New York

04 November 2016

Secretary-General's Opening Remarks at Meeting with Civil Society Organizations to commemorate entry-into-force of Paris Agreement on Climate Change [as delivered]

Good morning,

Thank you for taking the time in this historical moment.

The Paris Agreement is now in force.

This is an emotional moment for me. It is a credit to all of you. And it is historic for the world.

Thank you for coming here on such short notice so we can mark this milestone together.

Thank you for standing behind me when I was giving the press stakeout.

Today we celebrate, reflect and give thanks. I am deeply grateful to all of you and your organizations – representing millions of people. At a time when civil society is under attack in so many parts of the world, you have shown that citizens’ groups are essential partners for progress.

Your vision, courage, persistence and leadership made this day happen. Thank you all so much.

Many of you joined me on this journey. I attended every UN climate change conference. I travelled from Antarctica to the Arctic to many climate flashpoints in between. I met many vulnerable people. I will never forget the children who were scared. And I will always remember the powerful voices from civil society.

In fact, we marched shoulder-to-shoulder in September 2014 when I convened the Climate Summit. Millions of others held climate marches around the world.

Your voices at the time were clearly heard by the leaders who attended the climate meeting.

You showed the climate challenge stakes – and the solutions. You mobilized hundreds of millions of people for the cause. 

We are still in a race against time. We need to transition to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future.

So I ask each and every one of you to keep up the fight. Hold governments accountable and press for action.

I would like to hear about your advocacy, activities and other efforts to contribute to the Paris Agreement’s objectives. Please share your concerns and vision for the future. Tell me what you think is most important for the United Nations and the global community to prioritize going forward. 

Again, thank you very much for your leadership and your commitment and engagement and let us work together to make this world better for all.