work toward an ambitious, effective and fair deal in Copenhagen," he said.
"All of you support the urgent need to step up action and raise the financial resources needed to make this happen," the secretary-general said.
Speaking at the closing session, Grenada's Prime Minister Tilman Thomas, whose country holds the chairmanship of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), called for a "long-term" strategy to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees centigrade.
"As stated many times before, with the temperature increase of two degrees centigrade, many of the economies of Small Island Developing States and island ecosystems will virtually disappear," Thomas said.
Thomas also urged the developed countries to provide financing and technology support to the developing countries to cope with climate change.
On behalf of the Group of 77 (G77), Sudan's Environment Minister Ahmad Babiker Nahar said that to ensure a success in Copenhagen, all parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should fulfill commitments that have been already made in the agreement.
All developed countries should be willing to undertake ambitious targets even after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Also, the international community should provide the developing countries with much-needed assistance to deal with climate change, in particular financial and technological resources, Nahar said.
The G77 reaffirms that "responses to climate change should be coordinated with social and economic development, the first and overriding priorities of the developing countries, in an integrated manner, with a view to avoiding adverse impact on the latter," Nahar added.