On Friday, 22 April 2016, the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change took place at UN Headquarters in New York. Following an opening ceremony, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement, the largest number of countries to ever sign a multilateral agreement on the day on which it opens for signature. After signing the Agreement, Heads of State and Government delivered national statements, addressing their intention to ratify and/or outlining their national climate change policies and actions.
In the afternoon, a high-level special event addressed the theme “Taking climate action to the next level: Realizing the vision of the Paris Agreement.” The day ended with delegates hearing statements from past, present and future presidents of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), and an address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement opened with a performance from students from the Julliard School. UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon opened the ceremony. Getrude Clement, a youth representative from Tanzania, stressed the need for countries to go beyond words to action to address climate change, highlighted youth-driven awareness raising efforts in her country, and underlined the need for urgent large-scale climate action to secure the future of young people.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon then welcomed the 175 countries gathered in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, stressing that it is the largest number of world leaders in history signing an international agreement in one day. He then saluted the countries depositing instruments of ratification including: Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, State of Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia and Tuvalu.
French President François Hollande said nations need to go beyond the pledges made in the run up to the Paris Agreement and ensure that words become actions. He urged rapid ratification, saying he would request his parliament to ratify the Agreement by “this summer,” and expressing hope the European Union (EU) would do so by the end of 2016. He committed France to setting a price for carbon and urged rapid and ambitious mobilization of resources, pledging to raise France’s contribution to €5 billion by 2020.
UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft congratulated Heads of State and Government, civil society, as well as the Secretary-General and the UNFCCC Secretariat for their efforts leading to the Paris Agreement, and underlined the need to raise the level of ambition in national commitments in the years to come.
Drawing attention to the weighty obligations contained in the Paris Agreement, which are in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), Ollanta Humala, President of Peru, highlighted the importance of maintaining the momentum set by the Lima-Paris Action Agenda in the run-up to COP 22, and called for international cooperation to ramp up climate financing to assist developing countries to invest in low-carbon growth.
Joseph Kabila, President, Democratic Republic of Congo, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), supported an intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) review every five years. He described his country’s plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 17% between 2020 and 2030, and said his country will make all efforts to maintain temperature rise below 1.5°C degrees by the end of the century.
Evo Morales, President, Bolivia, noting that this day marks Earth Day, said that the Paris Agreement is only a first step, whereas saving Mother Earth will require eradicating the threats posed by the capitalist system. He called for an international charter of the rights of Mother Earth, and the establishment of an international tribunal of Earth justice.
Committing to support the prompt entry into force of the Paris Agreement, Dilma Rousseff, President, Brazil, called for cooperative climate action, stressing the need for developed countries to increase their ambition and move beyond US$100 billion a year in order to ensure developing countries can meet their obligations under the Agreement. She highlighted her country’s efforts to reforest 12 million hectares of deforested lands, and 15 million hectares of degraded lands, and called attention to efforts to substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix.
Zhang Gaoli, Vice Premier, China announced that China will ratify the Paris Agreement before the G20 Summit in September 2016, ensuring its early entry into force. He added that China plans to: reduce the carbon intensity of its GDP by 18% in the next five years; achieve the peaking of its CO2 emissions around 2030 and take actions to peak early; and implement a strict national accountability system for environmental protection.
After describing efforts to invest in low-carbon and clean energy technologies at home, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Canada, said his country is committed to helping developing countries, “since they should not be punished for a problem they did not create.” He pledged US$2.56 billion to assist developing countries to grow in a cleaner, more sustainable manner. He also said he would submit the Agreement to his parliament next month with a view to ratify it later this year.
Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister, Italy, drew attention to the importance of cooperation within the international community in sending a political message of hope to the world at the signing ceremony, stressing that “today is a great day of hope for the next generation.”
Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister, Tuvalu, announced his parliament’s assent to ratify the Paris agreement. He welcomed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emission pathways. He drew attention to the rights of migrants in the preamble of the Paris Agreement; expressed concern regarding climate-related displacements; and stressed the need to avoid conditioning the access to climate financing by how well a country can write its adaption proposal.
Alexander Khloponin, Deputy Prime Minister, Russian Federation, said Russia was looking forward to the negotiations on guidelines under the Agreement for the use of market mechanisms. He described his country’s efforts to prepare a national plan to implement the Agreement. He also recalled President Putin’s proposal to convene a scientific forum under UN auspices to discuss climate, the depletion of natural resources, and degradation of the human habitat.
Invoking John F. Kennedy’s words that “Here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own,” John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, stressed the need for political resolve to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement, noting that the Agreement sends important signals to the marketplace and to governments to redefine a new energy future, and calling on governments to recommit to winning the war against climate change.
Lalla Hasnaa, Princess of Morocco, announced her country’s adoption of a strategic policy to cut GHG emissions by 32% by 2030 and plans to meet 52% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030. She said COP 22 should set a clear action plan for the pre-2030 period for climate adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, and financing, especially for LDCs and small island developing states (SIDS). Salma further stressed the need to enforce carbon pricing in all sectors and give access to patented technology on preferential terms.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, representing the private sector, said the Paris Agreement is an important first step toward a greener way of life, as well as an opportunity for the business community to redeem itself. He expressed satisfaction that the corporate world is increasingly coming together to take action.
Highlighting the exacerbation of poverty and the creation of climate refugees as consequences of climate change in her country, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Civil Society Representative, Chad, stressed that true climate justice is renewable energy for all, urging an increase in adaptation funding cautioning that if this is not done, “soon there will be nobody left to adapt.”
Noting that more countries have gathered to sign an agreement for this cause than at any other time in the history of humankind, Actor and UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio said the UN General Assembly is the “last best hope of the Earth” and made a call for “saving us all.” Calling for urgent climate action, he stressed that, after 21 years of debates and conferences, there is no more time for talk, reports, or allowing fossil fuels companies to set the rules of the game. He underscored that fossil fuels need to be left where they belong: in the ground.
One hundred ninety-seven children then filed in, representing future generations who will be affected by the Paris Agreement. After a short video, the Julliard School quintet performed. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon then closed the opening session.
The signing ceremony then commenced with countries being called to the podium to sign the agreement. President François Holland signed the agreement first. By the end of the signing ceremony 175 nations had signed the Paris Agreement
National statements following the signature of the Paris Agreement took place in two parallel sessions throughout the day.
In the morning, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President, Nauru, for Pacific SIDS, said the Paris Agreement is truly historic, noting that half of the Pacitif SIDS would be submitting their instruments of ratification at the signing ceremony. He said dangerous levels of warming are likely to be reached unless ambition is increased. He noted plans to build resilience to climate impacts, saying they aim to demonstrate what a resilient and carbon neutral future can look like. He emphasized the need to increase ambition as SIDS are already seeing increasing impacts, noting the need to move forward on implementation of the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage.
