UN chief witnesses climate change impacts in Greenland

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday saw first-hand the impacts of climate change during a visit to Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating.

"The secretary general has been in Greenland today to see first-hand the impacts of climate change," Xinhua quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesperson, as saying at a daily news briefing here.

"He spent the morning in the town of Uummannaq, which is several hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle."

"He went dog sledding and met with indigenous people," Haq said.

Together with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Greenland Premier Aleqa Hammond, Ban hoisted flags and observed a prayer ceremony in a local church, Haq said.

Also on Wednesday, Ban toured the Ilulissat Icefjord by boat. Designated a World Heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the fjord is the mouth of a glacier which has been studied for more than 250 years and has contributed to better understanding of climate change.

He is also expected to be briefed on solutions available and innovations that are under way to address climate change in Greenland.

The UN chief's visit is aimed at building momentum ahead of a climate summit that he is convening Sep 23, a day before the UN General Assembly begins its annual high-level debate.

Ban has invited leaders of government, business, finance and civil society to bring bold announcements and actions to address climate change to the summit, which will focus on solutions that demonstrate how early action can result in substantial economic benefits.

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