A BETTER WORLD FOR EVERYONE

Abu Dhabi 2016 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, on taking action to combat climate change and seeking a better future.

Ban Ki Moon
BIOGRAPHY
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy, and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself. The Secretary General was born in the Republic of Korea on June 13th, 1944. He received a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a Master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At the time of his election as Secretary General, he was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington, DC, and Vienna. During this time he had responsibility for a variety of portfolios including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning, and Director-General of American Affairs.

The UN deeply appreciates the UAE for hosting the Abu Dhabi Action Day Sustainability Week and World Future Energy Summit. I thanked our hosts, particularly Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France, as COP21 President for their continued devotion and support on climate change and, more importantly, climate action. It is important that we have adopted the visionary sustainable development goals and also ambitious climate change agreement. This year is the first year of beginning implementation. We have been working closely together for the past year, and we are now riding a wave of momentum from the Paris conference to a new, great future. Today's panel discussions had leaders from all the sectors; we need to succeed.

Now, we have a landmark climate agreement with the potential for helping generations of people and our planet itself. This issue will define the 21st century. It is exciting to see everyone part of a global push to do something even bigger than the global agreement on climate change, namely to make it a reality. People should be able to feel it. That was the main purpose of our action day conference. This is the responsibility of every country, every economy, and every individual. Governments have developed national climate strategies. More and more countries know that climate action boosts the economy, creates jobs, strengthens security, and improves the air we breathe. That means a healthy and more prosperous future.

The Paris Agreement was adopted just after the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda; these are two plans for transforming progress. Sustainable development goals are the vision. Climate change is our commitment; this vision and commitment should go hand-in-hand. They are part of all our grand design. These should complement each other; if we do not implement a climate change agreement, none of these 17 goals will not be fully implemented. The direction of travel is clear. The leaders have set the path and it is very clear. The Paris agreement has a clear signal that the transformation of the global economy to lower emissions is inevitable and efficient and already under way. The shift away from fossil fuels must start immediately. Investment in clean energy has increased by 4% over the last two years. That translates into $329 billion. We need that number to double by 2020. This may seem like a huge challenge, but it should be doable in a world where a small number of billionaires have a net worth that equals half the world's wealth. Leaders from the private sector know that clean energy is a growth industry that is full of opportunity for huge returns. I call on governments, businesses, and investors to seize this opportunity. We can power the world on a path to low carbon, resilient growth. That will be the economic leaders of the 21st century, those that made their decision or failed to change will be on the losing side of our history. In the next 15 years, the period of the 2030 agenda, the world will invest trillions of dollars in infrastructure for cities, energy, and agriculture. Every decision on investment and resource allocation must be part of the solution and directed towards low-carbon, climate-resilient growth.
I urge governments to increase their ambitions even more, higher, and translate these plans into bankable investment projects as soon as possible. The actual agenda showcased in Paris provides a model for the PPPs we need to accelerate climate action. These partnerships must be scaled up exponentially. The UN will spearhead the response. We have already made financial waterlines and reserves. The UN stands ready to assist our member states in implementing the Paris outcomes and sustainable development goals. By working together, we can end poverty, strengthen peace, and issue a life of dignity and opportunity for all. We can protect our planet and all our people. We can secure the green future that we owe to our succeeding generations.