One Hundred and Seventy Five (175) Member States of the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at a special Signature Ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.
Several world leaders participated in the signing ceremony and reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that the historic agreement was implemented for the benefit of the current and future generations.
Presiding over the Signature Ceremony in the General Assembly Hall, UN Secretary-General His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki Moon said climate action offers many benefits and could help eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.
“Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future,” Mr. Ban said.
He said climate action was essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We must intensify efforts to decarbonise our economies. We must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” Mr. Ban said.
Award-winning actor and UN Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, said: “it is time to declare no more talk. No more excuses. No more 10-year studies. No more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future. This is the only body that can do what is needed. The world is now watching. You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them.”
Out of the 175 countries that signed the Paris Agreement on Friday, at least 15 of them, mostly members of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Group, immediately deposited their instruments for ratification.
“Today is an historic day. This is by far the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day,” said Mr. Ban.
The Paris Agreement, adopted by the 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the capital of France Paris in December 2015, aims to limit global temperature rise to well below two (2) degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification.
Zambia UN Mission Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Ms. Christine Kalamwina, First Secretary (Legal) Mr. Kaswamu Katota and First Secretary (Press) Mr. Chibaula Silwamba attended the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Signature ceremony.
On Thursday Zambia participated in the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, convened by the President of the General Assembly. Addressing world leaders, Ms. Kalamwina said Zambia was committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and uplifting the wellbeing of its nationals.