|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
UN NATURAL ARENA FOR CONCERTED, COORDINATED INTERNATIONAL ACTION TO PROTECT
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO PARIS CONFERENCE
Following is the transcript of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to “Citizens of the Earth: the Paris Conference for Global Ecological Governance” in Paris, 2 to 3 February:
I thank President Chirac for convening an international conference on an issue of central importance to our common future.
Rapid environmental change is all around us. The most obvious example is climate change, which will be one of my top priorities as Secretary-General. But that is not the only threat. Many other clouds are on the horizon, including water shortages, degraded land and the loss of biodiversity.
This assault on the global environment risks undermining the many advances human society has made in recent decades. It is undercutting our fight against poverty. It could even come to jeopardize international peace and security.
These issues transcend borders. Protecting the global environment is largely beyond the capacity of individual countries. Only concerted and coordinated international action will be sufficient. The natural arena for such action is the United Nations.
I am strongly committed to ensuring that the United Nations helps the international community make the transition to sustainable development. The United Nations Environment Programme -- our focal point on this issue -- has embarked on wide-ranging reforms to ensure it is equal to this challenge. The other parts of the United Nations family are mobilizing all their efforts too. I plan to strengthen this work further.
Much more must also be done by Governments, business and civil society. The world needs a more coherent system of international environmental governance. We need to invest more in green technologies and smarter policies. And we need to focus in particular on the needs of the poor, who already suffer disproportionately from pollution and disasters.
Natural resources and ecosystems underpin all our hopes for a better world. I look forward to working with all of you to build a stronger stewardship of our one and only planet.
* *** *For information media • not an official record