Tag Archives: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day

World-food-day-2016

As the global population expands, we will need to satisfy an increasing demand for food.  Yet, around the world, record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent and severe droughts and floods caused by climate change are already affecting ecosystems, agriculture and society’s ability to produce the food we need.  The most vulnerable people are world’s poorest, 70 per cent of whom depend on subsistence farming, fishing or pastoralism for income and food.

On this World Food Day, we highlight the close link between climate change, sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security with the message that “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”  Without concerted action, millions more people could fall into poverty and hunger, threatening to reverse hard-won gains and placing in jeopardy our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Agriculture and food systems must become more resilient, productive, inclusive and sustainable.  To bolster food security in a changing climate, countries must address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development.  Targeted investments in these sectors will build resilience and increase the incomes and productivity of small farmers, lifting millions from poverty.  They will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health and well-being of ecosystems and all people who depend on them.

Next month, the historic Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force.  This will provide a much-needed boost to global efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, limit temperature rise and promote climate-compatible sustainable agriculture.

On this World Food Day, I urge all Governments and their partners to take a holistic, collaborative and integrated approach to climate change, food security and equitable social and economic development.  The well-being of this generation and those to come depends on the actions we take now.  Only by working in partnership will we achieve a world of zero hunger and free from poverty, where all people can live in peace, prosperity and dignity.

The Secretary-General’s message on International Literacy Day

Literacy Day 2016This year, the world has embarked on implementing the ambitious and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  With its 17 universal, integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet, partnership and peace.

Literacy stands at heart of the 2030 Agenda.  It is a foundation for human rights, gender equality, and sustainable societies.  It essential to all our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote well-being for all people.  That is why the Sustainable Development Goals aim for universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s lives.

One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to ensure that all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that a substantial proportion of adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.

Fifty years ago, International Literacy Day was proclaimed to promote literacy as a tool to empower individuals, communities and societies.  We have made significant progress over the past five decades, but the world is still very far from universal literacy.  And today, with the world becoming increasingly digitized and information rich, new opportunities and challenges are emerging.

More than 750 million adults are illiterate, including 115 million young people.  Two thirds are female.  Some 250 million children of primary school age lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all.

These obstacles to sustainable development can and must be overcome by developing and implementing the right policies, backed up by commitment and resources.  We need to ensure that those out of school get access to quality learning opportunities, we need to improve the quality of schooling, and we need to promote adult education and learning.

On this International Literacy Day, I call on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy so we can translate the vision of the 2030 Agenda into reality and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies.

On International Day, UN says youth can lead global drive for a more sustainable future

International Youth Day 2016The world’s young people – who make up the largest generation of youth in history – can lead a global drive to break the patterns of the past and set the world on course to a more sustainable future, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said youth, with their creativity and idealism are the key to delivering the goals of the new UN sustainability agenda.

“Young people are directly affected by the tragic contradictions that prevail today: between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth, gnawing hunger and shameful food waste, rich natural resources and polluting industries,” said Mr. Ban in his message on International Youth Day, celebrated annually on 12 August.

He said that youth can deliver solutions on such issues, which lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, stressing that in the first year of that15-year plan for a healthier, safer and more just future, the International community is counting on the active engagement of young people to transform the production and consumption of goods and services so they meet the basic needs and aspirations of the world’s poorest people without overburdening already strained ecosystems.

“Young people are traditionally at the cutting edge, and today’s youth have more information than any previous generation. Their dynamism, creativity and idealism can combine to shape attitudes toward demand and help create more sustainable industries,” continued the UN chief, noting that youth are already influencing how the world produces, distributes and consumes while driving green entrepreneurship by designing sustainable products and services.

As conscious consumers, young people are at the forefront of a shift toward more fair, equitable and sustainable buying patterns. Youth are strong and effective advocates of recycling, reusing and limiting waste, and they are leading technological innovations to foster a resource-efficient economy.

“When we invest in youth, they can contribute to new markets, decent jobs, fair trade, sustainable housing, sustainable transport and tourism, and more opportunities that benefit the planet and people,” he said, adding that he was proud that the UN is actively engaged in supporting young leaders who can carry out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

“I encourage all young people to become involved in advancing the SDGs and demanding action by their Governments. My Youth Envoy is eager to connect you to our campaigns, which are being carried out across the entire United Nations system,” he said urging others to join this global push for progress, empowering young people with the resources, backing and space they need to create lasting change in our world.

