Strasbourg

04 October 2016

Secretary-General’s joint press conference following the European Parliament session on the Paris Agreement on climate change [with Q&A]

I would like to most especially thank and commend your global leadership in having this European Union approved fast track ratification process and it is truly an honour to be able to witness the historic moment.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,

I am very pleased to be in Strasbourg once again. The European Union Parliament today has supported the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement. Today’s action enables the European Union and EU member states to deposit their ratification instrument as soon as possible.
As you know, there are two requirements for this Paris Agreement to enter into force. That is: fifty-five parties to the Agreement, and fifty-five percent of greenhouse gas emissions accounted for.

As of today, we have countries representing fifty-two percent of global emissions. With the action taken by the EU Parliament, I am confident that we will be able to cross the fifty-five percent threshold very soon, in just a matter of a few days.   
We have seen extraordinary momentum from all corners of the globe to bring the Paris Agreement to life this year. The Agreement is backed by the support of the world’s most powerful economies, and its most vulnerable countries.

By their actions today, here, European Parliamentarians have underscored their commitment to international cooperation, which is at the heart of the European Union’s identity. They have reaffirmed their support for urgent action to meet the climate change, and to turn it into an opportunity for building safer, healthier, and more prosperous societies.
I thank the European Union and President Martin Schulz for their leadership and for their support and look forward to the Paris Agreement entering into force as soon as possible, in just a few days’ time.

Thank you very much.  

Question on the links between climate change and migration.

Secretary-General: If we closely analyse the root causes, the drivers of migrants and refugees, you will certainly find many reasons; they are political instability, war, persecution… but one of the very important reasons is that people do not find their places sustainable for their living, because of the impact caused by climate change.

Therefore, addressing this climate change will definitely reduce and lessen the possibility of people having to flee or leaving their country for better opportunities. It is important for a sustainable development for the people and for this planet. We must address this climate phenomenon.

In that regard, I am very encouraged, very much encouraged that the international community has now shown their strong commitment and leadership to address this [issue].
Thank you very much.

Question on sectors concerned by the Paris Agreement and the capacity to leverage private funds for the investments needed for its implementation.

Secretary-General: Short-term, there may be certainly some sectors that may be affected [by the Paris Agreement on climate change] but when we look at longer-term prospects, this is good for a low-carbon economy.

A few years ago, in 2011, I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. It is receiving the widest support from the international community. I know the concerns of oil-producing countries and there should be much much more wise investments now to transform these high-energy consuming industries into low carbon economy through this sustainable energy.
That is why the Sustainable Development Goals [have] one particular Goal on Sustainable Energy. This will complement our common efforts to address climate change.

Therefore, let’s have a longer-term perspective rather than short-term […]. Wise investments for sustainable energy, sustainable development: that will help in addressing climate change.
And let me just add [in answer] to your question about leveraging private funding: as you know, as a result, as an outcome of this Agreement, we have already established the Green Climate Fund and leaders have agreed to mobilize 100 billion dollars by 2020. This has to be mobilized as soon as possible.

In addition to this official money to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the climate change phenomenon, you can expect trillions of dollars which are available by private companies. I have been meeting and encouraging private companies to use their money wisely to this low-carbon economy.

I have been meeting even big insurance companies and pension funds who manage trillions of dollars. They are very much conscious, they are very much committed. I am very encouraged that in addition to public funds, private funds will be mobilized.

This is the way that we can ensure that we are moving towards a low-carbon economy and sustainable economy addressing this climate change.

Question on the situation in Aleppo.

Secretary-General: First of all, the situation which is unfolding in Aleppo and overall in Syria is very heartbreaking and most troubling.

I have heard this news that the United States and Russia have now suspended their talks. I am going to Brussels from here to participate in the Afghan Pledging Conference. On that occasion, I will have an opportunity of meeting Secretary Kerry and some Russian high-level officials - and also some European Union [officials].

I will strongly urge to resume their negotiations so that there will be a cessation of hostilities, so that in such time we can deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance. That will also provide some momentum for confidence-building, on the basis of which we can initiate political dialogue.

At this time, I would like to thank sincerely European leaders - I think most European countries have been affected by this crisis [by] receiving and accommodating tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of refugees coming from Syria. That, I really appreciate. We have to show global solidarity and compassionate leadership accommodating all these people who need really life-saving assistance.

And the European Union, many countries have been participating in this International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) at the political level. Not a single country can handle [this situation] at this time. We need global solidarity, global unity to address it. I am warning those people who believe in a military solution that that is not possible: there is only a political solution which can resolve this in a sustainable peaceful way.