Thomas Esang Remengesau, President, Palau, said they are currently in a state of emergency due to drought, stressing he is proud of the resilience of the citizens but that the country is in urgent need of international assistance. He said this crisis was foreseen in the country’s INDC, noting they aim to build solar desalination plants to improve water security. He called for fierce solidarity under the aegis of the Paris Agreement to achieve the low carbon future that will ensure the survival of SIDS.
Drawing attention to the difficulties faced by countries in conflict and post-conflict situations, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, President of Somalia, reiterated his country’s commitment to a low-carbon future, noting plans to incorporate environmental considerations into reconstruction and development strategies. He called for financial and technical assistance from development partners to ensure developing countries are able to address climate change effectively.
Filip Vujanović, President, Montenegro, noted that despite his country’s low share of GHG emissions his government is committed to reducing GHG emissions by 20% by 2030 as well as to ensure the effective implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures.
Underlining that making lifestyle changes may be difficult but is necessary to preserve the Earth, Andrej Kiska, President, Slovakia, stressed the need to implement more energy efficient measures as well as institute sustainable consumption and production actions. He noted the need to support the most vulnerable to implement obligations under the Paris Agreement, and underlined the need for broad stakeholder engagement.
Horacio Manuel Cartes, President, Paraguay, said his country will continue to transition towards renewable energy, including through transboundary hydroelectric projects. He noted they are strengthening national institutions related to climate change and environmental protection.
Mahamadou Issoufou, President, Niger, reaffirmed Niger’s will to the process, saying the Paris Agreement represents CBDR. He stressed that it is an important platform for climate efforts. He underscored the importance of mobilizing internal resources, investment and undertaking public-private partnerships, while noting the necessity of capacity building and technology transfer.
Tomislav Nikolić, President, Serbia, emphasized that the Paris Agreement is an important step in our civilization’s development, saying no country can remain immune to climate challenges. Only working together, he said, can we accomplish what must be done. He noted actions at the domestic level to undertake monitoring and verification, as well as to develop mitigation and adaptation plans.
Hage Geingob, President, Namibia, highlighted his country’s constitutional obligation to protect the environment, and noted that this must be done hand-in-hand with efforts to reduce poverty. He welcomed the Paris Agreement as a turning point towards a zero-carbon world, called for renewed commitment and international cooperation for successful implementation, and reiterated his pledge to join the Agreement for a long-lasting impact for the Earth.
Hilda Heine, President, Marshall Islands, announced her country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement calling on others to do so to ensure the Agreement’s entry into force by the end of 2016. Noting that the Agreement is a chance for countries to come together to advance the interests of future generations, she highlighted the threats from climate change faced by low-lying countries and called for effective partnerships to ensure the implementation of the country’s nationally determined contribution (NDC).
Calling attention to the worst drought in 35 years in sub-Saharan Africa, Robert Mugabe, President, Zimbabwe, highlighted the need for international cooperation to address the drastic reduction in food and electricity production. He described national-level action to address climate change, including a commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 33% by 2030, and the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure the implementation of the country’s NDC.
Mahmoud Abbas, President, State of Palestine, noted their accession to the UNFCCC in Paris, as well as their signature and ratification of the Paris Agreement. He stressed that Israeli settlements and occupation are destroying the climate and nature in Palestine.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President, Mauritius, said climate change is an issue of life and death for LDCs and SIDS, underscoring the need for means of implementation to strengthen resilience and capacity to address the impacts of climate change. She noted that while they will mobilize domestic resources to implement their NDCs, they will require international investment to achieve their goals.
Peter Christian, President, Federated States of Micronesia, said we should encourage ourselves to continually increase our targets and to continually exceed them. He said success will be proved by implementation. He committed to implementing the Paris Agreement and underscored Micronesia also commits to phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). He said Micronesia has no choice but to be the world’s canary and called on leaders to walk the deck of this sinking ship to plug the holes.
Macky Sall, President, Senegal, described the Paris Agreement as a “call to order not to cross the red line,” noting that each country must reduce its GHG emissions and transition to clean energy. He announced his country’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions by 21% by 2030, and noted the importance of equity in implementing the Paris Agreement via “compensation payments” for developing countries from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Doris Leuthard, Vice President, Switzerland, said that national-level actions can be activated before the Paris Agreement is ratified, noting that the requisite technologies are available, and called for action to: transition to clean energy, set a price for carbon and abolish fossil fuel subsidies.
Noting that climate change is affecting the rights of peoples to enjoy sustainable development, Delcy Rodríguez, Vice-President for Political Sovereignty and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Venezuela, stressed that the signing of the Paris Agreement is a historic moment in time for the preservation of the Earth. She underlined the importance of changing capitalist models of consumption and production, and called for respect for the obligations of the Paris Agreement by countries in both the Global North and those of the South.
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Vice President, Spain, said perseverance played a role in achieving the Paris Agreement, saying it represents an example of international cooperation. She said it establishes a system of solidarity and a commitment to our grandchildren. She stressed that Spain will double their financial commitments by 2020 and has committed to reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030.
Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Uganda, for the African Group, underscored the signing of the Paris Agreement sends a strong message of collective resolve. He said this bold step must be taken forward by domesticating this agreement, to give it effect in national legislation. He stressed African countries face gaps in financing climate change initiatives, building capacity and accessing technology. In his national capacity, he noted that Uganda has integrated measures to address effects of climate change in its national development planning process.
Beata Szydło, Prime Minister, Poland, underscored that the EU is preparing for ratification of the Paris Agreement. She remembered that the EU is responsible for little more than 10% of emissions and that effectively limiting climate change will require action by all countries. She said effective implementation is a challenge for all and a joint responsibility, noting that it is challenging to reduce emissions and maintain economic growth.
Lauding the 13 SIDS that ratified the Paris Agreement, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister, Samoa, recognized that the adverse effects of climate change will have impacts on health, agriculture, tourism and water, and outlined measures to address these challenges, and highlighted the importance of international financial support for developing countries to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Announcing his country’s ambition to become the world’s first green country as well as his country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, Timothy Harris, Prime Minister, Saint Kitts and Nevis, outlined plans to institute national sustainable land management measures, highlighted his commitment to planting trees reflecting the number of citizens in the country, and called on other countries to take ambitious actions to address climate change.
Noting the challenges ahead in changing lifestyles in order to address climate change, Miro Cerar, Prime Minister, Slovenia, called for a holistic and integrated view of sustainable development and announced his country’s long-term national strategy on transport as one method of addressing climate change and development. He called for collective actions to address climate change in order to “heal, protect and save” the Earth for generations to come.
Serge Telle, Minister of State and Head of Government, Monaco, said his country aims to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 from 1990 levels, and by 90% in 2050. He said climate finance and development assistance are two sides of the same coin, noting that these funds need to be unified, sustainable and responsible. He noted that funds given through the GCF will be earmarked as grants in order not to increase the recipients’ debt.
Charlot Salwai, Prime Minister, Vanuatu, emphasized the importance of implementing the Warsaw Platform for Loss and Damage, noting they will not give up their rights to compensation for climate change damages. He said developed countries must take the lead in climate finance, noting that they should provide additional assistance in advance of 2020.
