17 November 2016

Civil Society Activism Needed ‘More than Ever’ to Achieve Goals of Climate Change Agreement, Secretary-General Says at Marrakech Conference

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the meeting with civil society organizations at the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Marrakech, Morocco, today:

It is wonderful to see so many of the strongest champions for climate action in the world.  Thank you for honouring me with this gathering.

This is my last meeting at my last Conference of the Parties as Secretary-General.  I wanted to spend it with you.  You are the heart and soul of the climate movement.  Together we have climbed many mountains.  Of course there will be more to climb, but we can and will do so together.  The view from the top will be spectacular.

It has been a privilege to spend the past decade with you fighting for climate action.  Many of us were together last year in Paris.  I had the honour of joining you at the outset of the Conference.

At that time, I thanked you for joining and magnifying the voices of so many people from around the world.  And I applauded you for fighting for principles that cross national boundaries and reach across generations and beyond political divides.

Today I thank you again.  You helped us cross the finish line with the Paris Agreement.  You pushed for rapid signature and ratification.  Together, we broke records.

Now the Agreement is in force.  This is a testament to your relentless efforts.  Of course now the real work begins.  We must fight to realize the promise of this Agreement for our one common home and all life on it.

On 4 November, the day the Agreement entered into force, I chose to meet with representatives of civil society.  I wanted to thank them for their outstanding contributions.  I wanted to seek their views on the way forward.  And I wanted to remind the world of the immense power that civil society brought to this effort.

It was also important for me to make these points now, with civil society organizations under attack in too many parts of the world.  We had a meaningful discussion. I was impressed by the activities and plans of the leaders who spoke.  I was encouraged that at this difficult time, you will never give up the fight.

We need your courageous activism now more than ever.  Let us resolve to keep fighting for greater understanding and meaningful action.  Thank you for your leadership and for the privilege of standing shoulder to shoulder, marching with you, and raising the banner of climate action for a better future.

For information media. Not an official record.