Secretary-General, in Online Discussion, Says Youth Has Moral Responsibility to Help Strengthen ‘Climate Resilience’

13 June 2013

Secretary-General, in Online Discussion, Says Youth Has Moral Responsibility to Help Strengthen ‘Climate Resilience’

13 June 2013
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Online Discussion, Says Youth Has Moral


Responsibility to Help Strengthen ‘Climate Resilience’


Following are the opening remarks from New York of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an online discussion with youth in Bonn on climate change, 13 June:

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to see you.  Thank you for joining this videoconference with the Secretary-General.  We have the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, who also works together with you for your future.

I am glad to have this chance to talk with you, to discuss the most important and most pressing issue which will increasingly feature in your lives and coming generations.

That is climate change.  Climate change is a threat to development, the stability of countries and economies, and the health of the planet.

Extreme weather is costing trillions of dollars and endangering lives and livelihoods all around the world.

I have seen for myself the impacts of climate change, from the Arctic to Antarctica — from Brazilian rain forests, from the Andes mountains to the Gobi desert.  I have visited all the places where I was able to see the impact of climate change, and learn for myself.

Just last week I visited the United States National Center for Atmospheric Research.  Their briefing was truly disturbing, on the impact of climate change on sea-level rise and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.

The only answer is to take immediate action — quite ambitious action on the ground — and for that we need cooperation among Governments, civil society and business communities and all partners.

We need to agree on and implement ambitious answers.  Governments have agreed to put in place a legally binding treaty by 2015.  I am committed to raise international political leaders’ priorities to make this happen by the end of December 2015.

For that, next year I will convene a summit meeting of world leaders to the United Nations to mobilize the necessary political will, and capitalize on actions on the ground and strengthen the climate resilience.

But I need your help.  This cannot be done by the United Nations alone.  That is why I am meeting you.

First, I want you to remind your political leaders of their promise and their political and moral responsibility to you and to your future generations.

Second, I want you to support action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and strengthens resilience to climate shocks.  Use your power as voters and consumers.  Challenge your Senators and Congressmen and Governors and Mayors and Presidents and Prime Ministers — that is our world, this is our planet Earth — to preserve this only planet Earth, environmentally sustainable and hospitable.

The United Nations wants to work very closely with you.  That is why I have introduced and appointed an envoy on youth, Mr. Alhendawi.

I am pleased to welcome him to our conversation today.  He is working closely, not only with the United Nations agencies, but all Member States and all the partners to ensure that your voices and your concerns are heard widely and clearly.

Today I want to hear your voices and views on how to build the momentum we need to tackle climate change.  Only by working together can we deliver a sustainable planet for you, for your children, and for your children’s children and succeeding generations.

As Secretary-General, I am very much committed to work with you to make this happen.  But I need your support.  That is the main reason I am meeting you.  I know that you are coming from various countries.  I will be very happy to listen to your views.  Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.