Paul Dlamini, Deputy Prime Minister, Swaziland, stressed climate action should not undermine sustainable economic development. He noted the impacts of El Niño in Swaziland, highlighting they are building an institution to access funds from the GCF. He stressed that at this historical moment the world should act together to achieve early entry into force of the agreement.
Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister, Tonga, stressed that SIDS vulnerability is increasing and the capacity for resilience eroding. He noted the challenges posed by tropical cyclones. He said that the Pacific region produces a negligible amount of emissions, but has set high levels of ambition. He outlined the Tongan energy roadmap, which will enable transfer of renewable and efficient energy technology.
Åsa Romson, Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden, said clean development is the opportunity for development in the world today and future investment will be in low carbon economies. She presented the Fossil Free Sweden initiative, which encourages competitions to become fossil-free first. She noted that more countries must provide climate finance, while stressing Sweden is committed to remaining a leader in finance provision .
Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister, Nepal, said the Paris Agreement is a beacon of hope for humanity, saying it is a living agreement to be implemented in tandem with Agenda 2030. He said Nepal is combating climate change with institutional support for both mitigation and adaptation actions. He noted mainstreaming climate change into national policies is top priority for the government, as well as development of national low carbon development strategies.
Juan Manuel Santos, President, Colombia, said Colombia will strive for the resolute implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Ali Bongo Ondimba, President, Gabon, expressed his commitment to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% by 2025. He noted that Gabon will align its national legislation with the necessary actions to tackle climate change, such as initiating the transition to renewable energy.
Rosen Plevneliev, President, Bulgaria, expressed commitment to EU’s target of cutting the CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. He said Bulgaria: has its own climate change mitigation plan; has a clear roadmap for climate action; and is currently developing a national climate change adaption strategy.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President, Croatia, said her country would ratify the Agreement no later than 2017. She discussed how her government is working with the business and scientific communities and civil society to realize the goal of becoming a society primarily reliant on green technologies.
Alassane Ouattara, President, Côte d’Ivoire, said his country was identifying the components needed to fulfill its NDC and drawing up a climate business plan. He said Cote d’Ivoire needs the support of the international community, especially in electricity production.
János Áder, President, Hungary, suggested three steps to build on the momentum of Paris: the 10 countries with the 10 largest GHG emissions should start consultations at the earliest opportunity to reduce faster and to a greater extent their emissions than was envisioned in Paris; work on emissions by the aviation and shipping industries should be completed; and the G20, in cooperation with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), should accelerate research on finding efficient, safe, cost-effective and sustainable energy storage technologies.
Surasak Kanjanarat, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, for the Group of 77 and China, said the focus should not be on entry to force, but delivering on major tasks to achieve pre-2020 implementation. He stressed continuation and maintenance of the Adaptation Fund, and leadership by developed countries in taking on economy-wide emissions reduction targets, and emphasized that developed countries must deliver on increased finance for mitigation and adaptation.
Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister for Environment and Energy, Maldives, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), noted their ratification, highlighting SIDS vulnerability to climate change and noting the tragic coral bleaching that is taking place. He stressed urgent action is needed and that all sectors of society must be involved.
Mirei Endara de Heras, Minister for Environment, Panama, for the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, stressed that the Paris Agreement is the cornerstone for multilateral climate cooperation. She highlighted the importance of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) as a means of mitigating climate change and outlined actions being taken by Panama to reduce climate change.
Zahid Hamid, Minister for Climate Change, Pakistan, said they have comprehensive plans to integrate climate change into national policies. He noted establishment of a Climate Change Council and Authority to address these issues. He said the availability of adequate resources remains critical for developing countries and that trillions of dollars will need to be spent to make the climate transition, most of which will need to be spent in developing countries.
Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister, Malta, said the “most arduous part of climate diplomacy” begins now, to transform the Agreement into concrete outcomes. He said governments’ role is to drive the transformation with ambitious policies, including paving the way for capacity building.
Dalia Grybauskaitė, President, Lithuania, expressed commitment to the EU’s target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. She noted that nuclear energy can be a component of the renewable energy mix, but cautioned that all nuclear energy projects need to: respect international law; be transparent and devised in consultation with neighboring states; and ensure a safe infrastructure.
Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President, Central African Republic, said his country is committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 5% by 2030 and by 25% by 2050, provided the Central African Republic receives the necessary financial support for its green energy projects.
David Granger, President, Guyana, announced that the government will deposit the instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016. He added that Guyana plans to reduce CO2 emissions and move closer to 100% renewable energy supplies by 2025, provided the country receives the necessary financial support.
Jocelerme Privert, Interim President, Haiti, appealed to the global community to prioritize help to developing countries’ implementation of the Paris Agreement, particularly the LDCs.
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji, said the Pacific SIDS asked the international community to urgently support SIDS’ adaptation to climate change and work to build climate resilience. Noting the Pacific SIDS advocacy of a 1.5°C goal, he urged viewing the Paris Agreement as only the start of a process to seek deeper GHG emission cuts.
Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, Vice President, Costa Rica, noted her country’s efforts in both mitigation and adaptation, and reiterated its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2021. She said Costa Rica would like to serve as the world’s laboratory for promoting low-carbon growth.
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda, appealed to the international community to scale up climate change financing with increased accessibility for vulnerable states, such as SIDS. He announced Antigua and Barbuda will ratify the Paris Agreement in a few weeks.
Alpha Condé, President, Guinea, appealed to the international community for financial and technological support for the African countries.
Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala, spoke about Guatemala’s efforts to reduce emissions and forest degradation, such as creating instruments for quantifying the loss and improving measurement and verification systems.
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister, Belize, noted the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) call for agreeing an equitable climate financing architecture in which SIDS are represented. He said Caribbean nations see promise in the GCF.
Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister, Barbados, said CARICOM lauds the Paris Agreement because it gives appropriate consideration to SIDS’ concerns. He said SIDS look forward to the 2018 IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global GHG emission pathways.
Perry Christie, Prime Minister, Bahamas, welcomed the Paris commitment to seek a 1.5°C target. He noted his country’s efforts to build a comprehensive climate change strategy. He said Bahamas expects to complete its ratification process by the UN General Assembly’s autumn session.
Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister, Grenada, stressed the need to pursue efforts to ensure that the increase in the global temperature will be limited to “well below” 1.5°C. He said his country will soon present the instruments for ratifying the Paris agreement and expressed hope that the agreement will take a legally binding effect in the close future.
Antoni Martí, Head of Government, Andorra, said Andorra will implement new energy and sustainable transportation policies. He added his country aims to have at least 50% of its cars electric by 2050 and stressed the need to support entrepreneurs.
Paul Kaba Thieba, Prime Minister, Burkina Faso, stressed the need to make efforts to limit the increase in the global temperature to less than 1.5°C. He called for the countries of the North to respect their financing commitments for adaptation and resilience to climate change.
