|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
At Launch of ‘Momentum for Change’ Initiative in Durban, Secretary-General Says He
Will ‘Try to Pound Drums to Raise Political Will’ for Action on Climate Change
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the launch of the “Momentum for Change” initiative, in Durban, South Africa, on 6 December:
I am pleased to be here with you here today and it is a great honour to be part of this Momentum for Change and I would like to thank again Ms. [Christiana] Figueres [Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] for this very important initiative to raise awareness on the importance of this, of climate change.
And Lord Stern, you have been working very hard since the beginning of my first term as Secretary-General. I learned a lot from him on the importance and seriousness of this climate change. Your excellent work has done much to alert about the urgent necessity of addressing climate change. Again, I thank all of you for your strong commitment.
We are talking about this climate change, this Momentum for Change. Why then now? I was told that each and every one of you [have] some momentum, some chances, whether you realize it or not. These chances may just pass if you are not paying attention; if people grab this momentum — this chance — you are successful, personally, in your career or in your family.
I believe that this is a momentum. There must be a momentum that guides all of us to change the planet, the only planet on which we are living, the only planet which we will have to hand over to our children, grandchildren, great-great grandchildren — in a more hospitable way, environmentally sustainable way.
In this regard, this title, “Momentum for Change”, seems to give us some inspiration. So let us not lose this momentum. This may be a warning — if we do not take this momentum, we will be the losers. Not only me, but the whole succeeding generations will be losers. Thank you very much for your commitment.
Tackling it will help us to achieve water, energy and food security, and to make progress on a broader range of issues, such as global health, poverty reduction, gender equity and global political stability. It is inspiring that Madame President talked about women’s role; I am one of its truest champions.
I believe I am, and I have been, doing [a lot] to raise women’s status and I have been leading by example in the United Nations. When you come, you will see how much change there has been in terms of women’s empowerment. When I travelled to Africa, I have been wondering, what are African men doing? I have been raising this issue, challenging and confronting the men. What are you doing? Look at what the women are doing. I am giving a warning to all African men here. But [other men] shouldn’t take it lightly. This world, this sky is supported by half of the population. Half this sky are women. Without fully utilizing women’s potential, we cannot make anything.
This climate change also. If we are really [to achieve] sustainable development — which will be a top priority of the United Nations for at least the coming five years during which I will serve as Secretary-General — then we will have to, under this sustainable development [umbrella], we will have to address climate change issues, water scarcity, energy issues and food crisis, women’s empowerment and health issues, global health issues, healthy oceans. All those are interconnected. If we fully utilize women’s potential, I think we will be able to succeed. So let’s work harder and harder, and I hope that the African men will take more [of a] role in addressing all these issues.
Ladies and gentlemen, in brief, averting dangerous climate change is the key to sustainable development.
Here in Durban, Governments are focused on global solutions. This morning, I highlighted the four areas where we expect that, where Durban can produce and meet expectations of the world. First, there should be implementation of all the agreements and decisions done at Cancún last year, including the adaptation framework and committees, and also technology transfer [inaudible].
And secondly, there should be clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. This is the only existing institution and this is the only rules-based system on which we have been working to address climate change. And there needs to be clear guidelines again at the start of this short- and longer-term climate change financing with the launching of the Green Climate Fund which was agreed in Cancún last year.
And then my last message is that we not forsake the joint vision, the common vision of achieving a comprehensive, legally binding treaty on climate change. Those are the things which we expect we will produce in the coming few days. This can be done if we are united, if we have political will. If leaders like President [Jacob] Zuma, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers are united, if they have political vision, looking beyond South Africa, looking beyond the African continent. Every country leader should look beyond its own borders.
Climate change does not respect borders, it does not respect who you are — rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call global challenges, which require global solidarity. That’s why we are here together this evening. We need national action on the ground. You don’t need to wait until this legally binging comprehensive agreement will be realized. It has been a painfully slow process. It may be slow, [inaudible] but I will try to pound and try to hit the drums to raise political will on this.
Now, at least 118 countries — half of them developing countries — have put in place some form of national policy target or renewable support policy. Such action will complement and help advance our multilateral task. But, all of us — not just Governments — have the power — and responsibility — to make a difference. That is the message of the Momentum for Change initiative.
By showcasing public-private partnerships that are tackling climate change and improving the quality of life for people, you are showing what can be achieved. By taking inspiration from the Initiative’s Lighthouse projects, we can take great strides towards avoiding dangerous climate change and building the future we want.
The United Nations system is not only backing the Momentum for Change initiative, it is also helping to implement some of the projects showcased here today. I thank again the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their strong support. And I commend the UNFCCC secretariat for this initiative. I hope you are all inspired by these projects, by what you have seen in the videos, and I strongly encourage you to participate in the initiative by presenting your own. Together, we can change this world towards the world we want, a world better for all, where everybody can live without any fear coming from this climate change phenomenon. I thank you for your leadership and commitment.
* *** *For information media • not an official record