Davos, Switzerland

29 January 2009

Secretary-General's remarks at event entitled "Shaping the Climate Change Message" at the World Economic Forum [as prepared for delivery]

I understand that you have just been briefed by Sir Martin Sorrell.

The Climate Change Communication Initiative, undertaken by the International Advertising Association and the Global Advertising Industry, promises to be an unprecedented joint effort.

Imagine ? the giants of global ad industry, working as one! I am sure I speak for all in offering my thanks and encouragement.

Lately, I have taken to calling this a time of multiple crises. The economy. Volatile energy markets. War and humanitarian disasters.

Yet for all the troubles, we face only one truly existential threat.

That is climate change ? the great moral imperative of our era. We have a duty, a responsibility, to play our part in changing minds, opinions, and policies.

Last month, world leaders met in Poland to lay out a work plan for the coming year. We now have only a short 11 months to the gathering in Copenhagen.

This is our moment, our best hope for getting a global climate change deal that all nations can embrace.

Our goal is to prove the naysayers and pundits wrong.

We want to show that we can do this ? that we can have a positive outcome in Copenhagen. We cannot afford to settle for less.

We have a clear message. You can help shape that message and get the word out. We want nothing less than to build a grassroots movement for change, now.

We at the UN have been talking about the issues. For the past two years, I have been going around the world beating my drum ? to raise awareness, to galvanize action.

But now we need to reach a much wider audience.

We need the world's people to realize what's at stake. We need to explain why we need an agreement in Copenhagen, and what the implications are if we are unsuccessful.

Your mission, as I understand it, is to create a strategy to harness all the brilliance, innovation and creativity that the marketing industry is known for.

You will ask the firms and the people that have launched famous brands and coined famous slogans to turn their time and resources to help save the planet.

We first met last September in New York during the General Assembly. The team will share its plan and basic communications concept with you this morning.

I look forward to hearing about them. And the more concrete, the better.

I am here to offer my support and to thank you all ? the World Economic Forum for arranging this important session, and the IAA and global ad industry for what you are planning to do.

This promises to be no ordinary initiative. It should be THE Climate Change Communication Initiative. We hope it will be a game-changer. It will explain, educate and ask for engagement ? global engagement leading to success in Copenhagen.

It needs your most energetic and creative backing, your best resources.

I don't for a moment under-estimate the enormity of the task. Time is short. Resources are surely stretched by the current economic environment.

Yet we cannot afford to fail.

I will do my utmost to achieve success in Copenhagen.

May I ask you to do your part, perhaps to engage your own companies to be active and remain so in the months ahead. To share the scale and challenges of this project with everyone you know and to draw others in, too. To help drive this movement even though it will be tough and demanding.

Trust me. We can make a difference. All it takes is you.

Thank you.