In her message, Irina Bokova, Director General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that young people are powerful agents of positive change, essential to taking forward the 2030 Agenda.

“It is not enough to hope for a better tomorrow – we must act now. Change is under way, and millions of citizens are already transforming the way we produce, consume, behave and communicate,” she said, noting that young people such as #YouthofUNESCO sustainable consumption advocate Lauren Singer, point the way towards a zero-waste lifestyle, fitting all of her refuse produced over the past four years into one small jar.

“This is an inspiration for this year’s celebration – ‘The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption.’ There are countless initiatives like this, all giving shape to a new humanism, to new forms of solidarity and citizenship to combat poverty, marginalization and despair,” she emphasized.

Optimism and confidence do not mean minimizing the challenges ahead. Most young people live today in least developed countries, and shoulder the heaviest burden of conflicts and poverty, stressed Ms. Bokova, adding: “There can be no sustainable development if they remain on the side-lines, and I call upon all Member States and UNESCO partners to support their initiatives, to give them voice, to let them grow, to shape together the future of dignity that we are building today.”

UN chief launches first report to track Sustainable Development Goals

Launching the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals report on the new global development agenda adopted last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the 15-year undertaking is “off to a good start” but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together. “We have embarked on a monumental and historic journey,” the Secretary-General told the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which opened on 11 July and ends on 20 July, at the UN Headquarters in New York. “We must all learn, in national governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” he said, also underscoring the need to break down silos, not only between the economic, social and environmental aspects of development, but also between government institutions, between different levels of government and between the public and private sectors. The Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last September by 193 Member States. With his speech, Mr. Ban launched the first SDG report, which will serve as a benchmark for the 15-year implementation period of the 2030 Agenda. “It provides an accurate evaluation of where the world stands on the 17 Goals, using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges,” he said. “We are off to a good start,” he added, calling on the international community to “pledge never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.” “Ensuring progress in achieving the SDGs will be greatly enhanced by making sure that lessons are shared and best practices are replicated,” he explained, calling on Member States to intensify efforts at follow-up and review through a participatory process, with the full engagement of the business sector and civil society

Launching the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals report on the new global development agenda adopted last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the 15-year undertaking is “off to a good start” but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together.

“We have embarked on a monumental and historic journey,” the Secretary-General told the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which opened on 11 July and ends on 20 July, at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“We must all learn, in national governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” he said, also underscoring the need to break down silos, not only between the economic, social and environmental aspects of development, but also between government institutions, between different levels of government and between the public and private sectors.

The Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last September by 193 Member States.

With his speech, Mr. Ban launched the first SDG report, which will serve as a benchmark for the 15-year implementation period of the 2030 Agenda.

“It provides an accurate evaluation of where the world stands on the 17 Goals, using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges,” he said.

“We are off to a good start,” he added, calling on the international community to “pledge never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.”

 “Ensuring progress in achieving the SDGs will be greatly enhanced by making sure that lessons are shared and best practices are replicated,” he explained, calling on Member States to intensify efforts at follow-up and review through a participatory process, with the full engagement of the business sector and civil society.

WHS: Humanitarian summit has ‘set new course,’ says Ban, calling for action on commitments

The first World Humanitarian Summit

24 May 2016 – Hailing the global community’s achievements at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for commitments made to be taken forward for transformative change from the top down and from the ground up.

“The World Humanitarian Summit has been a unique event, in form as well as substance,” Mr. Ban said in Istanbul, Turkey, speaking to reporters on the second and last day of the Summit, dedicated to improving the humanitarian system and alleviating the suffering of millions.

“We have the wealth, knowledge and awareness to take better care of one another. But we need action, based on the five core responsibilities of the Agenda for Humanity,” he stressed, referring to the principles that guided the hundreds of events organized at the two-day conference.

In total, the Summit brought together 173 Member States, 55 Heads of State and Governments, some 350 private sector representatives, and over 2000 people from civil society and non-governmental organizations. Together, some 1,500 commitments were made, including:

Yet, the Secretary-General also expressed disappointment that some world leaders could not be in Istanbul, especially from the G7 countries, except Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

“They are some of the most generous donors of funding for humanitarian action, but I urge their greater engagement, particularly in the search for political solutions,” he stressed, noting that “aligning the interests of such a diverse constellation of actors is inherently challenging.”

