New York

22 April 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement [as delivered, bilingual version]

En décembre dernier à Paris, la communauté internationale a adopté le premier accord universel sur le climat.

Chaque pays s’est engagé à réduire ses émissions et à renforcer sa résilience face aux effets potentiellement dévastateurs des changements climatiques.

Aujourd’hui, au moins 171 pays se retrouvent ici à New York pour signer l’Accord de Paris.

Arrêtons-nous et songeons-y un instant.

C’est un moment d’histoire. Jamais auparavant un aussi grand nombre de pays n’avait signé un accord international en une seule journée.

Je félicite tous les pays qui signent ce matin et je salue tout particulièrement les 15 Parties qui vont egalement deposer leurs instruments de ratification, que je me fais un devoir de citer : la Barbade, le Belize, les Fidji, la Grenade, les Maldives, les Îles Marshall, Les Iles Maurice, Nauru, les Palaos, l’État de Palestine, La Féderation de Sain Christophe et Niéves, Sainte-Lucie, le Samoa, la Somalie et Tuvalu.

“L’esprit de solidarite de Paris vive encore."

We are breaking records in this Chamber – and that is good news. 

But records are also being broken outside. 

Record global temperatures.  Record ice loss.  Record carbon levels in the atmosphere.

We are in a race against time.

I urge all countries to move quickly to join the Agreement at the national level so that the Paris Agreement can enter into force as early as possible.

The window for keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degress, is rapidly closing.

The era of consumption without consequences is over.

We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. 

And we must support developing countries in making this transition.

The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create.

Let us never forget -- climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits.  It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.

Climate action is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many people contributed to the COP21 negotiations in Paris and to the preparations for this event.  I acknowledge their tireless efforts, particularly the work of the UNFCCC Secretariat. 

Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority.

Today you are signing a new covenant with the future.

This covenant must amount to more than promises.

It must find expression in actions we take today on behalf of this generation and all future generations; actions that reduce climate risk and protect communities; actions that place us on a safer, smarter path.

This morning we will be joined by 197 children, representing the Parties that adopted the Paris Agreement.  Of course, they represent more than this. These young people are our future.  Our covenant is with them.

Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come. 

Together, let us turn the aspirations of Paris into action. 

As you show by the very act of signing today, the power to build a better world is in your hands. 

Thank you very much for your leadership and commitment.  Merci beaucoup.