Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the high-level event on accelerating climate action, in Marrakech, Morocco, today:
I have made climate change a priority since my first days in office. Over the past 10 years, I have seen great progress in our common journey towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future.
We have proved the power of multilateral cooperation. The Paris Agreement is a successful, new model for meeting some of humanity’s greatest challenges. Climate action will advance progress across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We have seen the massive potential.
Over the past two years, we have demonstrated the power of partnerships to undertake transformational climate action. The climate summit I convened in 2014 attracted more than 100 Heads of State and Government as well as 800 non-State actors from all sectors of society.
They launched dozens of new multi-stakeholder initiatives, proposing concrete, affordable and model climate solutions. This generated stronger political ambition by Governments. Following that Summit’s success, we formally launched the Action Agenda at the twentieth Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru.
I have been excited to co-lead the Action Agenda from the start, working alongside the Executive-Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the present and future Conference of the Parties’ Presidents.
Paris was our next stop in showing the power of partnerships. At the twenty-first Conference of the Parties, participants presented multi-stakeholder climate initiatives involving almost 10,000 actors from 180 countries. Now that the Paris Agreement has entered into force years ahead of expectations, we have to implement it on the ground. The Action Agenda is central to this effort.
I am pleased to see so many African countries mobilizing climate action. Our host, Morocco, has worked with an alliance of some 30 African countries and major development institutions to spearhead the Adaptation of African Agriculture initiative. I am grateful and admire and respect the leadership and commitment of His Majesty King Mohammad VI to mobilize such global and regional action on climate change. This partnership will help create more resilient food systems on the continent and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
I have launched several partnerships on cities, resilience, private finance and more. All support sustainable development. These are just some of the many areas that show great promise. Each of them is stimulating innovative ideas. Setting clear targets. Leveraging concrete collaborative solutions. Sharing experiences and best practices. And tracking progress. I encourage all sectors of society to get involved. We need everyone. And we need action from the local to the global.
Partnerships should focus on results today — and make progress for the long term. We have no time to waste and much to gain by acting now. With climate impacts accelerating around the world, we need to prioritize adaptation alongside mitigation in the action agenda. Here, too, there are many opportunities. Climate resilient innovations are needed to help billions of people adapt to increasing droughts, floods, temperatures and other impacts. Adaptation is not a luxury. It is a prudent investment in our future.
The United Nations will assist Member States and society at large at every stage in realizing the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. By working together, we can achieve an end to poverty, strengthen peace and ensure a life of dignity and opportunity for all.