The UN chief said divisions between the members of the Security Council have prevented progress in recent years, not only on critical issues of war and peace, but on humanitarian affairs.

“That is why I make a special appeal to leaders of the nations that are permanent Members of that Council to take important steps at the highest level. Their absence from this meeting does not provide an excuse for inaction,” he said.

Speaking at the closing ceremony with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr. Ban further highlighted that the Summit is not an end point, but a turning point.

“In September, I will report to the United Nations General Assembly on the Summit’s achievements,” he noted. “I will propose ways to take our commitments forward through intergovernmental processes, inter-agency forums and other mechanisms.”

First-ever World Humanitarian Summit must usher in new era of global solidarity – UN chief

Before the first ever Humanitarian Summit4 April 2016 – Briefing Member States on preparations for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Heads of State and Government to come to the event and deliver a strong message that “we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today.”

“We must not fail the people who need us, when they need us most,” said the UN chief, drawing particular attention to the leader’s segment and the roundtables, that will take place during the 23-24 May summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

“First, the best way to achieve bold, courageous change is to make sure that leaders are there to deliver it,” Mr. Ban said, noting that the leaders’ segment will be an opportunity to discuss the five core responsibilities of his Agenda for Humanity.

The five core aims are: political leadership to prevent and end conflict; uphold the norms that safeguard humanity; leave no one behind; change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need; and invest in humanity.

“History will judge us by how we use this moment,” Mr. Ban said, urging States to come to Istanbul at the highest level and to show leadership on the great challenges of the 21st century.

“We must not let down the many millions of men, women and children in dire need,” he added.

Mr. Ban said that seven roundtable sessions will be held over the two days to provide a space for leaders from Member States, civil society and the private sector to focus on a number of challenges crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other shared goals.

The themes of the roundtables are: Preventing and Ending Conflict; Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity; Leaving No-one Behind; Natural Disasters and Climate Change; From Delivering Aid to Ending Need; Gender Equality; and Investing in Humanity.

He said that proposed core commitments that reflect some of the changes necessary to turn the Agenda for Humanity into action were circulated last week for consideration and should be finalized by 18 April.

These are voluntary and non-binding, and can be individual or joint commitments. The Summit is not an end point, but the beginning of a new era of international solidarity to halt the terrible suffering of people affected by conflicts and disasters. The Summit’s success would make an enormous qualitative difference in advancing action on so many other fronts – not least the 2030 Agenda.

The summit outcomes will include a Chair’s summary that will be issued in Istanbul, and a “Commitments to Action” document that will follow some time later. Along with the Agenda for Humanity, these all constitute important elements to the framework for action and follow-up, he said.

Post-Summit follow-up

The follow-up will begin with the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council in June. In September, Mr. Ban will submit his report to the General Assembly, presenting the outcomes of the Summit and further possible steps ahead, he said.

At that point, Member States can decide to take forward some or all of the report’s recommendations through intergovernmental discussions and negotiations, he said. The annual General Assembly humanitarian resolutions in the autumn will likely be vehicles for many of these important discussions.

“Last year we achieved major victories for global solidarity,” he said, referring to Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Let us make the World Humanitarian Summit a historic step forward for our common humanity,” he said.

The briefing was organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN Headquarters in New York.

 

 

The Secretary-General’s message on World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day 2016World Cancer Day, always an opportunity to rally the world, has special impetus this year thanks to the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to usher in a life of dignity for all people.

The Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by all governments call for reducing by one third premature death from non-communicable diseases. This builds on an historic commitment made in 2011 by Heads of State. We are also guided by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and the Every Woman Every Child movement behind it, which are working for stronger health systems, universal health care coverage and scaling up of life-saving interventions for comprehensive cancer prevention and control.

We must do more to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts. About one third of cancers can be prevented, while others are curable if diagnosed and treated early. And even when cancer is advanced, patients should benefit from palliative care.

Cancer affects all countries, but those with fewer resources are hit hardest. Nothing illustrates this better than the burden of cervical cancer. The world’s poorest countries are home to more than 8 in 10 women newly diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 9 in 10 deaths from the disease.

