UN chief urges leadership group to act swiftly in advancing climate resiliency


NEW YORK, NY – Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Leadership Group of Climate Resilience Initiative, in New York, today:

I am pleased to welcome you to this inaugural meeting of the Leadership Group of the Climate Resilience Initiative A2R. As Dr [David] Nabarro has explained, A2R stands for anticipate, absorb and reshape.

To strengthen climate resilience and achieve sustainable development, we need to better anticipate and act on climate hazards through early warning and early action. We need to increase the ability to absorb shocks by increasing insurance and social protection. And we need to reshape development to reduce risks at the national and international level.

Last year, the world adopted the Sendai Framework and the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Both signalled a consensus to scale up resilience to climate change. Just a few days ago, I convened a high-level meeting here at the United Nations to spur momentum for putting the Paris Agreement into force as soon as possible this year. The meeting was a great success. We now have 60 parties representing over 47.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We need just 7.5 per cent more to bring the Agreement into force. I am convinced that we can make it happen before the end of this year.

But, we have no time to lose. The global thermostat continues to rise. Each month brings new temperature records and more floods, droughts and extreme weather events. Vulnerability to climate risk continues to increase. This translates to greater humanitarian need and more economic losses.

The A2R initiative will help countries secure expertise and financial resources for strengthening climate resilience. Today’s launch of the Leadership Group establishes A2R’s place within the United Nations system. It brings together key Member States, United Nations actors, the philanthropic community and the private sector.

Your challenge is great and urgent. I urge you to act with speed and efficiency. My office will continue to support and provide visibility to your efforts. A secretariat led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together with the Leadership Group will make A2R operational by the end of this year.

I thank UNEP and FAO for embracing this vision and putting resources behind the initiative. I also thank Germany and the Netherlands for their support. And I welcome the engagement of the private sector, especially the insurance sector represented by the Insurance Development Forum.

Finally, I would like to underline the critical support and feedback from the African Group and the small island countries in shaping the initiative. I thank you all for your continued support and leadership. Your work is critical for sustainable development.

Thank you very much.