The United Nations will hold a special high level meeting on climate change at New York on September 24, just ahead of opening of this year's annual debate of world leaders in the General Assembly on international issues.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced this at G8 summit held in Heiligendamm, Germany.
Welcoming the agreement by the world's richest nations to address the threat of climate change as an "important first step," Ban described it as "the defining issue of our era" and said this was the reason that he had come to the summit.
The agreement by G8 leaders on "strong and early action" to combat climate change, and to pursue related negotiations under UN auspices, is "only a first step" a beginning, not an end," the secretary-general stated.
Political will at the highest level is "desperately" needed now to make significant emissions reductions and to help countries adapt to climate change, Ban said. "On both, we will need leadership by the G8 countries."
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change Convention, welcomed the intention of leaders to conclude by 2009 negotiations on a replacement for the Convention's Kyoto Protocol, which contains legally binding targets for reducing emissions through 2012.
"The green light has been given for negotiations to begin on a comprehensive, flexible and fair agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Bali in December this year," he stated.
"A negotiating agenda must now be mapped out, which needs to address how future climate change policies can green economic growth and assist societies, especially the most vulnerable societies, to adapt to climate change," de Boer added.