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The European Parliament has approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union today.
With today’s European Parliament approval of the Paris Agreement ratification – in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of COP 21 Ségolène Royal – the last hurdle is cleared. The political process for the European Union to ratify the Agreement is concluded.
* President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union Speech on 14 September called for a swift ratification of the agreement.
He said: “Slow delivery on promises made is a phenomenon that more and more risks undermining the Union’s credibility. Take the Paris agreement. We Europeans are the world leaders on climate action. It was Europe that brokered the first-ever legally binding, global climate deal. It was Europe that built the coalition of ambition that made agreement in Paris possible. I call on all Member States and on this Parliament to do your part in the next weeks, not months. We should be faster.” Today this is happening.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union. Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”
The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European parliament has heard the voice of its people. The European Union is already implementing its own commitments to the Paris Agreement but today’s swift ratification triggers its implementation in the rest of the world.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground. And here Europe is ahead of the curve. We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernise our economy. The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change”.
So far, 62 parties, accounting for almost 52 % of global emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified. The EU ratification and deposit will cross the 55% emission threshold and therefore trigger the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.
The EU, which played a decisive role in building the coalition of ambition making the adoption of the Paris Agreement possible last December, is a global leader on climate action. The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU’s commitment to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.
With today’s approval by the European Parliament, the Council can formally adopt the Decision. In parallel the EU Member States will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their national parliamentary processes.
Conclusions of the Extraordinary Environmental Council from 30 September 2016:
Statement by the Commission following the Ministers approval of the ratification:
Commission’s proposal for the EU ratification of the Paris Agreement from June 2016:
Commission’s assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement for the EU from March 2016:
Speech by President Juncker at the Leaders Event of the COP21 in Paris:
Commission’s reaction following the historic climate deal in Paris on 12 December 2015:
Underscoring the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the president of Guyana highlighted that his country will continue to pursue a ‘green’ economy and will be a reliable and cooperative partner in international efforts to protect the earth’s environment.
“[Guyana] realizes that the establishment of a ‘green state’ is consistent with building climate resilience while mitigating the effects of climate change,” President David Granger said in his address on Tuesday morning.
“Guyana promises to work towards the  Agenda’s goals (SDGs), particularly, by contributing to limiting increases in global temperatures; and to work towards a ‘green path’ of development that is in accord with the [Paris] Agreement’s nationally-determined commitments,” he added.
Making specific reference to the importance of Goal 13 that calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact as well as the Paris Agreement’s obligation to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, the president informed the General Assembly that Guyana is developing a comprehensive emissions reduction programme as part of its responsibility to contribute to global solutions to the threat of climate change.
“However,” he stated, “all our efforts – nationally, regionally and globally – the advancement of development in an environment of peace and stability are being challenged by the territorial ambitions of our neighbour, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” referring to an “external assault on Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The president also hailed the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership of the organization and, especially, for his commitment to sustainable development that was illustrated in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement.
In conclusion, he stressed the importance of a collective commitment by the international community to collaborate with small states, including Guyana, to pursue a low-carbon, low-emission path to sustainable development and to constraining the rise in global temperature.
Credit: Caribbean News Now!
A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations. The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.
The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.
President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall
Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being in 2020.
The chairman of the group representing some of the world’s poorest countries called the deal historic, adding: “We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures.
“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall. Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being.
The measures in the agreement included:
• To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
• To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
• To review progress every five years
• $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
Analysis: The BBC’s Matt McGrath in Paris
The speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief. The influence of the COP president, Laurent Fabius, cannot be overstated. His long diplomatic career gave him a credibility seldom matched in this arena. He used his power well.
The deal that has been agreed, under Mr Fabius, is without parallel in terms of climate change or of the environment. It sets out a clear long term temperature limit for the planet and a clear way of getting there. There is money for poor countries to adapt, there is a strong review mechanism to increase ambition over time. This is key if the deal is to achieve the aim of keeping warming well below 2C.
More than anything though the deal signifies a new way for the world to achieve progress – without it costing the Earth. A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.