While applauding the success of cervical cancer screening in many high-income countries, we have a responsibility to replicate this progress in low-income States, where cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancers among women.

Today, we have the knowledge, experience and tools to protect every woman, everywhere. Comprehensive cervical cancer prevention includes vaccines to protect girls against future infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), screening measures and preventive treatment of pre-cancers.

Where a person lives should not determine if they develop a cancer or die from it. We must work together to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health issue and to reduce the burden that millions face from all cancers.

On World Cancer Day, let us resolve to end the injustice of preventable suffering from this disease as part of our larger push to leave no one behind.

Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change

COP21_DSC7501An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris today.

The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate.

Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.  

To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

“The Paris Agreement allows each delegation and group of countries to go back home with their heads held high. Our collective effort is worth more than the sum of our individual effort. Our responsibility to history is immense” said Laurent Fabius, President of the COP 21 UN Climate change conference and French Foreign Minister.

The minister, his emotion showing as delegates started to rise to their feet, brought the final gavel down on the agreement to open and sustained acclamation across the plenary hall.

French President Francois Hollande told the assembled delegates: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “One planet, one chance to get it right and we did it in Paris. We have made history together. It is an agreement of conviction. It is an agreement of solidarity with the most vulnerable. It is an agreement of long-term vision, for we have to turn this agreement into an engine of safe growth.”

“Successive generations will, I am sure, mark the 12 December 2015 as a date when cooperation, vision, responsibility, a shared humanity and a care for our world took centre stage,” she said.

“I would like to acknowledge the determination, diplomacy and effort that the Government of France have injected into this remarkable moment and the governments that have supported our shared ambition since COP 17 in Durban, South Africa,” she said.

Agreement Captures Essential Elements to Drive Action Forward

The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP21) cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion:

  • Mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal
  • A transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action
  • Adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts
  • Loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts
  • Support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures

As well as setting a long-term direction, countries will peak their emissions as soon as possible and continue to submit national climate action plans that detail their future objectives to address climate change.

This builds on the momentum of the unprecedented effort which has so far seen 188 countries contribute climate action plans to the new agreement, which will dramatically slow the pace of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The new agreement also establishes the principle that future national plans will be no less ambitious than existing ones, which means these 188 climate action plans provide a firm floor and foundation for higher ambition.

Countries will submit updated climate plans – called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – every five years, thereby steadily increasing their ambition in the long-term.  

Climate action will also be taken forward in the period before 2020. Countries will continue to engage in a process on mitigation opportunities and will put added focus on adaptation opportunities. Additionally, they will work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to USD 100 billion by 2020

This is further underlined by the agreement’s robust transparency and accounting system, which will provide clarity on countries’ implementation efforts, with flexibility for countries’ differing capabilities.

“The Paris Agreement also sends a powerful signal to the many thousands of cities, regions, businesses and citizens across the world already committed to climate action that their vision of a low-carbon, resilient future is now the chosen course for humanity this century,” said Ms Figueres.

Agreement Strengthens Support to Developing Nations

The Paris Agreement underwrites adequate support to developing nations and establishes a global goal to significantly strengthen adaptation to climate change through support and international cooperation.

The already broad and ambitious efforts of developing countries to build their own clean, climate-resilient futures will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries.

Governments decided that they will work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to USD 100 billion by 2020 while also before 2025 setting a new goal on the provision of finance from the USD 100 billion floor.

Ms. Figueres said. “We have seen unparalleled announcements of financial support for both mitigation and adaptation from a multitude of sources both before and during the COP. Under the Paris Agreement, the provision of finance from multiple sources will clearly be taken to a new level, which is of critical importance to the most vulnerable.”

International cooperation on climate-safe technologies and building capacity in the developing world to address climate change are also significantly strengthened under the new agreement.

Signing the Paris Agreement

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the COP (Conference of the Parties), it will be deposited at the UN in New York and be opened for one year for signature on 22 April 2016–Mother Earth Day.

The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.

Cities and Provinces to Companies and Investors Aligning

Today’s landmark agreement was reached against the backdrop of a remarkable groundswell of climate action by cities and regions, business and civil society.

