UNITED NATIONS—On the sidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreement ceremony here today, where a record 167 countries will sign the historic document, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon joined five AOSIS representatives—Maldives, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau, and Grenada—as well as Canada, Norway, and Mali at a special event highlighting the countries that have already deposited their instruments of ratification.
The Secretary General said: “I warmly congratulate the 14 Parties that have deposited their instruments of ratification with the United Nations today….I want to make a point of recognizing each by name: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, St. Lucia, Mauritius Samoa and Somalia. Many of you are on the frontlines of climate impacts – and today you are showing that you are also on the frontlines of global leadership.”
The first four countries to ratify the agreement were all islands in an indication of the urgency they feel from the climate crisis.
“It is no accident that island nations have moved so expeditiously to ratify,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy for the Maldives and Chair of AOSIS.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in attendance added, “The United States absolutely intends to join this year, there is no question about it.”
With the impacts of climate change mounting by the day and global temperatures on track to exceed 3 degrees Celsius or higher it is essential to move quickly from ratification to the implementation of climate solutions, and go beyond the pledges made in Paris.
The speakers encouraged all countries to announce their timetables for ratification as soon as possible. The agreement stipulates that it needs to be approved by 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to come into force. It looks likely that could happen this year.
“I look forward to working with you to holding the international community to the commitments made in Paris and building a lasting legacy we can all be proud of,” said Minister Ibrahim.