Tammam Salam, Prime Minister, Lebanon, promised Lebanon would complete ratification of the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. He said the country is already building its NDC commitments into its sustainable development goals and roadmap, and has prepared Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for the waste, transport and forestry sectors.
Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister, Lesotho, noted Leostho’s steps to build a green, low-carbon community. He urged all parties to commence NDC implementation as soon as possible and maximize mitigation efforts, and called on developed countries to honor their commitments to provide financial and technical assistance at the required scale.
Niko Peleshi, Deputy Prime Minister, Albania, urged all countries to ratify during 2016, and said it was working to meet all its NDC commitments and prepare a national climate change plan.
Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister, Belgium, announced that it will: put in place legislation that will double its current rate of GHGs reduction; make efforts to ensure the reduction of energy consumption; commit €250 million to climate financing for the next five years; and dedicate 50% of official development assistance (ODA) to LDCs.
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, announced that the EU is updating all its legislation to deliver on the Paris Agreement. He said the EU will soon ratify the Paris Agreement showing the support of its 29 parliaments, and explained that the EU Commission will advance a proposal for ratifying to its member states by summer 2016.
Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, Minister for Science, Technology and the Environment, Cuba, stressed the need for financial support and technological transfer for the most vulnerable countries and underscored the importance of respecting the principle of CBDR, especially with regards to loss and damage.
Susana Mabel Malcorra, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Argentina, announced it will ratify the Paris Agreement in the coming months.
Vladimir Makei, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Belarus, called for incentives for governments to go beyond their NDC commitments, and for developed countries to take a lead role in promoting investment in necessary technologies. He suggested demand for clean energy should be bolstered through fair and equitable access to related technologies, perhaps through UN mechanisms such as Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL).
Arturo Corrales, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honduras, said his country should be one of the first to ratify the Agreement. He reported that his country’s plans to implement its NDC should be in place by 2018, along with the necessary indicators to track implementation.
Nicos Kouyialis, Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, Cyprus, noted its new development plan includes mitigation and adaptation measures, its contribution to the GCF, and the initiation of the Agreement ratification process. He called for the urgent development of the roadmap for increasing mitigation ambition.
Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al Sabah, Prime Minister, Kuwait, said the responsibility should be common, but differentiated. He also cautioned participants with regard to the effects of nuclear energy.
Aurélien Agbenonci, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Benin, announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 21.3% from 2021 to 2030. He further stressed the need to: attach adequate attention to adaption; ensure that technology transfer and financial support are aligned with the priorities of countries; and set in place a robust monitoring mechanism.
Avi Gabbai, Minister for the Environment, Israel highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder involvement, especially the private sector, which should play a central role. He also underscored the need for investment in the development of clean technology.
Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Iceland, noted the almost exclusive use of renewable energy to provide electricity and heating nationwide.To support capacity building, Iceland participated in the Global Geothermal Alliance, which was launched in Paris. She stressed women must be empowered for decision-making and action at all stages.
Mark Pomerants, Minister for the Environment, Estonia, announced that it is developing its first national climate change adaption strategy and aims to cut at least 40% of its CO2 emissions by 2030. He also announced that Estonia will contribute €1 million annually to support developing countries with regards to climate change.
Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Luxembourg, said her country committed to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2020. She stressed the need for close collaboration with the civil society and other non-state actors. She said Luxembourg is currently reworking key areas of its national policy relevant for tackling climate change, such as transportation, housing, and energy.
Kaspars Gerhards, Minister for Environment and Regional Development, Latvia, announced that they are working on plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 and will develop a new carbon development strategy by 2050.
Richard Brabec, Minister for the Environment, Czech Republic, urged starting as soon as possible the negotiations on building new frameworks to aid the Paris Agreement implementation process. He noted his country is currently developing a new climate policy, has started work on a fossil fuel phase-out law, and will invest nearly €3 billion in green heating by 2020.
Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, said the real work starts now by countries implementing and updating their NDCs. She stressed the importance of achieving results quickly, monitoring goals continuously and making them more stringent when necessary. She noted that Germany will soon adopt its climate action plan toward 2050.
Gigla Agulashvili, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Georgia, noted that its low-emission development strategy will be adopted soon, a national energy efficiency plan is under preparation, and a more ambitious NDC will be introduced by 2020. He suggested that small countries such as Georgia can be engines of creativity in the fight against climate change.
Prakash Javadekar, Minister for the Environment, Forests and Climate Change, India, announced plans to: reduce CO2 reductions by 30% by 2030; increase by 40% the capacity to generate power from non-fossil fuels; and invest US$10 billion in afforestation. He stressed the need to transition to sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Ars Christian Lilleholt, Minster for Energy, Utilities and Climate, Denmark, expressed commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, and stressed the need for investment in innovation in clean technology and for involvement of the private sector. He said Denmark and the EU will ratify the Paris Agreement “as soon as possible.”
Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica, announced Jamaica will ratify by the fourth quarter 2016. She noted the country has a comprehensive national climate change action plan, and will proudly continue to be a member of the High Ambition Coalition.
Pehin Dato Mohammad Yasmin Umar, Minister for Industry, Brunei Darussalam, present plans to: cut down primary energy consumption by 65% by 2035; increase by 10% power generation from renewable sources by 2035; and increase its forest reserve from 44% to 55% of its total land area.
Khaled Fahmy, Minister for the Environment, Egypt, said it is willing to sign an agreement: that respects the principles of equity, CBDR and respective capabilities; in which developed countries clearly commit to respect their financial commitments; and that makes clear the fact that adaption is a global responsibility.
Ri Su Yong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, noted that it had signed the Paris Agreement and plans to afforest and reforest 1.67 million hectares of mountain areas by 2024, resulting in reducing GHG emissions by 10 million tons.
Catherine McKenna, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Canada, noted: its plan to ratify the Agreement in 2016; its championing of carbon pricing at home; the introduction of a domestic budget with significant new investment in green technology; its online citizen consultations to help define Canada’s approach to combating climate change; its vision of a North American common approach to climate change; its March 2016 agreement with the US to jointly seek new carbon standards for airplanes; and its C$2.65 billion commitment to help developing countries on climate issues.
Lejeune Mbella Mbella, Minister for External Relations, Cameroon, noted its national adaptation plan, with five cross-cutting projects and 15 sectoral projects. He cautioned that effective implementation of those projects will require strong technical, technological and financial assistance from development partners. He announced his President’s commitment to submit the Agreement to the June 2016 parliamentary session for ratification.
Taher Shakhshir, Minister for the Environment, Jordan, explained how Jordan is integrating the Paris Agreement goals in its national sectoral strategies, further noting that Jordan will take all necessary steps to ratify the agreement. He also stressed the importance of partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society.
Ahmed Ali Silay, Minister Delegate in Charge of International Cooperation, Djibouti, stressed the need to respect CBDR and to put climate change adaptation and mitigation at the core of all poverty reduction strategies. He said Djibouti is currently implementing a national programme of action for adapting to climate change.
Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment, Australia, announced it will begin the process of ratifying the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. He said Australia will “meet and beat” its 2020 climate targets, being on track to reduce its CO2 emissions by 26% by 2030. He noted that Australia plans to reach a share of 23.5% of renewable energy by 2030 and to commit at least US$1 billion in climate finance over the next five years.
Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs, El Salvador, said it is making efforts to transition to a sustainable and resilient economy, for which it has started to develop policies to tackle climate change. He said El Salvador will start the procedures to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.
Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister for the Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, said an industry evaluation had revealed that some 65% of this sector’s emissions could be reduced through energy efficiency measures. She also described efforts to change practices in forestry and land use. She expressed optimism that Indonesia will ratify early and soon change its INDC into an NDC.
Mahama Ayariga, Minister for the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana, said his parliament would consider ratification in May. He noted efforts to mainstream both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and integrate them with the 40-year national development plan under preparation. He also mentioned preparations of an action plan to realize the commitments made in Ghana’s INDC.
Liberia said her country had already initiated ratification procedures. She noted Liberia had integrated its low-carbon emissions strategy into the national development plan. She expressed Liberia’s aspiration to become a carbon neutral country by 2050, but noted it would require substantially increased financial flows and investments.
Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland, noted the complementarity between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Development Agenda. He stressed the need for enhanced transparency and accountability; expressed support for a global goal on adaption, particularly recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable countries; and announced plans to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990.
Huseyngulu Baghirov, Minister for Ecology and Natural Resources, Azerbaijan, noted that it successfully stopped deforestation and increased afforestation, which will significantly contribute to tackling climate change. He also highlighted the need for access to effective international market mechanisms.
Sommad Pholsena, Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said it will make all efforts for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Maria de Fátima Monteiro Jardim, Minister for the Environment, Angola, expressed intention to ratify the Paris Agreement “in the shortest time.” She stressed that the Agreement clearly highlights that developed countries need to take the lead, adding that Angola will reduce its CO2 emissions in accordance with its national constitution.
Siti Kassim, Minister for Production and the Environment, Comoros, said it would ratify the Agreement in 2016. She called for legally binding rules on reviews of country commitments and ensuring transparency in GHG emission reductions. Comoros committed to reviewing its own commitments every five years, but called for international financing to help conduct such reviews.
Giannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister for the Environment and Energy, Greece, noted the importance of the upcoming discussions on emissions from aviation and marine transport. He underscored the imperative of rapid implementation of Agreement commitments, and called for the May UNFCCC session in Bonn to focus on creating an ambitious implementation system.
Kiribati said it would ratify as soon as the new government settles in and completes work on its NDC. He called on major emitters to ratify as early as possible and cut emissions as much as necessary to ensure keeping temperature rise to 1.5°C, further urging developed nations to provide sufficient funds to the GCF as soon as possible.
Japan said it will make a “positive contribution” to reducing CO2 emissions and announced it will contribute ¥1.3 trillion to climate financing by 2020. He underlined that promoting innovation if key for keeping a balance between climate change and economic growth.
Liechtenstein expressed its commitment to ratify the Agreement “as soon as possible” and reduce by 40% its CO2 emissions by 2030, based on 1990 levels. He underscored the need to involve all stakeholders, especially the private sector and civil society, in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Cabo Verde stressed the need for strong, clear and predictable commitments on climate financing and technology transfer. He announced that Cabo Verde might ratify the Paris Agreement in one year. He called for international support, “especially from the UN system.”
Afghanistan expressed optimism that it can remain low in emissions and develop rapidly as long as appropriate and sufficient international financial and technical support is provided.
Bhutan said it is already working toward the Paris Agreement ratification. She noted that despite substantial challenges as a small land-locked developing country (LLDC), Bhutan will undertake concerted national efforts on climate change and realize the Paris Agreement’s early ratification and full implementation.
Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya, noted that climate change costs Kenya 3% of GDP annually. She said Kenya is committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and highlighted that renewable energy accounts for 70% of its energy mix, to increase to 90% by 2030. She further stressed that the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda need to be pursued together as an “integrated whole.”
Kazakhstan said it will soon sign the Paris Agreement and underscored his country stands ready to contribute to its implementation at the national, regional and international levels.
Chile stressed the need for a cross-sectoral approach to Paris Agreement implementation.
Libya announced that it will seek to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.
Botswana welcomed the recognition of CBDR in the Agreement, the commitment of US$100 billion per year climate change finance support through 2025, the commitment to a transparency and accountability system, evaluations every five years, and the decision on enhanced action prior to 2020.
Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Finland, said it is on track to realize its GHG emission targets and has already achieved its renewable energy target. He reported Finland is now preparing a new energy and climate strategy for 2020-2030, and plans to ratify the Agreement soon. He also underscored the importance of ensuring gender equality in all climate change policies.
Andrä Rupprechter, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria, said it is “strongly determined” to do its fair share in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and help others do the same. He expressed commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.
Bangladesh highlighted the importance of increased investment in renewable energy and clean technology. He said support for the vulnerable countries most affected by climate change is essential. He announced that Bangladesh will reduce its CO2 emissions by 2030, by 5% unilaterally and by 15% with the needed support.
Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore, said the Paris Agreement will transform the development paradigm from short-term to long-term, from exploitation of the weak and vulnerable to justice for all, and from gambling with our children’s future to global resilience. He called for pre-2020 actions to create a strong foundation for post-2020 actions.
Ramón Jesús P. Paje, Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines, said it is cascading mitigation and adaptation actions to the local level and investing in climate resilient economies, while also developing a GHG management and reporting system to create an accurate, transparent and comparable baseline of emissions.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Minister for Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change, United Kingdom, cited his country’s “proud record” towards reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. As part of the EU, the UK submitted its INDC before any other major economy, he added. He announced a contribution of £10 million to the capacity-building initiative for transparency and that the UK is working with industry to green private finance and investment flows.
Abdoulaye Diop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and African Integration, Mali, said his country expects to play an active and constructive role in implementation as a LLDC in the Sahel that faces numerous challenges, including desertification. He expressed hope that the commitments for financing activities to combat climate change be respected, since this will enable the most vulnerable to strengthen resilience. He said that Mali’s mitigation plan promotes use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. He added that Mali will proceed with ratification later this month.
Bomo Edith Edna Molewa, Minister for Environmental Affairs, South Africa, said that it has already commenced the domestic ratification process. She said that South Africa has put in place a climate change response policy with a mitigation and adaptation framework to achieve the goals in its national development plan. The first five-year cycle includes a carbon budget for each company, pollution prevention plans, a reporting system, and other incentive and disincentive measures. She called for closing the mitigation, adaptation and financing gaps.
“All of the ice in the world is melting,” said Paul Herbert Oquist Kelley, Minister and Private Secretary for National Policies, Nicaragua, describing the impacts of only a 1°C rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels. He said SDG 13 calls for “urgent action” to combat climate change and its impacts, but the Paris Agreement does not take urgent action, such as stopping temperature rise at 2°C. Nor does it provide financing to compensate losses or legal consequences for those who have caused climate change. Among other “dangers inherent in the Paris Agreement,” he lamented the quickly-gaveled change of “shall” to “should” with regard to CBDR, which denies developing countries their legal rights to damages. In sum, the Agreement creates a “new neocolonial asymmetry” in which developing countries are held responsible for their obligations and acts while developed countries’ historical responsibilities are pardoned. Nicaragua will not sign the Paris Agreement in hope of exerting pressure on other countries to avoid a world of a 3°C temperature rise, he said.
