22 April 2016

Closing Signature Ceremony for Paris Climate Change Agreement, Secretary-General Says ‘Governments Have Made a Covenant with the Future’

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s closing remarks at the signature ceremony for the Paris Agreement on climate change, in New York today

Today, the Governments of the world made history — just as they did last December in Paris at COP 21 [twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change].  With their signatures today, Governments have made a covenant with the future.

The children who were with us this morning reminded us of our responsibility to them and to future generations.  The words they wore on their shirts said it clearly:  “your promise, our future”.

Today’s signing is a vote of confidence in a new approach to climate change.  It is imperative this strong political momentum continues to grow.

If all the countries that have signed here today join the Agreement at the national level, the world will have met the legal requirement for the Paris Agreement to enter into force — 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.  I will do everything I can to help us reach this goal.

This afternoon, I was pleased to hear several large-emitter countries announce they will ratify in 2016.

I encourage all countries to raise their level of ambition.  I urge world leaders to continue to provide direct political oversight and guidance.  And I will look to civil society and the world’s young people to hold Governments to account for the promises they made today.  This covenant with the future is a covenant with you.  Hold them to it.

It has been a long journey to this moment — and that journey still continues.  When I look out at the horizon, I see, more clearly than ever, the outlines of a new and better world.  The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a major step forward for people and the planet.

The World Humanitarian Summit I am convening in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23 and 24 May, will be a critical opportunity to enhance our support to the most vulnerable and reaffirm our common humanity.

Let us continue to build on the historic progress of today — and move swiftly, with courage and determination, to usher in the new era we know can be ours.

For information media. Not an official record.