UNISDR head, Mr. Robert Glasser with Mr. Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu
NEW YORK, 24 April, 2016 - The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has hailed the mass signing of the Paris Agreement on climate as "an historic day" and urged "all countries to raise their level of ambition."
The head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, has congratulated the leaders of the 15 countries, mainly small island developing states, who have already ratified the Paris Agreement on climate.
“These 15 countries are among those who contribute least to climate change but are suffering the most. Their speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement should be an incentive to others to follow suit quickly and to do the maximum possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we are to limit global warming to 1.5ºC,” he said.
During the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, a record 175 States signed the Agreement. The following 15 States actually deposited instruments of ratification: Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia, and Tuvalu.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change enters into force 30 days after at least 55 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions, ratify the agreement. Countries, in their statements at the signing ceremony, also indicated their timetable for ratifying many aiming to conclude required domestic approval process this year.
The small island developing States came to New York already prepared and ready to go with their commitments to reduced carbon emissions and more renewable energy. According to the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the participation by so many countries and the attendance by so many world leaders leaves “no doubt” that the international community is determined to take climate action.
He also welcomed the strong presence of the private sector and civil society, saying they are “crucial to realizing the great promise of the Paris Agreement.” Small island developing States are on the frontline in terms of risks and exposure to climate change. The UN chief hosted a special meeting with SIDS to recognize their leadership in early ratification and to garner urgently needed support to these countries.
“For small island developing States combatting climate change is an imperative – they recognize the need for urgent action to address long term threats but have also taken measures to deal with the disaster risk they are already facing --- through improving early warning systems, disaster prepared and other measures identified in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” said Mr. Glasser, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction who attended the special meeting with the SIDS.
The Sendai Framework is the plan of action adopted by UN member States last year to reduce disaster losses. In their meeting with the Secretary General, and throughout the signing Ceremony, SIDS leaders put access to financing as a most urgent priority to support implementation.
“We, like many other regions of the world, also need insurance mechanisms to help us rebuild from disasters. I hope that we can get funding support from donors for a Pacific Islands Climate Change Insurance Facility, and I seek international support for such a facility” said Mr. Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu.
Of the 175 States which participated in the Ceremony, 31 participated at the level of Head of State, 2 participated at the level of Vice President; 24 participated at the level of Head of Government; 9 participated at the level of Deputy Prime Minister; 29 participated at the level of Minister for Foreign Affairs; 59 participated at the ministerial level; 1 participated at the level of former President; and 20 participated at the level of Permanent Representative.
The ceremony set a record for the most UN member States ever to sign an international agreement in one day, moreover on the first day that the agreement was opened for signature. The Paris Agreement includes mitigation efforts and targets to reduce carbon emissions and a global goal for adapting to climate change.
“The reduction of carbon emissions is the best way to reduce the risks of extreme climate events which now account for over 90 per cent of disasters linked to natural hazards”, said Mr. Glasser, who attended the signing ceremony. “The Paris Agreement on Climate Change along with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agreed in September 2015 represent the greatest opportunity for the world to build a carbon neutral, risk-informed, resilient and sustainable future”, he added.