In a statement made to the UN General Assembly on December 15 at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following remarks concerning the highly successful COP21 Climate Change summit in Paris. Find out why COP21 is regarded as a triumph for people, the planet, and multilateralism in the article that follows
“Seventy years ago, the UN was created from the ashes of the Second Word War, and seven decades later in Paris, nations have united in the face of another threat to life as we know it, due to a rapidly warming planet.” He went on to say, “Governments have ushered in a new era of global cooperation on climate change – one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. In doing so, they have significantly advanced efforts to uphold our Charter mandate to save succeeding generations.’”
Ban Ki-moon described the Paris Agreement as a triumph for people, the planet, and for multilateralism. As he explained it, “for the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change.”
From the perspective of the Secretary-General, “together the countries of the world agreed that, in minimizing risks of climate change, the national interest is best served by pursuing the common good. I believe it as an example we could gainfully follow across the political agenda.”
In his statement, the UN Secretary-General congratulated President Hollande and COP21 President, Minister Laurent Fabius, for bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.
They stayed committed to the conference despite the tragic events of November l3. Ban Ki-moon also thanked UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, who had been to the meeting twice in two weeks, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and her staff for their outstanding contribution to this historic success.
What did COP21 accomplish? In the words of UN Secretary-General, “all in all, the Paris agreement delivered on all the key points called for by the Secretary-General. Consequently, markets now have the clear signal they need to scale up investments that will generate low emissions, climate-resilient development.”
In addition, all countries have agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for l.5 degrees. This is especially important for the nations of Africa, Small Island Developing States, and Least Developed Countries. In Paris, countries agreed on a long-term goal to cap global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century.
As the Secretary-General stated:
“One hundred and eighty-eight countries have now submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions which show what they are prepared to do to reduce emissions and build climate resilience. The countries in Paris pledged they will review their natural climate plans every five years beginning in 2018.”