20 July 2009Climate change, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called “the defining challenge of our era,” will feature prominently on the United Nations chief’s visits later this week to China and Mongolia, his spokesperson said today. Earlier this year, Mr. Ban called on China – as well as the United States, India and the European Union – to show “global leadership of the highest order” in tackling the issue, particularly in the run-up to the crucial climate change negotiations scheduled for December in Copenhagen to draw up a new agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.“During his working visit to China, he will pursue his dialogue with the Chinese leadership on climate change and other global issues,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters. The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet on Friday with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other Chinese officials in Beijing and later, on Saturday, in Xi’an. While in China, he will participate in a number of climate change-related programmes, including a “Green Light” event focusing on energy efficient technologies and the extensive production and use of energy saving lamps in the world’s most populous nation. Mr. Ban then travels on Sunday to Mongolia, where he will address the challenges of climate change and adaptation with an emphasis on the special needs of landlocked countries, said Ms. Okabe.Mongolia is one of 30 landlocked developing countries, which face a number of constraints to their economic development, including lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs.Mr. Ban is scheduled to meet with President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Prime Minister Bayar Sanj and Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold. Also during his visit, the Secretary-General will spend time in a traditional Mongolian herder community that is faced with water shortages and desertification. Herding and agriculture have traditionally been the backbone of the country’s economic activity, according to the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).