Camillo Gonsalves, Minister for Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Information and Labour, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, urged signatories to ratify the Paris Agreement as quickly as legislatively permissible. He said the Agreement is “not perfect, but it is perfectible.” Observing that climate finance is poorly defined in the Agreement, he expressed hope that the sword of enforcement will be wielded by a unified international community, concluding that success will be measured in both “dollars and degrees.”
Paula Bennett, Minister for Climate Change Issues, New Zealand, said methane comprises a large share of her country’s emissions, so it must mitigate those without hurting agriculture. She also highlighted New Zealand’s support for Pacific neighbors to adopt solar and other clean energies, its support for the role of carbon markets, and an ongoing review of New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme. She added that the price of carbon needs to be higher.
Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Minister for the Environment, Water and Forests, Romania, said it has a new 2030 strategy and action plan to address climate change challenges and to build sustainable development pathways, which includes civil society and stakeholder participation to prepare its people to cope with impact of climate change. Romania is also taking steps to contribute to the GCF this year.
Khemais Jhinaoui, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tunisia, said that its NDC has been determined at an ambitious level. Further carbon emissions reductions in Tunisia are contingent upon financing, technology transfer and capacity building in adaptation and mitigation. He added that in September, Tunisia will host consultations with the UNFCCC and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which will focus on measures related to the contribution of African nations in the mitigation of climate change impacts.
Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rwanda, said while the Paris Agreement is a historic step in the right direction, we cannot be content with the signing, since the real work must now begin. She described Rwanda’s Green Fund, an investment fund and the largest of its kind in Africa, which invests in the best public and private projects and has mobilized US$1 million.
Aslov Sirodjidin Muhridinovich, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tajikistan, said Central Asia is already experiencing effects from the 1°C rise in temperature, including increased precipitation and intensity of disasters. He said Tajikistan has adopted a national plan of action to mitigate climate impacts, and that regular monitoring and adaptation measures will benefit mountain ecosystems. He called on developed countries, UN agencies, and “reputable” international financial institutions to continue cooperation efforts to address mitigation and adaptation.
A cultural revolution must accompany policies and actions, said San Marino, highlighting education in schools as well as the construction sector. She said her country is working on non-polluting methods of transport and legislative provisions to upgrade buildings’ energy-efficiency. San Marino thanked the planet’s “most sensitive inhabitants” for their pressure to realize the Paris Agreement.
Susil Premajayantha, Minister for Science, Technology and Research, Sri Lanka, said that shortly after Paris it began its transformation to a low-carbon economy. The country will set up climate-resilient villages and climate-smart cities, and it aims for 20% renewables by 2020, he said. He called for international support and assistance to implement national strategies, priorities and needs on mitigation, adaptation and mobilizing climate finance.
Yoon Seong-kyu, Minister for the Environment, Republic of Korea, announced that it will take necessary measures for ratification. He described domestic actions that are the building blocks for a low-carbon future, including its nationwide carbon trading scheme that started last year and its national adaptation plan. He said that the Republic of Korea is introducing other innovative climate policies and is happy to share its experience with other countries.
João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister for the Environment, Portugal, said his country: has a national climate change programme with emissions reduction targets of 30-40%; promotes renewable energies; is reducing dependency on energy imports; and has more efficient transportation. Portugal is also working with African Portuguese-speaking countries to help with implementation.
Vidar Helgesen, Minister for Climate and the Environment, Norway, said he expects his country to ratify the Paris Agreement by June. He said that Norway’s climate target is a 40% reduction by 2030 compared with 1990 levels with a goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. The petroleum industry has been the center of Norway’s economy for decades but, he said, this is about to change. He said that transformation means opportunities not just challenges. He called for sufficient ratifications this year for the Paris Agreement to enter into force and achieve its ambitious targets.
Thani Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, United Arab Emirates, said the work over the next five years will be as important as that done in Paris. He called for a meaningful monitoring, reporting and verification system to ensure everyone fulfils their obligations to developing countries. His country is also enhancing public transport, reducing emissions from the transport and housing sectors, and striving for sustainable urban planning, he added.
Noting the urgency of action, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Minister for the Environment, Mexico, called for ensuring the Agreement enters into force as soon as possible. He said Mexico is promoting an international carbon price as well as international laws to reduce GHG emissions and short-lived air pollutants.
Ohn Winn, Minister for National Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar, noted its vulnerability to cyclones, extreme droughts, and floods, saying climate resilience “remains our top priority.” He also: said Myanmar is developing a national climate change strategy; highlighted loss and damage; said finance is a crucial element of the Paris Agreement; and called for resources for the LDC Fund.
Tran Hong Ha, Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Viet Nam, called for finance, technology and capacity building to fully operationalize Paris Agreement commitments. He said that all countries should implement their INDCs. As a vulnerable country, he added that Viet Nam confirms its commitments to combat climate change and will implement the targets in its INDC.
Samura M.W. Kamara, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sierra Leone, said as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries, Sierra Leone is committed to abide by the Paris Agreement, has green growth as part of its development agenda; and is already implementing adaptation projects. But, he said, countries have a moral duty to work together so as not to pass on this danger to the next generation.
Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Rumaihi, Minister for Municipality and Environment, Qatar, reaffirmed its commitment to the efforts under the UNFCCC and the implementation of its INDCs. He stressed the principle of CBDR and the essential role of developed states. He expressed hope the Paris Agreement will play a key role so that humanity can manage the effects that climate change presents.
James Fletcher, Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Saint Lucia, said it will meet and possibly surpass its NDC by making investments in geothermal, wind and solar, while increasing energy efficiency, among other actions. He also outlined ways to “help countries like mine overcome the skepticism” that not enough will be done. He said developed country partners and UN agencies must fulfil their commitments and take actions to bend the curve toward 1.5 °C temperature rise, or less. He also called for new streams of climate financing for SIDS and other vulnerable nations.
Deng Deng Hoc Yai, Minister for the Environment, South Sudan, said we must be prepared to “pay money” for climate action, or “we will continue to pay with our lives.” He noted that since climate change is the biggest threat to the human race and the planet, finances should not be an obstacle to tackling it.
Battsereg Namdag, Minister for Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Mongolia, said that in January 2016, the government approved action plans to enforce policies on climate change. He noted that the need to increase technical assistance, expand international and regional financial mechanisms and other special funds for technology transfer and capacity building.
Milner Tozaka, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Solomon Islands, thanked France for restoring confidence and trust in the multilateral system. However, he said, ambition in this agreement remains low and we need to enhance mitigation action to put us on a 1.5°C pathway. He said: investing in clean energy opens opportunities; they have submitted their NDC to reduce emissions by 27% by 2025; and hydropower and other projects need support.
Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands, said the EU will double its reduction targets to at least 40% by 2030 and the Netherlands is already putting in place the relevant domestically binding legislation. She called for governments and industry to take up the challenge of reducing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport. She called for strong action on carbon pricing to achieve carbon neutrality and that the Netherlands will host a high-level dialogue on carbon pricing in the fall of this year.
Hassan Abdelgadir Hilal, Minister for the Environment, Forestry and Physical Development, Sudan, called for just and fair implementation of the Paris Agreement. He said that Sudan needs to attract international support and funding to implement the Paris Agreement. Sudan is developing solar, wind and hydro power, ending deforestation, and has a national adaptation plan. Sudan is working to do all of this with limited international support due to arbitrary measures of some countries, he added.
Constâncio da Conceição Pinto, Minister for Commerce, Industry and the Environment, Timor-Leste, said steps being taken by the LDCs and SIDS to address climate change must be matched by action from partners. He called on developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions and fulfil long-standing pledges on means of implementation. He recognized a role for civil society, academia, media and the private sector in ensuring the Agreement’s success. He also reported that Timor Leste will submit its NDC after the signing ceremony, and will conduct a national implementation analysis as an input to its ratification process.
Niermala Badrising, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Suriname, noted that it is a “significantly carbon-negative” country and intends to maintain its forests and other natural and cultural resources, including by implementing REDD+ and a newly adopted energy bill to chart specific renewable energy strategies.
Dennis Moses, Minister for Foreign and Caribbean Community Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago, underscored the complementarity between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and called for situating climate actions in a broader development paradigm. His country is aligning domestic development plans, including addressing climate change, with the SDGs and its NDC. As Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is largely energy-based, he said, it will maximize use of renewable energy, and is already setting up fiscal incentives and disincentives for deployment of alternative fuels and hybrid fuel technology in the transportation sector.
Mozambique said that common problems need global responses and this reaffirms the role of the UN in global governance. He said Mozambique’s vulnerability to climate change is undermining efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development. He said Mozambique has submitted its INDC, is developing a multi-sectoral national strategy on mitigation and adaptation, and wants to do more and do it better, but the scarcity of resources is a problem.
Uruguay noted that 90% of the population lives on the coasts and the main economic activities, food production and tourism, are vulnerable to climate change. He said that Uruguay has implemented transformative policies to reduce carbon emissions and 97% of electricity comes from renewables. Uruguay is involving all stakeholders in dialogues to implement the Paris Agreement and will submit the Agreement to be ratified.
Turkmenistan said that national mitigation and adaptation plans are under development. She said that Turkmenistan plans to reduce the volume of GHG emissions using modern, clean and energy-efficient technologies and to stabilize the growth of emissions by 2030 to stay under a 2°C temperature rise. She called for stepping up multilateral cooperation and establishing a regional center on climate change in Central Asia in Turkmenistan.
Papua New Guinea said that his country provided the world’s first NDC, is one of a few countries that passed a climate change management act before the Paris Agreement was reached, and has embarked on its pre-2020 NDC. He said he is encouraged by Canada’s leadership and hopes other developed countries will follow its example.
Fatma Güldemet Sari, Minister for Environment and Urban Planning, Turkey, said the Agreement’s success will depend on realizing commitments to adequate funding and technology transfer. She called on developed countries to provide the means to transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world economy. Turkey is a candidate to host the COP in 2020, a critical year for the Paris Agreement, she noted.
Tanzania said his country is “aware that our fate and prosperity are inextricably linked to climate change.” He highlighted Tanzania’s focus on forestry and the energy sector. He concluded that equity is crucial; “while climate change affects us all, it does not affect us all equally.”
Ukraine said that people can change the world if they stand together for a common future. He noted the negative environmental effects of the military invasion of Eastern Ukraine and said that Ukraine has signed the Paris Agreement to drive the change to a better and safer future. He called for implementation procedures in all countries, adding that together we can protect the planet for our children and future generations.
TAKING CLIMATE ACTION TO THE NEXT LEVEL: REALIZING THE VISION OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT
This session focused on highlighting the role of all stakeholders in the acceleration of climate actions, and in replicating and scaling up initiatives and activities to ensure successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Aspiring to Action – Setting the Scene for Implementation: Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning, moderated this session.
Highlighting need for trillions of dollars to implement the Paris Agreement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the Southern Climate Partnership Incubator to finance climate partnerships in developing countries. For successful implementation of the Paris Agreement, he noted the need for implementation of countries’ NDCs as well as an increase in ambition in order to scale up climate partnerships.
UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft welcomed the optimistic visions elaborated over the past several days, saying the economic justification for climate transitions is compelling. He emphasized that if we do not take action, there will be no resources for eradicating poverty or other aspects of the SDGs. He called on nations to “sing from the same hymn sheet” and to remove obstacles to achieving the objectives of the agreement. He called for strengthening the UN capacity to bring non-traditional stakeholders into the process.
Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC, gave an overview of the IPCC’s efforts to support implementation of the Paris Agreement, highlighting work on the sixth assessment report to be released before the global stocktaking in 2023, and other reports including on climate change and oceans and ice. He highlighted the important role to be played by negative emissions technologies, and called for greater ambition to limit temperature rise to well below 2°C.
Solar Impulse Plane Pilot André Borschberg spoke to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mid-flight from Hawaii to San Francisco. Borschberg said today is the launch of the technology revolution, replacing inefficient technology with sustainable and clean solutions like his plane. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded his pioneering spirit. Vice President Doris Leuthard, Switzerland, welcomed the Solar Impulse as being one of the most important flights since the launch to the moon.
In the Here and Now – Perspectives, Opportunities and Collaborative Action: Moderator Orr introduced the panel. The panel was also moderated by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres
Governor Jerry Brown, State of California, US, said that California has two or three times more cars than years ago, but the air is much, much cleaner. He said California was the first state to regulate CO2 from automobiles and that law has now been transferred nationally. He noted the state’s leadership on renewable energy and noted that, while California is doing better than any other state, it will require further action.
Fernando Coimbra, Ministry of Environment, Brazil, highlighted his country’s efforts to address deforestation, noting that through international partnerships with Norway and Germany and stakeholder involvement his country has been successful in combating deforestation. He stressed the need for South-South cooperation, and offered to share experiences on deforestation with other forest basin countries.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, said his one key takeaway is to focus on low to no-carbon energy, with a 40-year perspective. He stressed there are a limited number of options, calling for systematic assessments of what is available and what can be done. He emphasized we are going to zero, and the path is not complicated because there are not that many options. He stressed that gas is not a stepping stone, it is another fossil fuel lock-in. He noted that nobody has undertaken the planning to get to zero and this planning has to take place.
