Remarks by UN Secretary General at events marking the historic signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

View of the GA Hall Opening Signing Ceremony of the Paris Climate Treaty. Video capture UN Web

2 April 2016 – With their signatures of the landmark Paris climate accord, “governments made a covenant with the future,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the end of a United Nations ceremony that saw the largest single-day turn-out for such an event, and which puts the world on a path towards low-carbon growth and a more sustainable future.

Yet, while today’s signing is a “vote of confidence” in a new approach to climate change, it is imperative that the strong political momentum continues to grow, the UN chief stressed, in concluding remarks to the day-long Ceremony for the Paris Agreement.

Indeed, if all of the countries signing today joined the Paris Agreement at the national level, the world will have met the legal requirement for the Agreement to enter into force – 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse emissions. In particular, he was pleased to hear several large emitter countries announce that they will ratify in 2016.

“I encourage all countries to raise their level of ambition,” Mr. Ban said. “I urge world leaders to continue to provide direct political oversight and guidance. And I will look to civil society and the world’s young people to hold Governments to account for the promises they made today,” he added.

While it has been a long journey to get to the present moment, the UN chief stressed that a long journey also awaits Member States.

“When I look out at the horizon, I see, more clearly than ever, the outlines of a new and better world,” the UN chief said.

In that regard, Mr. Ban reminded Member States that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a “major step forward” for people and the planet.

In addition, the World Humanitarian Summit he will be convening in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May will be a “critical opportunity” to enhance support to the most vulnerable and reaffirm “our common humanity,” Mr. Ban said.

“Let us continue to build on the historic progress of today – and move swiftly, with courage and determination, to usher in the new era we know can be ours,” he concluded.


Remarks to Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly, 22 April 2016

En décembre dernier à Paris, la communauté internationale a adopté le premier accord universel sur le climat.

Chaque pays s’est engagé à réduire ses émissions et à renforcer sa résilience face aux effets potentiellement dévastateurs des changements climatiques.

Aujourd’hui, au moins 171 pays se retrouvent ici à New York pour signer l’Accord de Paris.

Arrêtons-nous et songeons-y un instant.

C’est un moment d’histoire. Jamais auparavant un aussi grand nombre de pays n’avait signé un accord international en une seule journée.

Je félicite tous les pays qui signent ce matin et je salue tout particulièrement les 15 Parties qui vont egalement deposer leurs instruments de ratification, que je me fais un devoir de citer : la Barbade, le Belize, les Fidji, la Grenade, les Maldives, les Îles Marshall, Les Iles Maurice, Nauru, les Palaos, l’État de Palestine, La Féderation de Sain Christophe et Niéves, Sainte-Lucie, le Samoa, la Somalie et Tuvalu.

“L’esprit de solidarite de Paris vive encore.”

We are breaking records in this Chamber – and that is good news.

But records are also being broken outside.

Record global temperatures. Record ice loss. Record carbon levels in the atmosphere.

We are in a race against time.

I urge all countries to move quickly to join the Agreement at the national level so that the Paris Agreement can enter into force as early as possible.

The window for keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degress, is rapidly closing.

The era of consumption without consequences is over.

We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies.

And we must support developing countries in making this transition.

The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create.

Let us never forget — climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits. It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.

Climate action is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many people contributed to the COP21 negotiations in Paris and to the preparations for this event. I acknowledge their tireless efforts, particularly the work of the UNFCCC Secretariat.

Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority.

Today you are signing a new covenant with the future.

This covenant must amount to more than promises.

It must find expression in actions we take today on behalf of this generation and all future generations; actions that reduce climate risk and protect communities; actions that place us on a safer, smarter path.

This morning we will be joined by 197 children, representing the Parties that adopted the Paris Agreement. Of course, they represent more than this. These young people are our future. Our covenant is with them.

Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come.

Together, let us turn the aspirations of Paris into action.

As you show by the very act of signing today, the power to build a better world is in your hands.

