The Paris Agreement to address climate change, adopted by world leaders last December at the Climate Conference in Paris (COP21), officially entered into force on 4 November. To commemorate this historic day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited representatives of civil society organizations to a 45-minute meeting with him at UN Headquarters in New York. This meeting provided civil society groups with the opportunity to share with the Secretary-General how their organizations will contribute to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, as well as their visions and concerns. The Executive Office of the Secretary-General, UN-NGLS New York, and UN DPI co-organized the meeting, with support from DGACM, UN Interpretation Service, UN Broadcast and Conference Support Section, UN Web TV, and UN Meetings Management.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Secretary-General expressed, "I am deeply grateful to all of you and your organizations, representing billions of people. At a time when civil society is under attack in so many parts of the world, you have shown that citizens groups are essential partners for progress. Your vision, courage, persistence and leadership made this day happen. Thank you all so much."
11 civil society representatives spoke during the session, moderated by Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. The meeting enabled seven of the civil society speakers to participate from around the world via live videoconference, telephone, and pre-recorded video statements.
Welcoming Remarks by Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change
Introductory remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Ms. Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director, US Climate Action Network (on behalf of CAN-International)
Via live videoconference: Ms. Andrea Nava, Plant for the Planet - Guatemala
Ms. Angie Fyfe, Executive Director, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Via live videoconference: Dr. Emad Adly, General Coordinator, Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED)
Ms. Naomi Ages, Climate Liability Campaigner, Greenpeace
Via telephone: Ms. Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid - Bangladesh
Mr. John D. Sterman, Senior Advisor, Climate Interactive; Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of MIT's System Dynamics Group
- Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
- Ms. Alina Saba, Researcher, Mugal Indigenous Women's Upliftment Institute, Nepal
- Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International
- Ms. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Instructor, College of the Marshall Islands & Co-Director, Jo-Jikum
Closing remarks by the Secretary-General
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded the event with a long, unscripted, personal sharing which is well worth watching at the video link above.