New York

28 September 2015

Secretary-General's message at Climate Week NYC Signature Event [delivered by Mr. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Climate Change]

I am pleased to send greetings to this Signature Event.  Over the past several years, I have been honoured to attend many Climate Week NYC events, including last year on the eve of the United Nations Climate Summit.

The Climate Summit marked a milestone in society’s response to climate change.  It provided an opportunity for non-state actors – businesses, civil society groups, youth, faith groups and more – to demand greater ambition and action by their leaders on climate change.  Equally important, it showed that cities, CEOs and citizens are moving ahead and taking action themselves. 

All of you here today are helping to demonstrate how we can transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient pathway.  I urge you to continue your work, and expand it.  I count on you to innovate and collaborate.  You are part of the first generation that can end extreme poverty in all its forms, and the last with the opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change.  We need all hands on deck at this critical moment in history. 

This week, world leaders have adopted new Sustainable Development Goals that apply to all countries and will benefit all people and the planet.  Later this year, governments will meet in Paris to adopt a meaningful and universal agreement on climate change that commits all countries to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting strengthened climate resilience.

As we prepare for Paris, I ask for your support.  Encourage your leaders, and your peers, to reach higher, do more, and do it faster.  Now is the time for ambitious action and global cooperation on climate change.  We have no time to waste and a great deal to lose by postponing action.  The more we delay the more we will pay. 

There is much we can still do to mitigate risks and create opportunities for a new low carbon economy.  By taking climate action now, we will greatly advance our new Sustainable Development Goals.

I hope that by next year’s Climate Week, we can all look back with pride on what this extraordinary year has set in motion.  I thank you for your leadership.