WHILE the international community has provided a solid foundation for the world’s response to climate change by adopting the Paris Agreement this past December, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that it is now necessary to build on that momentum in order to secure a safer and healthier future for all.
At a briefing at UN Headquarters in New York on the high-level signature ceremony for the Paris Agreement, which he will host on April 22, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the ceremony will provide the first opportunity for Governments to advance the process that will lead to the Agreement’s implementation and ratification.
“Now we must move from aspirations to action,” Mr. Ban said. “By implementing the Paris Agreement, we will be building the future we want – a future of shared opportunity that leaves no-one behind on a planet that is protected and nurtured for the benefit of all,” he added.
Urging the participation of all Governments at the signing ceremony, the UN chief emphasized the importance of the Agreement entering into force as soon as possible.
“The world now has a universal, fair, flexible and durable climate agreement,” Mr. Ban said.
“For the first time, every country in the world pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause for the common good,” he added.
In particular, the Agreement will enable the international community to “increase ambition on a regular basis,” the Secretary-General said, which is essential in order to keep global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
“Our task is not over. In fact, it has just begun,” Mr. Ban said. “In 2016, we must go from words to deeds. The 22 April signature ceremony is an essential step,” he noted.
Emphasizing that “the cost of inaction becomes clearer every day,” Mr. Ban stressed that more extreme weather events, torrential rains and flooding, severe droughts and rising sea levels were leading to lost lives, homes, productivity and hope.
“We have no time to delay,” the Secretary-General underscored. “I urge you to ensure that the legal requirements for your leaders to have full powers to sign are in place by that date,” he said.
Mr. Ban noted that leaders from Peru, France and Morocco – the Presidents of recent UN climate change meetings, known as COP20, COP21 and the upcoming COP22 – have agreed to attend the signature ceremony, and that many other world leaders have promised their attendance as well.
“The participation of Heads of State and Government will show the world they are determined to move forward as quickly as possible,” Mr. Ban said.
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