WASHINGTON: A top UN official has played down the absence of the heads of state of India and China from the Climate Summit in New York this week, saying the two countries are very serious about an agreement on global warming.
UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson said: "China believes that a very senior representative is coming, the vice premier, the third in the Chinese establishment and the first on climate and development issues. So, they regard that as being very senior."
"And in the case of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, he's coming to the General Assembly, and I'm sure he will reference climate later (in his address to the UN General Assembly)," Robinson said in an interviewed to PBS news channel.
The top UN official said "the communications from both (India and China) have been, we do want a climate agreement, we're very serious about it. So I don't take it as being negative in that sense."
A galaxy of world leaders including US President Barack Obama attended the day-long Climate Change Summit in New York on Tuesday.
Leaders of both India and China were not present at the meeting, which many critics said shows the countries are not serious about addressing the challenges of climate change.
Both India and China have denied this. The UN also believes the same. "...I don't take it as being negative in that sense. We're incredibly moved by the numbers that are here and the numbers that have come out in the street to mobilise their leaders. I think the Secretary-General played it absolutely right in having this climate summit," Robinson said.
This week's summit of leaders will be followed by a series of meetings by ministers and other officials culminating in a crunch conference in Paris next December.
"It has made a huge difference to everybody's deadlines and planning. And it has helped us on the road, first of all, to Peru to, Lima, this December, where we see a text of a climate agreement and then negotiations for the year that will take us up to Paris," the top UN official said.