Ahead of the deal being struck, delegates were in a buoyant mood as they gathered in the hall waiting for the plenary session to resume.
Mr Fabius was applauded as he entered the hall ahead of the announcement.
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande called the proposals unprecedented, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on negotiators to “finish the job”.
Some aspects of the agreement will be legally binding, such as submitting an emissions reduction target and the regular review of that goal.
However, the targets set by nations will not be binding under the deal struck in Paris.
Observers say the attempt to impose emissions targets on countries was one of the main reasons why the Copenhagen talks in 2009 failed.
At the time, nations including China, India and South Africa were unwilling to sign up to a condition that they felt could hamper economic growth and development.
The latest negotiations managed to avoid such an impasse by developing a system of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
In these, which form the basis of the Paris agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, nations outline their plans on cutting their post-2020 emissions.
An assessment published during the two-week talks suggested that the emission reductions currently outlined in the INDCs submitted by countries would only limit global temperature rise by 2.7C.
Nick Mabey, chief executive of climate diplomacy organisation E3G, said the agreement was an ambitious one that would require serious political commitment to deliver.
“Paris means governments will go further and faster to tackle climate change than ever before,” he said. “The transition to a low carbon economy is now unstoppable, ensuring the end of the fossil fuel age.”
UN climate conference 30 Nov – 11 Dec 2015
The Secretary-General said: “I am heartened by the significant and growing coalitions that are emerging to tackle the challenges of climate change and realize new opportunities. I am pleased to be joined by so many key partners to scale climate action efforts and make them sustainable.”
The Secretary-General, joined by the World Bank; the Global Environment Facility; the Compact of Mayors and Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; We Mean Business; and the University of Maryland, will co-sponsor a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities and localities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 in Washington, D.C.
This high-level gathering will complement ongoing implementation efforts and catalyze actionable, concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, including: cities; land use; resilience; energy; transport; tools for decision makers; and finance.
Source: UNFCC Newsroom
“Combatting climate change, promoting sustainable development and addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS will demand partnership, capacity and leadership,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who recalled that the SAMOA Pathway is here “to guide us.”
Last year’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa increased global attention on their contributions to sustainable development – but also on their unique vulnerabilities, Mr. Ban reminded to the Council members, who were meeting for an unprecedented debate about the situation of these countries.
From traditional armed conflict to transnational crime and piracy, illicit exploitation of natural resources, climate change and climate-related natural disasters and uneven development, small island developing States face a range of peace and security challenges, according to the concept note provided by New Zealand, which holds the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for the month of July.
Caribbean SIDS, for example, are vulnerable to drug-trafficking and gang-related violence, noted the Secretary-General, while unreported and unregulated fishing undermine local economies. Through its Maritime Crime Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is actively engaged to help these countries in these areas.
“Taken together with the broader vulnerabilities faced by many of these States communities, these challenges can disproportionately affect national stability, fuel conflict across regions and ultimately have an impact on the maintenance of international peace and security,” adds the Security Council concept note.
For the Secretary-General, the first priority must be to support these States in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“Second, we need a post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals that address the needs of SIDS,” he continued.
At the recent Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, which took place from July 13 to 16, it was encouraging that the concerns of [that group of countries] were reflected, including in critical areas such as debt, trade, technology and Official Development Assistance, Mr. Ban noted.
“Third, we need a meaningful and universal global climate agreement in Paris in December,” stressed the UN chief, as small island developing States are on the front lines of climate change.
“Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu is only the latest in a long string of devastation that SIDS have endured and will continue to endure as long as climate change is not adequately addressed,” he warned, underscoring that Caribbean countries sometimes experience as many as five hurricanes in a season.
Rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters exacerbate the conditions leading to community displacement and migration, threatening to increase tensions over resources and affect domestic and regional stability, the Secretary-General went on to say.
“Leading by example,” many of these countries have been accelerating their own transition to renewable energy to secure a sustainable energy future. But, to support SIDS in their actions to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts, “a politically credible trajectory for mobilizing the pledged $100 billion dollars per year by 2020” is needed, he explained.
