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Welcoming speech by Elena Espinosa - Barcelona web conference

I'd like to welcome all the delegates who will be participating in the "Barcelona Climate Talks" to be held in the week of 2 to 6 November and aimed at contributing towards the success of the Copenhagen Conference.

More than thirty years ago the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment issued a warning about the state of the planet and its resources. This historic event led to the integration of environmental factors into sector policies, an irreversible process which Spain has not overlooked.

The Barcelona Conference is the last stop before the Copenhagen summit, and it is here that we need to reach a comprehensive and global agreement on how to reduce climate change, adapt to its effects, facilitate access to technology and financial resources and provide an appropriate institutional response to deal with all this efficiently for the mid and long term.

The road map was laid down in the Bali Action Plan. The time has come for us to keep to our schedule, having spent so much energy unifying the political will of all governments. The urgency of the environmental situation requires rapid responses, but in this case the economic opportunities could not be greater: The Copenhagen Summit will help identify the keys areas for investment and technological development to be made, to rebuild confidence in the markets. This is a significant milestone, and as difficult as it may seem to us today, it will soon become apparent.

An agreement will only be possible here if it is based on the principles of effectiveness, efficiency and equity. We must lay the groundwork for a just and efficient transition towards a development model that will successfully meet the requirements of the 21st century; adapting to our planet's limitations; and to its inhabitants' legitimate aspirations to continue enjoying suitable levels of welfare and development; reducing the economic and financial risks of a system which has been incapable up until now of adequately meeting the extremely high costs it was placing on the environment.

Progress must be made without further delay. Therefore, I would like to urge participants, both the delegates and the representatives of civil society that will meet in Barcelona, to work energetically and with the conviction that it is still possible to make a significant and rapid change to the development and growth model, so it will be more beneficial for the environment and more supportive towards vulnerable citizens and peoples.