During the week of events under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) at the COP, the groundswell of action by these stakeholders successfully demonstrated the powerful and irreversible course of existing climate action.

Countries at COP 21 recognised the enormous importance of these initiatives, calling for the continuation and scaling up of these actions which are entered on the UN-hosted NAZCA portal as an essential part in the rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The LPAA and NAZCA have already captured climate actions and pledges covering:

  • Over 7,000 cities, including the most vulnerable to climate change, from over 100 countries with a combined population with one and a quarter billion people and around 32% of global GDP.
  • Sub-national states and regions comprising one fifth of total global land area and combined GDP of $12.5 trillion.
  • Over 5,000 companies from more than 90 countries that together represent the majority of global market capitalisation and over $38 trillion in revenue.
  • Nearly 500 investors with total assets under management of over $25 trillion

Christiana Figueres said: “The recognition of actions by businesses, investors, cities and regions is one of the key outcomes of COP 21. Together with the LPAA, the groundswell of action shows that the world is on an inevitable path toward a properly sustainable, low-carbon world.”

More Details on the Paris Agreement

  • All countries will submit adaptation communications, in which they may detail their adaptation priorities, support needs and plans. Developing countries will receive increased support for adaptation actions and the adequacy of this support will be assessed.
  • The existing Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage will be significantly strengthened.
  • The agreement includes a robust transparency framework for both action and support. The framework will provide clarity on countries’ mitigation and adaptation actions, as well as the provision of support. At the same time, it recognizes that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States have special circumstances. 
  • The agreement includes a global stocktake starting in 2023 to assess the collective progress towards the goals of the agreement. The stocktake will be done every five years.
  • The agreement includes a compliance mechanism, overseen by a committee of experts that operates in a non-punitive way.

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COP21: UN chief calls on civil society to keep governments accountable on climate commitments

Members of the International Indian Treaty Council ask for indigenous peoples rights to be respected at the UN climate change conference Meeting with civil society groups today at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he counts on grassroots organizations to help keep governments accountable, so they implement what they have committed to in words.

“One of the very valuable lessons that I’ve learned as Secretary-General during the last nine years is that no government, no international organization, can do its work properly without active engagement and support from civil society,” Mr. Ban told members of non-governmental organizations in Paris, alongside Al Gore, the former Vice-President of the United States and Chair of the Climate Reality Project.

On behalf of civil society groups, Mr. Gore thanked the Secretary-General for his tireless leadership to solve the climate crisis: “I’ve had the opportunity to work with you for quite a few years now and not many people know the focus and constant dedication that you have had to this issue,” he said.

The former Vice-President also presented a petition signed by 6.2 million people from around the world, as well as a joint statement on behalf of all civil society groups at COP21. It stated that these millions of individuals are “demanding a strong agreement that will shift the world away from carbon pollution and rapidly towards climate solutions.”

Noting his appreciation for the signatures, the UN chief highlighted that he thinks the world is standing at a very critical moment: “I’m hopeful and I’m reasonably optimistic that we’ll be able to have for the first time in the history of the United Nations a universal and very ambitious climate change agreement which will make our lives healthier and more prosperous.”

Since the beginning of last week, government representative have been negotiating a new agreement with the goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius. Yesterday, Laurent Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of COP21, said the intention is to have an adopted agreement by Friday.

“We would not be where we are today here in Paris, with 196 Parties poised to adopt a global climate change agreement, without the leadership and vision of civil society,” Mr. Ban insisted, adding that after Paris is over, their voices will be needed more than ever.

He also underlined civil society’s critical role in driving climate action on the ground: “You have provided examples of new ways of working and innovative new solutions that are creating a greener, more sustainable world. I urge you to continue to demand more from all Governments,” the UN chief stated.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Avaaz, a global web movement, told Mr. Ban she was at COP21 representing over three million people who are calling for 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.

“That ambitious goal is for them the metric of success, but they’re watching for something else – this conference can be a renewed level of hope in the UN process and the ability of governments to come together and cooperate,” said Emma Ruby- Sachs. “It’s greater than climate. This is about how we solve global problems.”

Holding back tears, Ms. Sachs also told the Secretary-General that she is expecting her first child in a couple of months, and she wants the next generation to feel hopeful about their planet.

The Secretary-General’s remarks to media after Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda