United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Washington, D.C., from New York on Wednesday evening, 4 May, to participate in the Climate Action 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel. That evening, he attended the Climate Action 2016 opening reception, which was hosted by the University of Maryland at the Philips Collection.
On 5 May, the Secretary-General opened Climate Action 2016 with remarks to an audience of government, international organization, private sector and civil society leaders. The Secretary-General called for greater action on climate change, saying “we need to accelerate the speed, scope and scale of our response, locally and globally”, and indicated that Climate Action 2016 “is about solutions — innovation and imagination, collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors”. (See Press Release SG/SM/17733.)
The Secretary-General then joined: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; French Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs and President of COP21 [twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] Ségolène Royal; and the Executive Deputy Chairman of XL Group, Stephen Caitlin, for a press conference.
In response to questions, the Secretary-General urged Governments to complete their domestic process to join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. He added that local community leaders are integral to the climate battle as well, stating “in the end, after all, it is mayors and cities who have to take all the necessary actions”.
The Secretary-General participated in a luncheon on “The Role of Elected Leaders in Climate Implementation; Dialogue among CEOs, UN and International Legislators, Governors and Mayors”.
Throughout the day, the Secretary-General held meetings with leaders from three of the Climate Action 2016 thematic focus areas: Analytics and Innovation, Transport, and Energy. He also met with Hoesung Lee, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Honourable Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal.
He was also interviewed by Brady Dennis of the Washington Post.
During the afternoon, the Secretary-General was hosted by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser for a visit to Brookland Middle School. The public school has LEED Gold status and features a rooftop solar PV array, a geothermal heating and cooling system and underground cisterns to collect water for flushing of toilets. The Secretary-General and Mayor saw and discussed these features with school and Washington, D.C. officials. The two leaders then met with students and discussed the importance of climate change action and the role of the United Nations in working with local governments.
The Secretary-General closed the day by attending a reception hosted by the Compact of Mayors and the Covenant of Mayors at the National Museum of the American Indian followed by a dinner hosted by Bloomberg LP.
The Secretary-General and his delegation departed Washington, D.C., for the Seychelles on the morning of Friday, 6 May.