Thank you very much for your leadership and commitment. Merci beaucoup.

Remarks to the Informal High-Level Event on Promoting the Early Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 22 April 2016

In Paris last December, countries embraced the spirit of multilateralism and showed how to work together to meet a common threat.

Today marks the next step in our shared journey to meet the climate challenge.

I warmly congratulate the 15 Parties that have deposited their instruments of ratification with the United Nations today and I am very much grateful. And I really want to make a point of recognizing each [of them] by name – this is what I have been doing for the third time [today]. I was told by our communication expert [that] when you really have a message to deliver, repeat it all the time! Repeat it, so that when your name is not included in the 15 then you may be motivated or even provoked to work, work even harder.

Out of my gratitude, I would like to again list the names: Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia and Tuvalu. I am very much grateful for all your very active decisive actions. Many of you are on the frontlines of climate impacts – and today you are showing that you are also on the frontlines of global leadership.

I also congratulate those countries that have indicated that they intend to join the Paris Agreement this year, within this year.

I encourage all countries to move forward quickly with their own domestic processes to accept and ratify the Paris Agreement. As you are well aware, we need at least 55 countries and 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Having 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions may be a little bit shorter and easier if United States and China – they ratify or join then it will add to almost 40 per cent. But at least we need 55 countries. That means we need to have a universality of this, of course 55 is not universality. One hundred and seventy-five countries is quite close to universality. And it is a great commitment of Parties to UNFCCC. I call on the countries gathered here to use this opportunity to announce your timeline for joining the Agreement as soon as possible.

It is imperative that the strong political momentum continues to build as the spirit of Paris is still continuing. I will do all that I can this year to ensure that the Paris Agreement enters into force as soon as possible.

Again, thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister for your initiative of convening this meeting for early ratifiers. This is a great opportunity to impress upon the importance for early action.

I thank you very much. Thank you.

Remarks to the High-Level Event on the Implementation of the Climate and Development Agendas

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 22 April 2016

We have made historic progress today, taking the next step to move from the aspirations of COP21 to action on the ground.

The Paris Agreement provides the policy certainty and clear direction requested by the private sector, civil society and local leaders.

Now we must take climate action to the next level.

By acting on climate, we advance the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

National, state and provincial governments, cities, the private sector, investors, and the public at large – all are crucial to tackling the serious dangers posed by climate change.

Mayors from thousands of cities are reducing emissions and bolstering their efforts for disaster risk reduction.

Civil society is mobilizing as never before.

Companies are inventing green technologies and scaling up use of renewable energy.

Investors are starting to shift capital away from fossil fuel investments.

We need their support. Far more than $100 billion – indeed, trillions of dollars – is needed to realize a global, clean-energy economy.

Sustainable energy sources must be rapidly scaled up to meet the pent-up demand for modern energy in the developing world. My Sustainable Energy for All Initiative is working with many of you to do just this.

Delivering on the Paris Agreement requires countries to implement their national climate plans, and to increase their ambitions over time. I assure you the United Nations will do its utmost to support Member States to meet these goals.

In Lima and Paris, the Action Agenda highlighted the role of climate partnerships in accelerating actions.

This afternoon will focus on accelerating action and partnership in three action areas: to stay well below a temperature rise of 2 degrees, to energize implementation and to pursue climate-proof development.

South-South cooperation is crucial across the board.

Last night my office, together with the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, launched the “Southern Climate Partnership Incubator”. It will accelerate efforts to create and finance climate partnerships among developing countries in support of Sustainable Development Goals.

This Incubator will focus on renewable energy, smart cities, big data and climate resilience. I encourage you to learn more and participate.

Today is about learning from each other so we can be more effective, avoid duplication, and quickly increase the speed, scale and scope of climate partnerships.

I encourage each of you to be frank and constructive. We have no time to waste – and so much to gain – in furthering action on climate change.

Thank you for your commitment.

Related Posts