The Secretary-General is hosting the Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition. The Summit will serve as a public platform for leaders at the highest level – all UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors – to catalyze ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for an ambitious global legal agreement by 2015 that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.

The Climate Summit will be focused on actions and solutions by both national governments and groups of governments working together with a variety of actors from the private sector and civil society to accelerate progress in areas that go far to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience – in areas such as energy; short-lived climate pollutants; cities and transportation; sustainable agriculture and forestry; adaptation and disaster risk reduction; and climate finance and the economic drivers.

The Summit is not part of the UNFCCC negotiating process, yet by promoting climate action now–more than a year before the accord will be reached in Paris–it aims to show that leaders across sectors and at all levels are taking action, thus expanding the reach of what is possible today, in 2015, and beyond.

The Case for Global Action

The benefits of taking action to address climate change have become ever more compelling. Many countries and businesses have already realized the economic opportunities and reduced risks related to decreasing greenhouse emissions and strengthening resilience. They are reaping the benefits of sustainable low carbon economic growth, resilient infrastructure, new markets, decent jobs, energy independence, women’s empowerment, cleaner air, and improved public health.

But only those who take action now will enjoy these benefits.

Now is the time for leaders everywhere to join the race for transformative action that can drive economic competitiveness and sustainable prosperity for all.

Countries are presently working toward a new climate agreement and a new set of global goals for sustainable development. These new agreements will be concluded in 2015. The objectives of both of these processes present an unprecedented opportunity to advance sustainable development.

Eradicating poverty and restructuring the global economy to hold global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius are goals that – acted on together – can provide prosperity and security for this and future generations.

To meet the full scale of the global climate challenge and seize the opportunities at hand, domestic efforts must be scaled up and simultaneously leveraged through an international framework that provides incentives. Combined, accelerated action and increased ambition will foster a ‘race to the top’ that can help avert the worst effects of climate change.