As the only global forum, the United Nations is uniquely positioned to forge a common approach to combating climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“All of us are experiencing it, and all of us are becoming more conscious of the need to address this issue,” he said at a joint press conference in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero following a meeting between the two men.

“The time for action is now,” Mr. Ban stressed. The Secretary-General will travel next to the summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries in Heiligendamm, Germany, where climate change will feature prominently on the agenda. The topic will be discussed “at the highest level” during the General Assembly session later this year, he said.

Mr. Ban also voiced concern regarding the recent announcement of the Basque organization ETA breaking the ceasefire. “Keeping the ceasefire would have ensured the security as well as the safety of many human lives,” he observed, urging a redoubling of efforts to keep the ceasefire alive. Despite differences of opinion, Mr. Ban said that issues must be resolved through peaceful means. “Terrorist attacks cannot be justified under any circumstances or pretexts,” he said, denouncing the violence unequivocally. “There cannot be dialogue when there is violence.”