The Green Climate Fund will need to be up and running before the Climate Conference in Paris in December, but a “meaningful, universal climate agreement” must be adopted, concluded the Secretary-General.
Credit: UN News Centre
With four new ratifications in the last week, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization has received 66% of the necessary ratifications, with only 17 more ratifications needed for it to enter into force. Ratifications by Guyana, Hungary, Kenya and Vietnam bring to 33 the total number of ratifications to the ground-breaking treaty under the umbrella of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
“These ratifications by Guyana, Hungary, Kenya and Vietnam suggest the momentum is rapidly building towards entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol in time for the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention, to be hosted by the Republic of Korea in October 2014,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “It is important that we maintain and quicken this pace of ratifications, as the early entry into force of the Protocol will also mean achieving Aichi Target 16. I encourage all countries that have yet to do so to take the necessary steps needed to ratify the Protocol.”
Guyana becomes the first Caribbean state; Hungary the first European Union member state and second Central and Eastern Europe state; Kenya the second African mega-diverse country and fourteenth African state; and, Vietnam the twelfth Asian country, to ratify the Nagoya Protocol. Their support underlines the global recognition of the importance of this instrument for obtaining access to genetic resources and for sharing benefits arising from their use.
The Nagoya Protocol will enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Guyana, Hungary, Kenya and Vietnam join Albania, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mauritius, Mexico, the Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Panama, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa, the Syrian Arab Republic and Tajikistan are the countries that have ratified or acceded to the landmark treaty so far.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as part of his message for the 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity called “on all Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity who have not already done so, to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, and therefore help us all to work toward the future we want.” His statement of support follows on his letter to all Heads of State/Government highlighting the valuable contribution that the Protocol can make to sustainable development and urging ratification at the earliest opportunity so that the international community can move to the implementation phase.
In a January 2014 joint letter addressed to all CBD Parties, M. Veerappa Moily, COP 11 President and Minister of Environment and Forests, India, and CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias expressed the hope that countries could finalize their internal processes towards the ratification or accession of the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible but no later than 7 July 2014.
Earlier, a December 2013 United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/RES/68/214) invited Parties to the Convention to ratify or accede to the Nagoya Protocol so as to ensure its early entry into force and implementation.
Further information on how to become a Party to the Protocol is available at: http://www.cbd.int/abs/becomingparty/
The Nagoya Protocol was adopted at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, and significantly advances the objective of the Convention on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources by providing greater legal certainty and
transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources. By promoting the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, and by strengthening the opportunities for fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their use, the Protocol will create incentives to conserve biodiversity, sustainably use its components, and further enhance the contribution of biodiversity to sustainable development and human well-being.
The full text of the Nagoya Protocol is available at: http://www.cbd.int/abs/doc/protocol/nagoya-protocol-en.pdf
The list of signatories of the Nagoya Protocol is available at: http://www.cbd.int/abs/nagoyaprotocol/signatories/
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 193 Parties up to now, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety is a subsidiary agreement to the Convention. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 166 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal. For more information visit: www.cbd.int.
For additional information, please contact: David Ainsworth on +1 514 287 7025 or at
firstname.lastname@example.org; or Johan Hedlund on +1 514 287 6670 or at email@example.com
Credit: United Nations Decade on Biodiversity
Today is the International Day of Forests. This historic United Nations General Assembly designation is “to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests”.
For centuries forests have been a source of food, fibre, livelihoods, resources and water. They are also central to combating climate change, but until today, and despite a multitude of special days honouring or commemorating key elements of human life, there has never been a globally recognized day for paying homage to the world’s forests.
In a message for the new International Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “By proclaiming the International Day of Forests, the United Nations has created a new platform to raise awareness about the importance of all types of forest ecosystems to sustainable development.”
Learn more about our work to improve forests across the Caribbean here (search using relevant terms as you would in Google).
Here’s a sample of what we have done… Morne Diablotin National Park: Improved Management Plan 2011-2016 and Morne Trois Pitons National Park World Heritage Site: Improved Management Plan.
**Source: United Nations Press Release. Read more…