'A message of urgency and hope'

The UN Secretary-General has called on parties at Lima to begin the process of writing a new history for the planet - starting with action in five key areas.

*This is a transcript of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's remarks at the 'high-level segment' of the 20TH UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Lima. 

Ladies and gentleman, I carry a message of urgency and hope.

We know that by addressing manmade climate change, we can build more resilient, prosperous, and healthier societies. But we must act now.

There is still a chance to stay within the internationally-agreed ceiling of a less than 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise. But the window of opportunity is fast closing. All countries must be part of the solution. All of society must be engaged. This is not a time for tinkering – it is a time for transformation.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the momentum for action is building. At the Climate Summit in September, I said we needed all hands on deck. Government, finance, business and civil society leaders answered the call. Giants of industry – from consumer goods companies to national railways to institutional investors – demonstrated their commitment to combating climate change. From Manhattan to Mumbai to Melbourne, hundreds of thousands of people marched for climate action. 

Thousands of businesses and communities across the globe are stepping up. And governments are responding in unprecedented ways. The recent US-China joint announcement, the European Union’s 2030 Climate and Energy Framework – as well as the commitment by Germany – all provide the foundation for ever higher levels of ambition. The pledging conference of the Green Climate Fund – or GCF – has also achieved an initial capitalisation of nearly $10 billion. I thank all countries, both developed and developing, for their contributions.

Despite these positive steps, I am deeply concerned that our collective action does not match our common responsibilities.

I have five requests of all Parties:

– First, we must deliver here in Lima a balanced, well-structured, and coherent draft text for the 2015 Agreement that provides a clear and solid foundation for negotiations next year. We must also reach a common understanding on the scope and status of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs. I encourage all Parties, in particular all major economies and developed countries, to submit their INDCs by the first quarter of 2015.

– Second, we need tangible progress in solidifying the climate finance regime. I call on countries that have not yet pledged to the Green Climate Fund to consider making an ambitious financial commitment in Lima. We must also clearly define a pathway to achieving the goal of $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of developing countries. I call on developed countries to mobilise support that will meet and exceed this target. Private finance is also vitally important. We must realise the $200 billion that was committed by the private finance sector at the September Climate Summit, and we must leverage still more.

– Third, we must prioritise providing adaptation support and resilience building for the most vulnerable, especially the least developed countries and small island developing states. The GCF must deliver on its promise to balance support for adaptation and mitigation. Work on loss and damage must be accelerated and we must bring the National Adaptation Plans of developing countries to life by agreeing how they should be funded and implemented.

– Fourth, I urge you to make a decision to stimulate and facilitate cooperation on a more comprehensive range of actions by all actors, including the private sector, civil society, cities and other sub-national actors. From moving markets to pricing carbon, from strengthening resilience to mobilising new coalitions – the race is on to build more climate resilient, prosperous societies. Government leadership is needed to create the frameworks that can drive action and advance our socioeconomic development goals. The realisation of a low carbon climate resilient future requires partnership with cities, citizens and CEOs.

– Fifth and finally, I urge those countries that have not yet done so to swiftly ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which established its second commitment period.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, last week, I launched my Synthesis report of the post-2015 development agenda. In it, I highlighted the fundamental linkage between climate and development priorities. Combating climate change is an essential part of the foundation of sustainable development. We cannot treat it as a separate issue, or we risk losing all the hard-won development gains of the past decades. Investments in addressing climate change will propel gains in broader development goals.

Conversely, investments made in development must be aligned with our climate aims. Just as climate issues are not separate from development issues – climate finance cannot be treated separately from development finance. They are quite literally two sides of the same coin. Let us speak with one voice. I call on each and every government to achieve and invest in this new climate agreement. I stand committed, and commit the United Nations system, to facilitate this.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, starting here in this historic city of Lima, let us start to write a new history for our planet. Let us work together to shape and advance a meaningful, universal agreement to be finalised in Paris next year. I wish you success in your deliberations.

Thank you.
 

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