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Ban ends visit to Greenland with tour of Ilulissat Icefjord

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to the Ilulissat Icefjord today as he wrapped up his visit to Greenland, which was aimed at building momentum ahead of the summit he will convene in September on climate change.

Designated a World Heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 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.

Mr. Ban’s two-day visit to Greenland provided him with an opportunity to see first-hand the impacts of climate change, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating.

Yesterday, Mr. Ban visited the town of Uummannaq, which is several hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle, along with the Premier of Greenland, Aleqa Hammond, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The UN chief expressed his deep concern at the fast-moving glaciers and by the fast-melting ice cap which raises the sea level, affecting the entire international community’s environmental system.

“It’s not only Greenland’s people – it’s the people of the whole world [who] are threatened because of this rapidly changing climate change,” he said on Wednesday at a joint press encounter with the two officials.

“There may be still many studies to make, the nature and the impact of the climate change, but [there is] one, simple plain fact: climate change is happening much, much faster than we might think.”

The climate summit planned for 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York comes ahead of a conference scheduled to take place next year in Paris to agree on a global, legal climate change agreement.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the media about his experience on the ice in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon receives a gift from a local artist in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

An Inuit musher and dog team in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tries his hand at ice fishing with a Inuit fisherman. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mrs. Ban and Prime Ministers of Denmark and Greenland with an Inuit family. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Mrs. Ban checks out a couple new Inuit dog sled puppies. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon motions for the world to see what is happening to the environment after touring the ice in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tries out an Inuit dog sled ride in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond of Greenland take a look at the ice. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt take a tour of Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Indiginous Inuit women in the Uummannaq community await Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s arrival. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Members of the Uummannaq community await Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s arrival. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tours a whaling museum in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s delegation with a local church pastor. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gets the honour of hoisting the UN flag at the town hall in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

School children and other members of the Uummannaq community await Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s arrival. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon disembarks the plane on arrival in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gets a first-hand view from above of the worlds fastest moving glacier in Uummannaq, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

A scene from the town of Illulissat, Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

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Mr. 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.

“We cannot negotiate with nature. A lot of disasters, natural disasters, have happened,” he stated. “We have to take action now. The time is now, and I’m very much committed to working with world leaders.”

Following his return to New York, Mr. Ban will travel next week to Brussels, Prague and Kigali.

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