UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- While world leaders gathered at the United Nations for a historic summit on climate change on Tuesday, the developing countries urged the developed countries to acknowledge their responsibility for global warming and honor their promise of providing funds and technology transfer.
Addressing the largest summit ever, General Assembly President Ali Treki, a veteran Libyan diplomat, said the poor countries, which are least responsible for the problem of climate change, often suffered first and most from its impact.
"In sub-Saharan Africa, in the deltas of Asia or among the Pacific Islands and elsewhere, climate changes such as rising sea levels, floods, droughts, hurricanes and other changed weather patterns are threatening not only hard-won progress in the battle against poverty, but the existence of entire nations," Treki warned.
In his speech to the world leaders, President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed struck a plaintive note by saying that his country's fate depended on the ability of the developed nations to stop the political bickering and come to an agreement on global warming.
"If things go business as usual, we will not live," he said at the UN climate summit. "We will die. Our country will not exist."
Nasheed, who is chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States(AOSIS), said the developed nations had to acknowledge their historic responsibility for global warming and accept binding emission reduction targets.
Meanwhile, the developing world had to be ready to accept binding emission reduction targets under the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, as long as the rich nations provided the tools, technology and finance to reform the developing world' s economic base and pursue carbon-neutral development, he said.
There are 15 days of negotiation left before world leaders are expected to reach a climate deal in Copenhagen this December.
The AOSIS adopted a declaration on Monday calling for a new climate pact that ensures global warming be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The 42-member group also called on industrialized nations to provide the developing island countries with adequate financial resources, technology, and human capacity to help mitigate and adapt to extreme weather events.
Echoing Nasheed's remarks, Rwandan President Paul Kagame told the summit that while Africa was likely to suffer more from climate change than other regions, it had fewer resources to handle the challenge.
"Today's event should not be considered a new round of 'the blame game,' as pointing fingers would be in poor taste and counterproductive," Kagame reasoned.
"A shared responsibility for mitigation and adaptation strategies was urgently needed, as all nations were facing the climate challenge together."
Kagame believed Africa had stood on the periphery of the debate long enough, with climate change considered a problem destined to be solved by Western nations.
"This should no longer apply," he said, whether in terms of participation in discussions or in the adoption of green technologies.
Africa should be as alarmed by the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap to unprecedented levels, as by current droughts ravaging the African continent, he believed.
President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias also joined the chorus to urge the developed countries to do their part in tackling climate change challenges.
"Those who had benefited most from past unsustainable development should change course and offer a helping hand in solidarity," Arias asserted.
Speaking "on behalf of over 100 middle-income countries," Arias said these countries deserved an audible voice at the summit.
He also stressed that greater investments in adaptation technologies were needed, particularly among the developing countries. Because of their geographic circumstances, low incomes, dependence on agriculture and weaker infrastructure, they were already suffering from increasingly extreme droughts, hurricanes and floods.
Speaking 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) must fulfill the commitments in the agreement.
All developed countries must be willing to set ambitious targets even after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Also, the international community must provide the developing countries with much-needed assistance to deal with climate change, in particular financial and technological resources, Nahar said at a closing session.
In a summary of Tuesday's talks among world leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that there was convergence on five key issues, including enhanced measures to help the most vulnerable and poorest adapt to the impact of climate change as well as setting emission reduction targets for industrialized countries.
Heads of state and government also agreed on the importance of the developing countries taking mitigation actions with necessary support, scaling up financial and technical resources and setting up an equitable governance structure.