Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks to media at UNFCCC COP17

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Durban (South Africa), 06 December 2011

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the media. It is a great pleasure to see you.

As you may be aware, this morning I arrived from Germany, after having participated in the second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

Peace and development in Afghanistan will require commitment from the government and people of Afghanistan and their international partners.

It will need cooperation on broad range of issues: on peace and security, women's empowerment, on women's and children's health, and sustainable development. There are many challenges.

But the country's sustainable development will depend, too, on global efforts to tackle climate change. In that regard, I am very happy to be part of the COP-17.

This is true throughout the globe.

I have personally seen the devastation of floods in Pakistan last year and most recently in Thailand.

I have witnessed the impact of deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil, and shrinking glaciers and icecaps at both Poles.

And I have met people in Kiribati whose homes are sinking beneath the waves.

Here in Africa, I have seen the effect of desertification in the Sahel.

As we meet, a terrible humanitarian emergency is unfolding in Niger and in western Sahel.

And, in the Horn of Africa, hundreds of thousands of people still face the prospects of starvation.

The long-awaited rains have brought floods to compound the problem.

Across our globe, climate [patterns] are becoming more and more unpredictable.

Extreme weather events are becoming more intense due to climate change.

The poor are affected first and worst.

That is why we need to show solidarity and resolve here in Durban.

We have no time to lose.

We need progress in the climate negotiations – now.

This is my message to world leaders.

I have already met with President Zuma and Minister Mashabane, President of COP-17.

I thank them both for their leadership and strong commitment to address these issues.

I will be meeting with the leaders of many groups, the most affected regions particularly, including AOSIS and the G77 and China, as well as other major negotiating partners.

Tomorrow, I will host an event on climate change financing with Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia and Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway who have shown important leadership in this area.

I will also meet with members of the business community, who are important stakeholders in helping to shape a more sustainable path to development and sustainable energy for all.

While here in Durban I will also focus on REDD Plus, as reducing deforestation is key to addressing both climate challenges and development needs.

We need advances on all of these areas now.

We need to make progress on the ground.

And we need to see continued momentum in the negotiations.

Here at COP-17, I have just called upon all parties to implement what was agreed in Cancún last year, make tangible progress on short- and long-term climate change financing and make progress on the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

We must not forsake our collective vision of a comprehensive, binding climate change agreement that is both effective and fair for all.

These are all threads in the tapestry of sustainable development.

Only by weaving them together can we achieve the future we want – an equitable future where all people have the opportunity to live in peace, dignity and prosperity.

Thank you for your attention.