COP21: UN chief hails new climate change agreement as 'monumental triumph'

PARIS, 13th December, 2015 (WAM) -- Following the adoption of the new Paris Agreement on climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that government representatives have made history.

"The Paris Agreement is a monumental triumph for people and our planet," said Mr. Ban in a tweet, immediately following its adoption. "It sets the stage for progress in ending poverty, strengthening peace and ensuring a life of dignity and opportunity for all."

The French Foreign Minister and President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, announced the historic news which was greeted with loud applause and cheers.

For the first time today, 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and joined to take common climate action. This followed two weeks of tireless negotiations at the United Nations climate change conference, COP21.

The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of 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; and support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures.

"In the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership," the UN chief said taking the COP21 stage just minutes later. "You have worked collaboratively to achieve something that no one nation could achieve alone. This is a resounding success for multilateralism."

Recalling that he made climate change one of the defining priorities of his tenure as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban said that most of all, he has listened to people – the young, the poor and the vulnerable, including indigenous peoples, from every corner of the globe.

"They seek protection from the perils of a warming planet, and the opportunity to live in a safer, more bountiful world," he underlined. "They have demanded that world leaders act to safeguard their well-being and that of generations to come."

Turning to the agreement itself, the Secretary-General said negotiators reached "solid results on all key points," with an agreement that demonstrates solidarity and "is ambitious, flexible, credible and durable."

"All countries have agreed to hold global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and recognising the risk of grave consequences, you have further agreed to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees," he announced.

In addition, a review mechanism has been established whereby every five years, beginning in 2018, parties will regularly review what is needed in line with science.

"Governments have agreed to binding, robust, transparent rules of the road to ensure that all countries do what they have agreed across a range of issues," Mr. Ban added.

Ending his remarks, the UN chief said that all parties should be proud of the Paris Agreement and that "the work starts tomorrow. For today, congratulations again on a job well done," he concluded. "Let us work together, with renewed commitment, to make this a better world."

Addressing the hundreds of delegates, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, said "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," she exclaimed.

Several other top UN officials joined the Secretary-General in welcoming the new agreement.


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