Paris Agreement: Ban Ki-moon to host leaders on 21 Sept.


By Kayode Aboyeji

Ahead of the high-level event slated for New York on 21 September, countries are accelerating efforts to join the Paris Agreement on climate change at a special event to be hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“We must put the aspirations of Paris into action,” the Secretary-General said. “We have no time to waste, and much to gain, from the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entering into force this year. To build further momentum, I have asked leaders to come to New York with their instruments of ratification or to publicly commit to joining the agreement before the end of 2016.”

The 21 September high-level event will advance efforts to secure early entry into force of the Paris Agreement by providing an opportunity for countries to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the agreement with the Secretary-General, as stipulated in the agreement.

The event will also recognize those countries that have joined the agreement since the 22 April signing ceremony.   The event will further recognize countries that have committed to join the agreement in 2016, but because of the need to finalize domestic processes, cannot deposit their instruments on 21 September.

To date, 27 countries accounting for 39.08 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have officially joined the Paris Agreement. Efforts to join the agreement have accelerated since   China and the United States officially joined the Agreement on 3 September by presenting their documents to the Secretary-General at a ceremony prior to the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

The Paris 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 or acceptance with the Secretary-General.

In April, 175 countries signed the agreement—a record for one day—at a signing ceremony in New York. The final step in the process is for countries to join the agreement at the national level and deposit their legal instruments with the Secretary-General.

“With the Paris Agreement,” the Secretary-General said, “the world has an equitable, durable yet flexible global framework for reducing emissions, strengthening climate resilience and providing support to developing countries to build low-carbon economies and adapt to inevitable climate impacts.”

The 21 September event will take place in the General Assembly Hall from 8-9 a.m.  The event will be open to the press (deadline for media accreditation is 9 September) and a limited number of seats will be available for civil society.

The Paris Climate Agreement, adopted by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December in Paris, calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

The Paris Agreement marked a watershed moment in taking action on climate change.  After years of negotiation, countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Even as the agreement was adopted, countries recognized that present pledges to reduce emissions were still insufficient to reach these goals.  The Paris Agreement mandates regular meetings every five years, starting in 2018, to review progress and to consider whether it is necessary to increase ambition.