Lyon, France

01 July 2015

Secretary-General's Message to World Summit on Climate and Territories [Delivered by Mr. Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change]


It is a pleasure to convey best wishes to all the participants in this timely meeting on climate change.  Thank you for your commitment to climate action and to the well-being and sustainable development of your cities and regions.

Climate change is an urgent challenge on many levels – human, moral, political and economic.  As mayors, governors, and leaders of civil society and the private sector, you are on the frontlines. You see the impacts first-hand, and you are among those responding with innovative, concrete approaches. Now more than ever, we need those solutions to achieve greater impact and reach.

2015 is the year when world leaders will adopt an inspiring new development agenda, including a set of Sustainable Development Goals, as well as what needs to be a meaningful global agreement on climate change. The transformation we seek is ambitious but achievable; ours is the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can act to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

I look to you to help us seize these opportunities.  Your engagement is especially important since time is not on our side.

I am deeply concerned that we are not yet on the path needed to reverse the upward trajectory of emssions and limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.  2014 was the warmest year in modern record.  If climate change continues at this pace, we are likely to see large-scale breakdowns in all systems on which we survive – agriculture, water, health, and economic markets.  The risks will only increase if we continue to delay making substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and if we postpone serious adaptation efforts.

Collective action must include the world’s cities, regions and companies.  I call on you to focus on three goals:

First, I ask mayors, governors and other national and local authorities to unite with leaders at all levels of government and business within your countries to raise

Second, I ask you to scale up concrete solutions and expand collaboration .

Third, I ask CEOs to work with your national governments to increase both public and private funding flows, and to demonstrate that solutions and financing exist.

An ambitious climate agreement in Paris is imperative for humanity. It can be ours with wisdom and leadership from you and other like-minded actors across the world. Thank you for your contributions, and please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering.