Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Briefing on High-Level Signature Ceremony for Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 17 February 2016

I am pleased to be here to brief you on the high-level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement that I will host on the 22nd of April. Thank you for taking time and participating in this briefing session. Sitting here with you this morning I am feeling almost the same excitement and commitment as I felt in Paris. This is very important, showing such strong commitment and engagement by the Member States. I thank you very much for this opportunity to brief you on some preliminary, preparatory processes. We may have another opportunity, since we have some more time.

The Agreement adopted at COP21 last December in Paris marked a historic turning point in the world's response to climate change.

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.

In Paris, governments demonstrated that by acting together, they can achieve something none could achieve alone.

The world now has a universal, fair, flexible and durable climate agreement.

It will enable us to increase ambition on a regular basis, which is essential if we are to keep global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

This achievement has been hard won.

I thank all Governments and leaders at every level, and the millions of members of civil society – young and old, from every walk of life and every corner of the globe – who made the Paris Agreement possible.

This Agreement provides a solid foundation for the low-carbon, climate-resilient transformation of the global economy.

It will help secure a future that is safer, healthier and more prosperous for all people.

But our task is not over.

In fact, it has just begun.

In 2016, we must go from words to deeds.

The 22 April signature ceremony is an essential step.

Your leaders have already received my invitation. I strongly urge the participation of all Governments at the highest level.

Leaders from Peru, France and Morocco – the Presidents of COP 20, 21 and 22 – will attend.

Many other world leaders have promised me that they will come.

It will be an historic occasion.

The Signature Ceremony will be the first opportunity for Governments to advance the process that will lead to the implementation and ratification of the Paris Agreement.

The participation of Heads of State and Government will show the world they are determined to move forward as quickly as possible.

It will keep the global spotlight firmly focused on climate change and build on the strong political momentum created in Paris.

It is important that the Paris Agreement enters into force as soon as possible.

The cost of inaction becomes clearer every day.

More extreme weather events.

Torrential rains and flooding.

Severe droughts.

Rising sea levels.

Lost lives, lost homes, lost productivity, lost hope.

We have no time to delay.

I look forward to seeing the signatures of all Parties in the signing book on 22 April.

I urge you to ensure that the legal requirements for your leaders to have full powers to sign are in place by that date.

The UN Legal Counsel, Under-Secretary-General Miguel de Serpa Soares, will brief you on this shortly.

All leaders will have the opportunity to make a national statement on the day of the Ceremony.

I am asking leaders to come to New York ready to address four topics.

First, to provide an update on how your government will implement your national climate plans and integrate them into their overall sustainable development plans.

Second, to provide a roadmap for increasing ambition over time to achieve the overall aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Third, to indicate your Government’s timetable for ratifying the Paris Agreement.

I urge governments to ensure their domestic processes are in place for ratification to ensure early entry into force.

Parties that are ready to deposit their instruments of ratification on April 22nd – on the very day -will have an opportunity to do so.

Fourth, I ask Governments to share how they are accelerating climate action before 2020 by drawing on the ingenuity, resources and efforts of all sectors of society.

We need all hands on deck to meet the climate challenge.

Cities, schools, the business and investment communities, faith groups – all have a role to play.

The Action Agenda, along with the commitments made at the 2014 Climate Summit, show that climate solutions are affordable and available.

New climate partnerships are growing across all sectors of society.

As we saw in Paris, non-state actors are blazing the trail to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

They will also be included in the day’s events.

I will hold a high-level summit lunch for Heads of States and Government and heads of delegation and a high-level event in the afternoon to highlight the critical importance of climate action and partnerships from all sectors of society.

Last year, your governments showed that multilateralism can meet the greatest challenges of our time.

The 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement offer successful, new models of international collaboration that are inclusive, pragmatic and ambitious.

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.

Now we must move from aspirations to action.

I look forward to welcoming your leaders here on 22 April.

Thank you very much.