Highlighting the work of the International Development Finance Club in mainstreaming climate finance and sustainable development and calling for bold leadership to implement the Paris Agreement, Patrick Dlamini, Development Bank of Southern Africa, described his bank’s efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, drawing attention to a renewable independent power-producer programme in South Africa set to produce 14000MW.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said there is much capacity to be built and climate change must be integrated into development plans, and there needs to be a single plan to accomplish sustainable development and climate change objectives. She called for the right mix of policies, institutions and regulatory environments. She also stressed climate action must be fair and equitable, noting women must be included. She emphasized the role of South-South cooperation and knowledge sharing, and discussed the need to support the transition of INDCs into NDCs.
Al Gore, Former Vice President, US, called for understandable information to allow the general public to be able to actively participate in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and proposed an inter-regional “social-pressure” scheme to encourage countries to move towards greater energy efficiency.
Singer Akon highlighted his initiative, Akon Lighting Africa, noting his desire to be a part of something that will change the world. He said it works to galvanize the youth to support Africa’s future. He said innovation has to be the guiding rule, underscoring the importance of social change. He called for engaging finance and thinking outside of the box to support large scale financial flows.
Responding to a question on the transition to renewable energy and noting that energy transformation is more than just moving away from coal, Karsten Sach, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, noted that the transition is gradual, with the country working to create alternatives for coal miners, and workers in the fossil fuel sector; and drew attention to the country’s plan to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050.
Ajay Mathur, Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), stressed providing enough energy for all is a huge challenge, noting that this requires energy efficiency. He noted that developing countries have a huge advantage since much infrastructure has not yet been constructed and that if it is efficient it can be revolutionary. He highlighted policies that have made the cement industry the most energy efficient in the world, underscoring that institutional capacity matters in piloting and then rapidly scaling successful projects.
Princess Abzeita Djigma, Founder, Abze Solar, noted the importance of renewable energy technology expertise on the continent, describing her work to train workers in the development of high quality solar technologies that are adaptable to local situations. She highlighted the challenges in scaling up renewable energy technology production, including the lack of skilled workers and the need for dedicated finance.
Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment, Egypt, said that regional and national levels must be considered at the same time, focusing particularly on what unites rather than divides. He noted the need to agree on guiding principles at the regional level, saying must be built on good governance led by Africans. He said Egyptian efforts to develop a biogas industry were harmed by subsidies for fossil fuels. He emphasized that many bridges were promised in Paris, and that developing countries expect those resources will come.
Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman, Suez Environment, and CEO, Engie, described his company’s establishment of an internal carbon price that is integrated into the company’s investment decision-making process. He noted that including this price is “the right thing for the planet” and has already made investments in carbon uneconomical, pointing to the sale of coal plants and the rerouting of these investments to renewable energy.
Enrique García Rodríguez, CEO, Development Bank of Latin America, noted one challenge is whether there are even projects available to finance as there is a lack of capacity in countries to develop and prepare projects. He said that large projects are more likely to be well prepared and have access to sophisticated financial products, but that this is not the case for small projects. He said development banks can be catalytic, as they have innovative ways of measuring and reducing risk.
Rachel Kyte, CEO, SE4All, called for consistency in policy making in government, the private sector, the civil society and industry in order to ensure a successful transition to a low carbon economy. Calling out backroom deals that give developing country policymakers cheap fossil-fuel based energy options, she stressed the need to “turn the renewable energy narrative around,” in order to empower the public to pressure their policymakers to make clean energy choices.
Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji, said that a tropical cyclone has just passed over Fiji, exemplifying the consequences of climate change. He described other impacts including water scarcity and disease. He said these consequences will occur regardless of resilience and ability to cope. He called for modernizing institutional processes in order to expand capacity to address the complex challenges of climate change. He underscored that the principle challenge is accessing the finance necessary to undertake the necessary adaptation projects.
Highlighting food loss of up to 40% due to wasteful practices, Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass, Chair, Committee on World Food Security, called for food security policies that incorporate measures to address climate change, and described her organization’s multi-stakeholder approach to ensure that sustainable food security policies will feed more people.
Alfred Romuáldez, Mayor of Tacloban, the Philippines, highlighted the story of the recovery of Tacloban after its devastation by Typhoon Haiyan. He noted the city is developing a climate adaptation plan to make the city more resilient. He stressed lessons learned, including the need: for a common understanding that investment in vulnerable reduces costs later; to account for surrounding communities; to develop partnerships with the private sector; and to develop better means to disseminate information in this digital age.
Yolanda Kakabadse Navarro, President of World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), called for learning from the successes of others, and working within an ecosystem approach to ensure policy coherence. She drew attention to the work of WWF in oceans, freshwater, and forests, stressing the need for multi-stakeholder collaborations including with local authorities and local communities to restore, protect and preserve ecosystems.
Joan Lamm-Tennant, CEO, Blue Marble Microinsurance, emphasized that small-scale insurance has provided lessons learned. She said that as an industry, insurance must be unified to become partners with development organizations. She said Blue Marble has pledged to share the innovation costs to extend insurance to the most vulnerable.
Representatives for youth Yugratna Srivastava, Plant-for-the-Planet, India, and Timothy Damon, SustainUS, US, made closing statements, with Srivastava stressing that empty promises will no longer be sufficient, and calling for decisions on actions that will deliver quick results. Damon underlined the need for veteran policymakers and private-sector and industry leaders to mentor and empower young people, and welcomed intergenerational cooperation to secure a just, sustainable future.
Drawing attention to the sense of urgency to implement the Paris Agreement and transition to low-carbon growth, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Figueres underlined that either the world becomes more resilient in the next five years, or it will be too late.
Opening the closing ceremony, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that 175 parties signed the Paris Agreement, establishing a new record number of parties signing an international agreement on the first day it was opened for signature.
Speaking for the COP 20 President, Ana María Sánchez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peru, described the country’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions, and implement the Paris Agreement, and highlighted the important role of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda in catalyzing multi-stakeholder climate action. She called for financial assistance, capacity building and technology transfer to developing countries to ensure they can implement the Paris Agreement, and further called for a culture of dialogue and openness to promote climate action.
COP 21 President Ségolène Royal said addressing climate change requires a fighting spirit and perseverance, calling on countries to ratify the Agreement, continue negotiating how to apply the Agreement, and build coalitions to halt climate change. She underscored the critical role of women and highlighted the roles of the upcoming G7 and G20, and COP 22 meetings.
Salaheddine Mezouar, President Designate of COP 22 and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Morocco, stressed the need to: strengthen synergies between governments and non-state players; ensure the integrated implementation of the development and climate agendas; and delineate a clear roadmap at COP 22, especially with regard to the most vulnerable countries. He said COP 22 should: adopt procedures for the implementation of the financing, capacity-building, and technology-transfer commitments; and be inclusive, involving everyone.
Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon said the Agreement signing is a covenant with the future and a vote of confidence in multilateral negotiations. He stressed the importance of getting 55 countries representing at least 55% of global GHG emissions to ratify during 2016, and pledged to do everything he could to accomplish this. He urged civil society to hold governments accountable to their commitments and called on everyone to build on the achievements of today to build forward momentum. He closed the session at 6:46 pm.