United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has given a strong signal that a binding agreement on climate change will not be reached in Durban.

On Wednesday, he urged member states attending the climate negotiations to go back to their countries and forge their own legislation and strategies to mitigate emissions and adapt to climate change. “Don’t wait for a binding agreement. It could take years. All these member states should take their own measures,” he said.

“Last year we saw the highest emissions ever… If we carry on as though it is business as usual we will be out of business. It is business unusual… We must continue to advance the case for action, for clean policies and green policy initiatives. We must do initiatives so communities can make more informed decisions.”

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueras concurred, saying that negotiations were not going at the pace she would like.

“This is a global business plan being written by 200 countries; we have made good progress last week and more this week. We cannot wait for a perfect business plan… If we don’t do implementation now, governments will not be able to implement when the plan is perfected. It will be too late.”

At an event on the sidelines of the climate talks, titled the UN System Delivering as One On Climate Change: Helping Countries To Implement the Cancun Agreements, Ban said the UN would continue to advance the case for action and practical climate change policies and green policy initiatives. “We have received 118 (out of the more than 190 countries at the conference) cases of national policy targets. We will support governments as they reach agreements and provide member states with tools and capacity to carry out those agreements,” he said.

On the Green Climate Fund, Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Programme, said: “Very little money so far has gone to low-income countries because they have no capacity and no plans. There needs to be capacity supplementation to ensure developing countries are ready. The climate fund… will support countries to be ready.

“The fund is also going to require a blending of different types of finance which will assist with climate change resilience and low emissions economies.” - The Mercury