United Nations, New York, USA, April 22 2016 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) speaks to the media following the Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. More than 165 Member States were expected to attend the signing ceremony, including an estimated 60 Heads of States and Heads of Governments, setting an all-time record for countries signing an international agreement on a single day. Mr. Ban is joined by (from left) Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs of France; François Hollande, President of France; and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
By Britta Schmitz
UNITED NATIONS, April 22 2016 – The UN is preparing for a historic moment: the signing
of the Paris Agreement on climate change. On Friday, April 22 world leaders will meet at the
UN Headquarters in New York to ceremonially finalize the historic outcome of COP21 with
their signatures. The signing is expected to be the largest UN treaty signing in history.
Representatives from more than 165 countries are expected at the UN Headquarters.
“The record number of countries set to sign the Paris Agreement in New York on April 22
signals the next step towards the Agreement coming into force and a critical juncture in a
global effort to ensure lasting hopes for secure and peaceful, human development,“ the
UNFCCC commented the upcoming signing.
The ceremony is framed by side-events, such as the High-Level Thematic Debate on
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was held at the UN on April 21.
The main purpose of this event is to increase international awareness around the
implementation of the SDGs.
“You, the global, political, business and civil society leaders can kick-start the SDG
implementation. You know how to make this transformation happen. Let’s make it happen,“
President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft said in his opening speech at the
Heads of States and Governments, as well as UN diplomats and civil society representatives
discussed how the implementation of the SDGs can be achieved, with special regard to goal
number 13, climate action.
“2030 and the middle of this century both seem far off today. But it is important that we
quickly implement the agreements we have made. The United Nations will have to prepare
for this and adjust its institutions to cope with changing demand,“ Barbara Hendricks,
German Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said at the
Li Baodong, Vice Foreign Minister and Chinese G20 Sherpa, said
“it is important to
remember that we are all in a community of shared interests, and we need to increase the
representation and voice of developing countries in global economic governance, improve
multilateral trading and investment systems, and help developing countries integrate into
global value chains and benefit from globalization through their own comparative
The global police organization INTERPOL, as a Permanent Observer to the UN, also had a
chance to speak at the event.
“INTERPOL fully welcomes the introductory remarks by the
President of the UN General Assembly, the Vice UN Secretary General, the Chair of the
UNGASS Board, and by many Member States mentioning the link between drugs and
organized crime, corruption as well as the link to human trafficking or terrorism. Building up
operational capacity and providing assistance to law enforcement to effectively tackle the
world drug problem must be done strategically and globally, combining frontline enforcement
and intelligence gathering.“
The Paris signing ceremony also coincides with the International Mother Earth Day, an
awareness day for the protection of Mother Nature. Environmental protection has a special
significance for Indigenous Peoples, as their livelihoods depend on a healthy environment.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an Indigenous Mbororo woman, was selected as a special
representative for Indigenous Peoples.
“You cannot talk about climate change without talking about the rights of Indigenous
Peoples,” Ibrahim said. “The Paris Agreement gives hope to all of those who are fighting for
these rights, but now it’s time to transform hope into concrete change.”
The 32-year-old woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community of Chad will speak at the
Paris signing ceremony on April 22.
Photo by: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire