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Biographical notes

Donald Bobiash (BA [Political Science], University of Saskatchewan, 1980; Laval University, 1982; certificate, Ecole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature, Senegal, 1983; MA [Industrial Relations and Personnel Management], London School of Economics, 1984; DPhil [International Relations], Oxford University, 1989). Mr. Bobiash is a Rhodes Scholar and has received the Commonwealth and Rotary International graduate scholarships. He worked for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Finance from 1980 to 1981 and as a part-time consultant to Oxford Analytica Daily Brief and the International Development Research Centre from 1986 to 1988. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1989. His first overseas assignment was as second secretary in the Canadian high commission to Pakistan, where he served from 1990 to 1992. From 1996 to 2000, he served as counsellor and consul in the embassy to Japan. He was appointed high commissioner to Ghana and ambassador to Togo in 2004. From 2006 to 2009, he was deputy head of mission in Tokyo and from 2013 to 2016, ambassador to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. At Headquarters, his first assignment was with the Francophone Affairs Division in 1989; he transferred to the South America Relations Division in 1990. From 1992 to 1994, he served in the Economic Relations with Developing Countries Division. He served as deputy director of the South Asia Division in 2000 and as deputy director of the Policy Planning Division in 2001. From 2002 to 2004, he was director of the Southeast Asia Division. In 2009, he was named director general for Africa. He is married to Teresa Rozkiewicz, and they have two children, Ariane and Catherine.

Ian Burney (BA Hons [Political Science], McGill University, 1985; MA [International Relations], University of Toronto, 1986) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. Abroad, Mr. Burney served as third and second secretary at the embassy in Bangkok from 1989 to 1991 and as consul and senior trade commissioner at the consulate general in Ho Chi Minh City from 1995 to 1997. In Ottawa, he was seconded as a policy analyst to the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat in the Privy Council Office from 1993 to 1995. At Headquarters, he has occupied a number of positions in the United States, Asia Pacific and trade policy branches. He served as the director of the Trade Controls Policy Division from 1999 to 2002, director of the Trade Remedies Division from 2002 to 2004, director general of the Bilateral and Regional Trade Policy Bureau from 2004 to 2006 and as chief trade negotiator (bilateral and regional) in the Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch from 2006 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Burney served as assistant deputy minister of the International Business Development, Investment and Innovation Branch and from 2011 to 2015, as assistant deputy minister, trade agreements and negotiations. Mr. Burney received the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada. In July 2015, he was appointed assistant secretary to the cabinet for economic and regional development policy, in the Privy Council Office. Mr. Burney is married and has four children.

Perry Calderwood (BA Hons [Soviet and East European Studies], Carleton University, 1983; MA [International Affairs], Carleton University, 1986) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1986. During his time at Headquarters, he was the director for Eastern and Southern Africa and deputy to the personal representative of the prime minister for Africa (2004 to 2007), deputy director of the United Nations and Commonwealth Affairs Division (1998 to 2000), and also served in the Arms Control and Disarmament Division (1989 to 1992). He served overseas at missions including New York City, Bogotá, Moscow, Buenos Aires and Pretoria. He was ambassador to Venezuela (2007 to 2010) and to Senegal (2010 to 2013) and high commissioner to Nigeria (2013 to 2016).

Heather Cameron (BA Hons [Political Science], Carleton University, 1987; MA [Public Policy], King’s College London, 2009) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990 and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1992. During her career, she has had a number of assignments in the Africa and Middle East Bureau, including as director of the pan-African and Francophonie programs. She has also served as director of strategic initiatives (2009 to 2012) and director of the Human Development and Gender Equality Division (2012 to 2013). Since 2013, she has been the senior director of the Haiti and Dominican Republic Division. Overseas assignments include the high commission in Harare, Zimbabwe (1992 to 1996), where she was responsible for regional humanitarian affairs, and the high commission in Maputo, Mozambique (2004 to 2007), where she served as counsellor and director (development).

Janice Charette (BA [Commerce], Carleton University, 1984) served as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet from October 2014 to January 2016. She was appointed Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet in January 2013 and deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet in November 2010. Her previous positions in the public service include senior assistant deputy minister for policy at the Department of Justice Canada (1999 to 2001); assistant secretary to Cabinet for priorities and planning (2001 to 2002), and deputy secretary to the Cabinet for planning and consultations (2002 to 2003), both in the Privy Council Office; associate deputy minister at Health Canada (2003 to 2004); deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2004 to 2006); and deputy minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada as well as chairperson of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (2006 to 2010). Ms. Charette was director of the transition team for the newly formed Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 1998 and principal at Ernst & Young LLP from 1995 to 1997. She is married to Reg Charette, and they have two adult children, Jed and Cassie.

Antoine Chevrier (BA [Economics], Laval University, 1993; MA [International Relations], Laval University, 1996) started working with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1997. At Headquarters, he was director of the Haiti Bilateral Development Program, as well as director of the transition team in charge of amalgamating CIDA with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in 2013. In 2014, he was appointed director general of the Geographic Coordination and Mission Support Bureau. He has served abroad in positions including, from 2009 to 2013, director of the development program at the Canadian embassy to Peru and Bolivia. From 2002 to 2006 he assumed various functions, including chief of staff in the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development at the Organization of American States, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Chevrier is married to Catherine Vézina; they have a daughter, Philomène.

Chris Cooter (BA Hons [Political Science], University of Toronto, 1981; MA [Political Science], Columbia University, 1982; BCL, LLB [Common/Civil Law], McGill University, 1986) was an associate at Campney & Murphy, a Vancouver law firm (1987 to 1989), then acting manager of lands for the British Columbia region of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (1989 to 1990). He joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990. He served abroad as deputy permanent representative to the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO, as political officer in the Canadian high commissions to India and Kenya and as high commissioner to Nigeria. At Headquarters, he served as director of the Policy Planning division and of the Southeast Europe division. He served as director general responsible for the amalgamation of the Canadian International Development Agency and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Most recently, he was director general of the Executive Management and Assignments Division. He has two children, Zoe and Anais.

Jennifer Daubeny (BA [International Relations], University of British Columbia, 1984; MPA, University of Victoria, 1990) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1988. She was posted as a trade commissioner to the Canadian embassy in Prague (1990 to 1993), and in 1995 she opened and headed Canada’s first consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she served for three years. She served as senior trade commissioner at Canada’s high commission in London (2009 to 2013). At Headquarters she has held positions in the International Financial and Investment Affairs, Agricultural Trade Policy, Caribbean and Central America Relations, Technical Barriers and Regulations, and U.S. Transboundary divisions. She also served as director of the Middle East and Africa Commercial Relations Division (2007 to 2009) and  Investor Services Division, responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to Canada (2013 to 2014). Her most recent position was director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Division. She and her partner David Springgay have two sons, Alex and Eric.

Lise Filiatrault (BSc [Biology], Université du Québec à Montréal, 1983; Graduate Studies Diploma in International Development and Cooperation, University of Ottawa, 1989) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990 as a foreign service officer. Previously, she served in Cameroon with Centre d’études et de coopération internationale and worked with Crossroads International in Montréal. Ms. Filiatrault served in Georgetown, Guyana (1992 to 1994); in Santiago, Chile (1996 to 2000); and in Havana, Cuba (2002 to 2005). Ms. Filiatrault also held various positions at the Canadian International Development Agency, such as director of the Middle East Program (2005 to 2008), regional director general of the Europe, Middle East and Maghreb Directorate (2009 to 2010) and regional director general of the Americas Directorate (2010 to 2013). At Headquarters, she was assistant deputy minister for the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch (2013 to 2016). Ms. Filiatrault and her spouse Richard Boisvert have two daughters, Frédérique and Gabrielle.

Emi Furuya (BA Hons [Political Science specialization, French Literature major], University of Toronto, 1996; MA [Political Science], University of Toronto, 1997) worked as a consultant for the Canadian International Development Agency, specializing in democratization and good governance before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. Ms. Furuya has served abroad as political counsellor at the embassy in Paris (2006 to 2010), as second secretary (political) at the embassy in Tokyo (2000 to 2003) and as junior adviser at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York City (1999). In Ottawa, she has worked on Commonwealth affairs; managed peace support operations, including security sector policy and deployments; and served as deputy director for the department’s international assistance envelope and international financial institutions division. She has also served as deputy director for the G7 and G20 summits, as director of the Office of the Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and, most recently, as executive director of the Office of the Deputy Minister of International Development. Ms. Furuya and her spouse have two sons.

Carla Hogan Rufelds (BSc [Forestry], University of New Brunswick, 1983) joined the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in January 1995. During her time at Headquarters, Ms. Hogan Rufelds was a senior program officer and forestry adviser for the Asia Branch (1995 to 1999) and the manager for policy and strategic planning in the Canadian Partnership Branch (2003 to 2008). She served as director for sustainable economic growth, food security and environment in the Strategic Policy and Performance Branch and the Global Issues and Development Branch (2008 to 2014). More recently, Ms. Hogan Rufelds was the director of strategic planning and operations for the Latin America and Caribbean region (2014 to 2016). She served abroad in Kathmandu at the Office of the Canadian Embassy and at CIDA’s Canadian Cooperation Office as the Canadian representative (1999 to 2003). She also worked abroad in Rome as a forestry officer in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1990 to 1993). Ms. Hogan Rufelds is married to Dan Hogan and has two children, Liam and Sylva.

Masud Husain (BA, Laval University, 1988; LLB, McGill University, 1991) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991. He was desk officer in the Legal Advisory Division (1995 to 1997). He was deputy director of the Oceans and Environmental Law Division (1999 to 2002) and of the Criminal, Security and Treaty Law Division (2003 to 2006). He was later executive director of the Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division (2013 to 2016). In his overseas positions, he was posted to Amman as the political officer responsible for Iraq (1992 to 1995). He served in Damascus as head of the Political Section (1997 to 1999). In The Hague, he served as counsellor in the Political Section (2005 to 2009). He served as minister-counsellor and political coordinator in the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York (2009 to 2013). Most recently, he was director general of the Middle East and Maghreb Bureau. He is married to Laila El Fenne, and they have two children, Omar and Lalla Miriem.

Ping Kitnikone (BA [Pacific Studies and Economics], University of Victoria, 1991; MPA, University of Victoria, 1994) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1994. During her time at Headquarters, Ms. Kitnikone has worked in the International Financial Institutions Division, the Policy Development and Integration Division,  the North Asia Commercial Relations Division and, most recently, at the Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management (2014 to 2016). Postings overseas have included Beijing, Taipei and Bangkok (with concurrent accreditation to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar). In 2004, she was appointed consul general in Mumbai. Ms. Kitnikone and her spouse, Jean-Stéphane Couture, have two children.

Marie Legault (BA [Political Science], University of Geneva, 1988; MA [International Relations], Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland, 1991) joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 1996. At Headquarters, she served as director, Central America Division (2006 to 2008) and director of programming, Haiti Division (2014 to 2016). Ms. Legault also served in the Privy Council Office in the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat (2002 to 2005). Abroad, she was posted to the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, serving as head of the Cooperation Program (2010 to 2014). Ms. Legault is widowed and has one child, a daughter, Alexa.

Matthew Levin (BA, University of Manitoba, 1975; MA [International Economics], Monterey Institute of International Studies, California, 1984) was most recently director general of Global Affairs Canada’s Europe-Eurasia Bureau. He was previously director of operations at the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, and served as ambassador to Colombia, from 2005 to 2008, and to Cuba, from 2010 to 2013. After joining the Department of External Affairs in 1986, Mr. Levin served abroad in Washington as economic counsellor and in Moscow as deputy head of mission. At Headquarters, Mr. Levin’s assignments also include two years as chief of staff to two deputy ministers. Prior to joining the department, Mr. Levin taught English literature at the University of Milan and worked for Amnesty International in Canada. He is married to Rosalba Imbrogno Levin. They have three adult children.

Deborah Lyons (BSc Hons [Biology], University of New Brunswick; certificate, National Defence College) was a successful small business owner for seven years prior to joining the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1983. In 1986, Ms. Lyons joined the Privy Council Office as a senior policy analyst. From 1987 to 1999, Ms. Lyons worked with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), first as director for business networks, then as director of policy and planning and later as director of trade and technology. During her time with ACOA, she briefly left, joining the Department of National Defence to attend National Defence College. In 1999, Ms. Lyons joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and was assigned to Tokyo as a counsellor for high-tech industries. She returned to Ottawa in 2004 to become director for international finance and then director general of the North America Commercial Bureau. In 2009, she was promoted to assistant deputy minister for policy and planning and filled the new position of chief strategy officer. She was deputy head of mission at the embassy in Washington, D.C., from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, she was appointed ambassador to Afghanistan.

Peter MacDougall (BA [Political Science], University of British Columbia, 1988; BSW, University of Victoria, 1992; MSW, McGill University, 1998; MA [International Relations], Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2014; Diploma, École nationale d’administration, Strasbourg, 2014) worked in the non-profit sector prior to joining Health Canada in 2000. Following senior analyst and manager positions at Health Canada, Canadian Heritage, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Mr. MacDougall became director of HRSDC’s Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative in 2004. In 2006, he became director of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Relations at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). He subsequently was director general, Admissibility Policy, and director general, Refugee Affairs, at CIC before joining the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat at the Privy Council Office in 2011 as director of operations. Since January 2015, Mr. MacDougall has been the assistant secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy. He is married to Rachel Aslan and they have four children.

Ian Myles (BSc [International Development], University of Toronto, 1991; MSc [Natural Resource and Environmental Economics], University of Guelph, 2000) joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 2000 after seven years working with various non-governmental organizations in Canada and Latin America. During his time at Headquarters, he has worked as an environment specialist in Africa Branch (2000 to 2008), director of strategic analysis and operations for Southern and Eastern Africa (2011 to 2014) and senior director for the Panafrica and Regional Program (2014 to 2015). His overseas positions include deputy director of the development program (2008 to 2010) and then senior director and head of cooperation (2010 to 2011) at Canada’s high commission to Ghana. Since August 2015, Mr. Myles has been senior director and head of cooperation at the high commission to Tanzania. He is married and has two sons.

Jeff Nankivell (BA Hons [International Relations], University of Toronto, 1986; MSc with distinction [Political Sociology], London School of Economics and Political Science, 1988) joined the foreign service in 1988. Mr. Nankivell served in various capacities with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): at Headquarters, he worked as a development officer with the China Division (1988 to 1989)a country analyst with the Russia Division (1995 to 1998), as a senior program manager for the World Bank Group in the International Financial Institutions Division (1998 to 2000), as director of the Strategic Policy Division in the Policy Branch (2004 to 2006) and as director of the China and Northeast Asia Division (2006 to 2008). Mr. Nankivell was also posted to the embassy in Beijing on several occasions, serving as first secretary (1991 to 1995), counsellor (2000 to 2002), as head of the Development Section (2000 to 2004) and as minister and deputy head of mission (2008 to 2011). In August 2011, Mr. Nankivell returned to CIDA Headquarters to serve as director general of the Asia Bureau. In 2013, he became director general of development programming for the Asia Pacific Branch at DFATD. Mr. Nankivell is married to Alison Nankivell. They have two sons, Sam and Alex.

Olivier Nicoloff (BA [Political Science], McGill University, 1978; MA [International Relations], Laval University, 1982) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. At Headquarters, he worked in the Human Resources Directorate (1991 to 1993) and held the position of coordinator of the Anti-personnel Mine Action Team (1999 to 2002). Overseas, he served in Abidjan (1988 to 1989), Dakar (1989 to 1991), Tunis (1993 to 1996), Moscow (1996 to 1999) and Prague (2002 to 2006). Upon his return to Ottawa, he served as director of the Intergovernmental Relations Division (2006 to 2009), of the Democracy, Commonwealth and La Francophonie Division (2009 to 2012) and of the European Union and Europe Bilateral and Institutional Relations Division (2012 to 2016). Mr. Nicoloff is married to Isabelle Guévin, and they have two adult children, Raphaël and Catherine.

Patrick Parisot (CGE [Business Management], HEC Montréal, 1976; BSp Rel Hum [Psychology of Communications], University of Quebec at Montréal, 1979; BA [Political Science], University of Quebec at Montréal, 1984; CIJ [Information and Journalism], University of Montréal, 1987) has been an independent public relations and communications professional since 2011. He was principal secretary to the leader of the Official Opposition (2010 to 2011) and served as press secretary and special policy adviser in the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Office of the Prime Minister (1993 to 2001). He has served as ambassador to Algeria (2007 to 2010), Portugal (2003 to 2007) and Chile (2001 to 2003). He and his spouse, Carmen Altamirano, have three sons.

Donica Pottie (BA [Asian Studies], St. Mary’s University, 1985) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991. She was third and second secretary at the embassy in China (1993 to 1996), served in assignments at the embassy in Jordan as head of the political section (1999 to 2002) and was ambassador to Cambodia (2004 to 2007). She was the director of several divisions: Democracy and Governance Policy (2007 to 2010), Development Policy and Institutions (2012 to 2013) and Peace Operations and Fragile States Policy (2013 to 2015). In 2015, she became director general of consular operations. She is married to Scot Slessor, and they have a daughter, Sophie.

Isabelle Poupart (LLB, University of Montréal, 1992; LLM [International Law], University of Montréal, 1994) joined the Quebec Bar in 1993 and worked as a lawyer prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1995. At Headquarters, she worked in the Legal Bureau and in the International Economic Relations and Summits and the Defence and Security Relations divisions. Her first assignment abroad was at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York. She also worked for the Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. She served twice at the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO in Brussels—the second time as head of the Political Section. Upon her return to Ottawa, she worked as senior adviser to the assistant deputy minister for Global Issues, Strategic Policy and Europe. Most recently, she was ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the OSCE. She is married to Reinhard Bettzuege, and they have a daughter.

Barbara Richardson (BA, University of Alberta, 1972) began her career at the University of Calgary in 1974 and entered the public service in 1984, working with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Alberta and the Northwest Territories and with Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s International Region. She joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1989. She has had assignments in the Philippines, as well as in Kenya, where she served as political counsellor and deputy head of mission (with accreditation to Burundi, Eritrea, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda) and as deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. In 2005, she was appointed high commissioner to Bangladesh and, in 2008, ambassador to Zimbabwe and Angola and high commissioner to Botswana. Since her return to Canada in 2011, she has worked as director general for consular operations, director general for mission operations and client relations and, most recently, as the department’s inspector general. She has one adult son.

Ulric Shannon (BA Hons [History and Political Science], McGill University, 1997; MA [International Relations], Graduate Diploma in Security Studies, York University, 1998) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. In Ottawa, he has served as director of the Media Relations Office. He also served as the executive assistant to the assistant deputy minister for global and security policy and as a desk officer in both the Regional Security and Peacekeeping Division and the Eastern and Southern Africa Division. Abroad, Mr. Shannon has served as a political and public affairs officer in Cairo, senior political officer in Ramallah and first secretary in Islamabad. He was awarded the department’s foreign-language fellowship to pursue advanced studies in Arabic from 2012 to 2013, and during that time he also served as Canada’s first representative to the Syrian opposition. Most recently, Mr. Shannon was based in Istanbul as country director for ARK, a stabilization consultancy. He is married to Robin Wettlaufer.

Phyllis Yaffe (BA, University of Manitoba, 1969; BLS, University of Alberta, 1972; MSc [Library Science], University of Toronto, 1976) has had a distinguished career in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Yaffe has served as chair of the board of Cineplex Entertainment, lead director of Torstar Corporation and as a member of the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment and Blue Ant Media. A former board member of Astral Media, for many years she served as a senior officer, and ultimately as chief executive officer, of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. At Alliance Atlantis, Ms. Yaffe oversaw worldwide operations, including Canadian specialty-television channels, international television distribution business and the popular CSI television franchise. Ms. Yaffe has also served as chair of the board of governors of Ryerson University, of the Ontario Science Centre board and of Women Against Multiple Sclerosis. She also served on the World Wildlife Fund board and was executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Ms. Yaffe has earned a long list of awards, including an induction into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2007.

News

Secretary-General Hails History-Making Ceremony as World Leaders from 175 Countries Sign Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Day-long Event Sees 14 States Parties to Treaty Deposit Ratification Instruments

World leaders from 175 countries gathered at United Nations Headquarters today for the official signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the historic accord reached last December, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling upon all States to quickly sign up to the treaty so it could enter into force as soon as possible.

“The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” said Secretary-General Ban as he opened the high-level signature ceremony in the General Assembly Hall.  Climate action could help eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.  However, the window for keeping global temperature rise below 2°C, let alone 1.5°, was closing and intensified efforts were needed to decarbonize economies, he said.

Noting that today’s event had made history, he said it had involved the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day.  Among them were the following 14 States parties that deposited their ratification instruments:  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa and Somalia, as well as the State of Palestine.  The treaty must find expression in actions taken on behalf of the current generation and all future generations, the Secretary-General said.  “Young people are our future.  Our covenant is with them.”

Following his remarks, Getrude Clement, a youth leader from the United Republic of Tanzania who spoke on behalf of children, said they would feel the effects of climate change most acutely.  “This is not the future we want for ourselves,” she emphasized.  “We expect action, action on a big scale, and we expect action today, not tomorrow.”

In a similar vein General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark) pressed Member States to take bold steps to make that transformation happen now.  Among others, he congratulated the leaders of France and Peru — Presidents of the two previous climate conferences — for having shepherded a remarkable breakthrough.

President François Hollande of France said that in the run-up to the Paris Agreement, important steps had been taken by Governments, business, local leaders, civil society and ordinary citizens.  And yet, since agreement on the treaty, temperatures continued to rise and disasters had occurred, including the cyclone that had devastated Fiji, spreading drought in Africa, the shrinking of Lake Chad, and rising sea levels that threatened small islands with disappearance under the waves.

On that point, Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga of Tuvalu lamented that an average of 62,000 people were displaced due to climate change each day, a staggering figure that should ring alarm bells.  He called for an Assembly resolution establishing a legal protection system for people displaced by climate change.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil said that developing countries like her own had achieved significant emission reductions and taken on even more ambitious targets.  She called for increasing climate financing beyond the annual $100 billion commitment, saying that international financial flows must be permanently reoriented to support measures that would facilitate solutions.

President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking for the least developed countries, said that category had been among the most progressive during the climate negotiations, with 47 of them having communicated their intended nationally determined contributions, although such efforts were not mandatory.

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of China said that, as a responsible, major developing country, whose people owned their commitments, China would work earnestly to implement the Paris Agreement, notably by early accession to the treaty.  The Government of China would finalize the domestic legal accession procedures before the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in September, he said.

John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, said the Paris Agreement’s power lay in the opportunity it created.  The deal had sent a message to the markets that innovation, entrepreneurial activities, allocation of capital and Government decisions would define the new energy future.  Investment in renewable energy had been at an-all time high of nearly $330 billion in 2015, he noted.

Anand Mahindra of India’s Mahindra Group said that addressing climate change was the responsibility of the private sector, given its role in contributing to the problem.  The Agreement gave business a chance to redeem itself from the “trust deficit” it faced.  Many companies had joined programmes to double energy productivity by 2030, or made a commitment to transition towards 100 per cent renewable energy in the future, he said.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Indigenous Women and Peoples Association of Chad, said climate change was “adding poverty to poverty”, forcing people to leave their homes in search of a better future.  “It is time to change your hope into promise,” she said, urging leaders to sign, ratify and implement the Agreement.  “We want you to act.”

The signature event extended throughout the day, in parallel with meetings in which Heads of State and Government offered updates on how they would integrate national climate plans into broader sustainable development programmes.  Opening the event was a brass quintet from the Juilliard School in New York City, joined by 197 children representing the States parties that have adopted the Paris Agreement.

Also speaking during the signature ceremony were the Presidents of Peru and Bolivia and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Italy.  The Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation also spoke, as did a royal Princess from Morocco.  United Nations Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio also addressed the ceremony.

Opening Remarks

GETRUDE CLEMENT, youth representative from the United Republic of Tanzania, spoke on behalf of young children in the opening ceremony, saying that climate change presented a big problem all over the planet, but it was children who would feel its effects most acutely, both now and in the future.  Climate change affected the lives of young people, their planet and their education, and children saw its negative results in their daily lives.  “This is not the future we want for ourselves,” she said, adding that children were leading their communities in taking action.  Youth leaders in the United Republic of Tanzania had visited many communities to talk about the effects of climate change and had learned how it impacted the lives of young people.  “We expect action, action on a big scale, and we expect action today, not tomorrow,” she emphasized.  “The future is ours, and the future is bright.”

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, recalled that in Paris last December, the international community had adopted the world’s first universal climate agreement, with every country pledging to curb emissions and strengthen resilience to potentially devastating climate impacts.  Today, more than 165 Governments had gathered to sign the Paris Agreement.  “This is history,” he said, describing the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day.  He commended the 14 States parties depositing their ratification instruments:  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa and Somalia, as well as the State of Palestine.  Noting that records were being broken inside the chamber today, he said they were also being broken outside — record global temperatures, ice loss and carbon levels.

“We are in a race against time,” he emphasized, urging countries to join the Agreement quickly so that it could enter into force as early as possible.  The window for keeping global temperature rise below 2 °C was closing, he warned.  The era of consumption without consequences was over and intensified efforts were needed to decarbonize economies and support developing countries in making that transition.  “The poor and vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” he stressed.  Climate action was not a burden.  Rather, it could help eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of women and girls and it was essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  He said he had worked towards this day since “day one” as Secretary-General.  “You are signing a new covenant with the future,” which must find expression in actions taken on behalf of the present and future generations to protect communities.  “The power to build a better world is in your hands,” he declared.

FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, President of France, said 12 December 2015 had been a historic day for the whole international community.  The moment it had become clear that agreement had been reached had been an emotional one.  It was important to recall that the terrorist attacks on Paris had been the backdrop to the Agreement, he said, adding that world leaders had nevertheless demonstrated their ability to come together with a sense of partnership and responsibility to ensure that an agreement would be the fruit of the Paris meeting, as a symbolic act for the rest of the world.

In the run-up to the Agreement, important steps had been taken by Governments, business, local leaders, civil society and ordinary citizens, he recalled.  The success of the Paris meeting had compelled Governments to go even further than the promises and pledges made, and there was a need to ensure that words became actions.  Since 12 December, temperatures had continued to rise and further disasters had occurred, including the devastating cyclone in Fiji, the spread of drought in Africa, the continuing shrinkage of Lake Chad and the rising sea levels that threatened small islands at risk of disappearing under the waves.

Never in the history of the United Nations had it been possible to bring together 170 countries to sign an agreement, all together, on one day, he noted, emphasizing that there was no turning back now.  The world must accelerate action to implement low-carbon policies.  Noting that some $100 billion was needed between now and 2020, he said every country must set an example, particularly developed countries, by stepping up contributions for combating climate change.  “It is not just a question of States taking action, the entire world must come together,” he stressed.  “Everyone must feel that they have a stake in this.”

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, congratulated Governments for having demonstrated what true leadership was all about; society and business leaders, for keeping the pressure and momentum going; the leaders of France and Peru – Presidents of the previous two Conference of Parties – for having shepherded a remarkable breakthrough; and the Secretary-General, for his tireless commitment on the long journey to Paris.  “We must raise the level of ambition even further,” he said, calling for bold steps to make the transformation happen now.

OLLANTA HUMALA TASSO, President of Peru, said the Paris efforts went hand in hand with others under way at the heart of the United Nations, energetically promoted by the Secretary-General, to combat poverty and inequality, notably with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Against that backdrop, he said, he was grateful for his country’s important role in that process, and to the international community for its trust in his Government.  Recalling that the Lima Call for Action had been adopted in 2014, laying the foundations for the Paris Agreement, he said Peru had worked with France to craft a historic accord that must now be implemented responsibly.

The unprecedented presence of so many Heads of State and Government to sign — and some to ratify — the Agreement was proof of the worthy efforts deployed in reaching the accord, he said.  Peru had been motivated by the need to mobilize the greatest partnership in history for the benefit of climate and development.  Indeed, the Paris Agreement contained weighty obligations that the international community must assume under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  States would need to ramp up dialogue and cooperation, and ensure robust commitment was in place to push forward the climate financing needed for mitigation and adaptation efforts, and to shape low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.

In that context, he went on to point out the importance of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, saying it must play a full part in the run-up to the twenty-second Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco, which aimed to promote climate action at all levels of society.  For its part, Peru was working to become a climate-responsible country, having committed to reducing greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2030, and to enhance adaptation actions.  Those included reducing vulnerability in terms of access to water, agriculture, fisheries, forests and health, as well as across five sectors — disaster risk management, resilient public infrastructure, the fight against poverty, gender equality and promoting private investment.  The Paris Agreement represented the tangible expression of a desire to achieve fair, secure and sustainable development for all.  “Today, we can ratify the greatest partnership against the enemy — climate change,” he declared.

JOSEPH KABILA KABANGE, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noted that the Group of Least Developed Countries had been among the most progressive in the climate negotiations and had played a significant role in building important components of the Paris Agreement.  For them, today was not merely a symbolic event; it was an important opportunity to reaffirm the positive spirit and narrative created in Paris.  Today was an opportunity to outline a timetable for ensuring the Agreement would have full force in international law and would be implemented.  Ministers from the least developed countries had met in Kinshasa earlier this month to reiterate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and had declared that their Governments would take all necessary steps required for ratification of the Agreement, as soon as possible.

The Paris Agreement created many challenges and opportunities for economies, he continued.  To reach many of the goals it set out, predictable and significantly increased financial flows and other resources would have to be put in place to enable robust action.  Resilience to the adverse effects of climate change and enhanced actions on adaptation would also be required.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was fully aware of the need for a global effort to tackle global warming and had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent between 2020 and 2030, he said.  That represented a considerable effort for a country that was resolutely working to rebuild itself and move ahead.  The transfer of technology, building capacity, securing financing, ensuring resilience in the face of climate change, and developing renewable energy were the main priorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said, noting that it had a significant and diverse range of natural resources that made it an important partner in the fight against climate change.  The development of hydroelectric power would help meet its own energy needs, as well as those of its neighbours and beyond, he said, emphasizing that States had a duty to overcome narrow self-interest and opt for proactive, mutually beneficial cooperation.

EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, declared:  “The Earth is not an object that can be sold,” emphasizing that his community had taught him that land was “our mother, our home that should be protected”.  He described the main enemies of life as consumerism, mercantilism, the arms race and greed — in sum, the capitalist system, which should be eradicated.  The world was witnessing the most serious disasters — temperature rise, drought, hurricanes and other extreme events — and unless Governments lived up to their Paris commitments, temperatures would rise by between 5 and 6 °C, he warned.

He went on to state that the Paris Agreement could change that reality, depending on its implementation.  It marked an important step, but it was not sufficient to save Mother Earth.  He called for examining the structural causes of the climate crisis, stressing that the rights of Mother Earth were more important than individual rights.  The environment must be protected and, as such, it was essential to adopt a universal declaration on the rights of Mother Earth, and an international climate justice tribunal.  They would judge and punish States responsible for the climate crisis, as well as businesses that caused social and environmental damage.  “If we don’t change the capitalist system in the future, we will see the destruction of humankind,” he asserted.

DILMA ROUSSEFF, President of Brazil, said that the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement represented an historic milestone towards creating the world humanity wanted — a world of sustainable development for all, with the full achievement of the Goals enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Realizing the commitments made in Paris would demand converging action by all countries and societies towards lives and economies less dependent on fossil fuels and dedicated to sustainable environmental practices.  Developing countries like Brazil had achieved significant emission reductions and taken on even more ambitious targets, she said.  The challenge of tackling climate would require a gradual increase in the ambition of developed countries and the continuous mobilization of the appropriate means of implementation.

She went on to emphasize that it was necessary to increase climate financing beyond the annual $100 billion commitment.  International financial flows must be permanently reoriented to support measures that would translate into solutions.  Brazil was determined to intensify mitigation and adaptation actions, and in that regard, would work for a 37 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025, and 43 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, she said.  The country would also achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon and neutralize emissions from the legal suppression of vegetation.  Another challenge would be the restoration and reforestation of 12 million hectares of forest and another 15 million hectares of degraded pasture, he said.  Those were indeed ambitious targets, but they were based on Brazil’s understanding of the grave, negative impacts of climate change.

ZHANG GAOLI, Vice-Premier of China, described the Paris Agreement as a milestone in the global response to climate change, which his country had actively worked to conclude.  In Paris, the President of China had put forward the country’s vision and proposals, and China had played a vital role in the negotiation process.  It was a responsible, major developing country, whose people owned their commitments, he said.  “We will work hard to earnestly implement the Paris Agreement,” notably by acceding early to the accord, and would finalize its domestic legal procedures on its accession before the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in September.  China would work with the rest of the international community for early accession in order to ensure the accord’s early entry into force.

He said China would take actions at home to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, setting a peak by 2030 and making its best efforts to peak early.  Those efforts had been included in national development plans.  Under the national five-year plan, efforts would be made to cut carbon emissions by 18 per cent, control carbon intensity and launch near-zero carbon emission projects.  It would also put in place a strict accountability system for environmental protection and ensure implementation of all targets.  More broadly, China would enhance international cooperation against climate change by taking part in follow-up negotiations on the Paris Agreement, while deepening South-South cooperation on climate change.  New projects had been launched in 2016, especially those focused on enhancing the climate financing capacity of developing countries.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, Prime Minister of Canada, said climate change represented not only a challenge that must be met, but also an opportunity that must be grasped.  It was a challenge that Canada had already begun to address, he said, noting that his Government had met with a range of stakeholders to create a plan that would meet or exceed emissions targets, and taken steps towards clean economic growth.  Canada had encouraged actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and invested billions in a green energy fund.  It had also signed on to “Mission Innovation”, a global partnership that aimed to double Government investment in climate-change initiatives over five years, while encouraging a more prominent role for the private sector.

“These actions are just the beginning,” he said, emphasizing that the country was not making such investments to be “nice”.  Rather, Canada was doing so because it was the right thing to do for the environment and the economy.  The humanitarian case was also clear.  It was well known that climate change would hit the poorest citizens the hardest, making it more difficult for the international community to address other challenges, such as food insecurity and the growing needs of refugee populations.  The business case was also obvious, and there were tremendous opportunities in that regard.  Canada’s ambitions would not end with those planned steps aimed at addressing the issue at home.  The country would also play a prominent role in supporting developing countries, which should neither be punished for a problem they had not created, nor deprived of the opportunities for clean growth that developed countries were pursuing.  That was why Canada would investment $2.5 billion over the next five years to help developing countries move towards sustainable development, he said.

MATTEO RENZI, Prime Minister of Italy, asked delegates to close their eyes and imagine their sons and grandsons in the General Assembly chamber for the first time.  “Today, finally, we give a message of hope,” he said.  The Paris Agreement was important, but not only for a single issue.  Its most important aspect was its political message.  “We give the message that politics is able to give hope for the next generations,” he said, emphasizing that Italy would work for implementation of the Paris Agreement in the coming months.  The international community had demonstrated that it understood the importance of delivering a collective message, and Italy would consider that a priority for its presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) and for its role in Europe.

ENELE SOSENE SOPOAGA, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, said “we need to take the Paris Agreement and mould it into an international call to action” — a “document of revival”.  Signature was the first step, to be followed by ratification to ensure its early entry into force.  He said that he had arrived today with Tuvalu’s instrument of ratification, and encouraged the legislatures of other countries also to ratify.  He welcomed the decision by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to develop a special report on the impacts of a 1.5 °C global temperature rise, saying he suspected that would have serious implications for small-island countries, such as his own.

More broadly, he said an average 62,000 people were displaced each day due to climate change, a staggering figure that should ring alarm bells.  Calling for an Assembly resolution to establish a legal protection system for people displaced by the impacts of climate change, he said that, since small island developing States required better access to climate financing, disbursement of the Green Climate Facility must be based on accessibility and level of vulnerability, rather than how well a State party could write its adaptation or mitigation proposals.  He also sought support for a Pacific island climate change insurance facility.

ALEXANDER KHLOPONIN, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, said today’s signing was a remarkable and important step by the international community towards achieving the goal of tackling global climate change.  The Paris Agreement created a reliable international legal framework that united actions of developed and developing countries, including the main emitters of greenhouse gases.  The quality of life of all of humanity and the move towards a more sustainable future depended on resolving climate issues.

The Agreement, he said, contained important provisions on the role of market-based mechanisms to provide incentives to Governments and businesses to take effective measures to address climate challenges.  His country was prepared to cooperate with all States and had laid out an ambitious set of intended nationally determined contributions, which included its intention to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 70 per cent of 1990s levels by 2030.  The preservation of forests was of major concern for the Russian Federation.  The potential of forests must be maximized, without artificial restrictions.  The Russian Federation had created a national plan to implement the Agreement, which included a long-term strategy of low-carbon development through 2050, and systemic efforts for the sustainable management of forests.  There needed to be innovative approaches based on technologies, with a particular focus placed on technical cooperation to address climate problems.  He concluded by highlighting a proposal by his Government to convene a scientific forum under the United Nations to discuss climate change challenges, including the depletion of natural resources.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State of the United States, recalled that he was a young organizer just back from Viet Nam on the first Earth Day in 1970, and a young Senator advocating in Rio de Janeiro for the first Earth Summit.  After having attended many Conferences of Parties, it was fair to say that all felt an “extraordinary sweep of joy” when 196 nations said in Paris that they would live up to their responsibility to future generations.  That meeting was a turning point in the fight against climate change, when the world had decided to heed the mountain of evidence, put to rest the debate of whether climate change was real, and instead, began to galvanize the focus on how to address the irrefutable reality that nature was changing rapidly due to our own choices.

The power of the Agreement was not that it guaranteed States would hold the global temperature rise to a target of 1.5 or 2 °C.  “It does not and we know it”, he said.  Its power was in the opportunity it created, the message it sent to the marketplace that innovation, entrepreneurial activities, allocation of capital and Government decisions would define the new energy future.  Its power lay in what it would do to unleash the private sector.  In 2015, renewable energy investment reached an-all time high of nearly $330 billion.  It was predicted that States would invest tens of trillions of dollars by the end of the century.  More of the world’s money was now being spent on fostering renewable technologies than on fossil fuel plants.

“None of what we have to achieve is beyond our capacity technologically,” he said.  “The only question is whether it was beyond our collective resolve.”  The urgency of the challenge was only becoming more pronounced.  The United States looked forward to formally joining the Agreement this year and called on all its international partners to do likewise.  Quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela, he said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

LALLA HASNA, Princess of Morocco, whose country would host the twenty-second Conference of the Parties in Marrakech, said collective efforts should focus on the Agreement’s effective implementation.  To honour its commitments, she said that Morocco would, by 2030, cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent while meeting 52 per cent of its energy needs through renewable sources such as solar and wind farms.  It stood ready to share its know-how with others, particularly countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Noting how the next Conference would see the adoption of procedures and mechanisms for implementing the Paris Agreement, she emphasized the importance of a clear and predictable road map to raise funds for projects, thus fostering change in private investment patterns.  Countries needed to benefit from a full range of incentives, with developing States getting access to patented technology on preferential terms and solutions being found to environmental trade barriers.  Negotiations on implementing the Agreement had reflected a spirit of international solidarity and responsibility, she said, and with the commitment of all parties, the pledges made in Paris would result in specific objectives, effective mechanisms and concrete projects that would turn ambitions into reality.

ANAND MAHINDRA, private sector representative, said the transition to a greener way of life was happening after much “churning”.  Nevertheless, indisputably positive things were beginning to take place, starting with today’s signing of the Paris Agreement.  It was the first step towards visibly integrating the private sector’s future with the future of the planet.  Addressing climate change was the responsibility of the business sector given its role in contributing to the problem.  It gave businesses a chance to redeem themselves from the “trust deficit” it had faced following the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Many corporations were joining programmes to double energy productivity by 2030 or had committed to transitioning towards 100 per cent renewable energy in the future.  Investment in renewable energy options now outstripped that in conventional energy for the first time and represented an attractive business opportunity.  It would be on the best investment he, as a business leader, could make.  He welcomed the Agreement’s signing today as a sign that the inner conscious of nations and corporations had been stirred.

HINDOU OUMAROU IBRAHIM, civil society representative from Chad, said her people were nomadic pastoralists, where more than 10 million depended on a fragile ecosystem.  Thirty years ago, her mother used to walk 10 kilometres a day to collect water and food.  Today, young mothers were climate refugees.  They could not walk to Lake Chad because it was vanishing.  The land was being used by Boko Haram and her people’s rights and dignity were under threat.  “Climate change is adding poverty to poverty every day,” she said, forcing people to leave their homes in search of a better future.  Migration was a tragedy for those who had been left behind — women and children who must stay and fight the consequences of climate change on their own.  They fought for survival.

“Nature is our supermarket.  To protect it, we use our indigenous and science knowledge,” she said, noting that her people had developed a participatory treaty to help women and children manage the few resources left.  But their traditional knowledge could not solve everything.  It could not end fossil fuel or protect people from land grabbing.  Today, delegates had the responsibility to ensure international citizenship.  In her community, thousands of women and children had never used electricity.  They had seen the damage caused by fossil fuels and carbon.  For her people, true climate justice was renewable energy for all.  “Without adaptation measures, soon there will be no one to adapt.  In Paris, you gave us hope.  Now it is time to change your hope into promise,” she said, urging leaders to sign, ratify and implement the Agreement.  “We want you to act.”

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, United Nations Messenger of Peace, recalled how he had travelled the world over the past two years to document how climate change had altered the natural balance of life.  “All that I have seen and heard on my journey absolutely terrified me,” he said.  It was proven that climate change was a direct result of human action and would get astronomically worse in the future.  “You know what will happen if this scourge is left unchecked,” he warned, calling climate change a “runaway freight train” that threatened impending disaster for the world.

Although the Paris Agreement had been reached, he said, evidence proved that it would not be enough.  The planet would not be saved unless fossil fuels were left in the ground, where they belonged.  Reversing the course of climate change would not be easy, but the tools were in the international community’s hands, provided they were applied before it was too late.  Many of the steps that had been taken were already yielding fruit, but it was now incumbent upon world leaders to lead, empower and inspire.  Signing the Paris Agreement would mean nothing without bold, unprecedented action.  After 21 years of debate, it was time to declare — no more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing fossil fuels companies to dictate the policies that will affect the future.  The United Nations was the body that could make a difference.  “The world is now watching.  You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them,” he warned.  “You are the last, best hope for earth,” he concluded.

National Statements (A to L)

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, opened the segment, calling it an opportunity for Parties to the Convention to provide updates on how their Governments were implementing their national climate plans and integrating them into their overall sustainable development plans.  Speakers would also set out their countries’ road maps towards achieving the overall aim of limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and indicate their respective Governments’ timetables for ratifying the Paris Agreement.  In addition, he said, participants would indicate how their Governments would accelerate climate action before 2020 by drawing on the ingenuity, resources and efforts of all sectors of society.

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN, President of Colombia, called climate change the greatest challenge faced by mankind.  The sooner the Paris Agreement was ratified, the faster the benefits would be seen, he said, adding that his country had recently concluded an agreement on climate change that called for effective and coordinated action, with a national policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as deforestation in the Amazon region.

He said his country was particularly vulnerable, having experienced in recent years some of the worst flooding and drought in its history.  Acting on climate change would benefit the environment, turn those who had been engaged in conflict into promoters of change, and help restore forests that had been impacted by conflict and drug trafficking.

ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon, called upon States to adopt economic development models that were low in carbon emissions.  Doing that would require new ways of cooperating internationally to combat climate change, he said, stating that Gabon stood ready to work with the international community to reduce global warming.  With 88 per cent of his country covered by forests, he said Gabon had opted for the mainstreaming of land management.

Politically, his State had sought to bring national legislation in line with the challenges of climate change, he said, reiterating a commitment to transition to renewable energy.  Implementation of the Paris Agreement should create a climate that was conducive to private sector investment, particularly in countries committed to a green environment.

ROSEN PLEVNELIEV, President of Bulgaria, calling the Paris Agreement a decisive step forward, said that there was “no turning back”.  Transformation would be made in all key sectors.

Having achieved its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, he said that his country had an ambitious national framework to meet the new targets it had set in compliance with the Agreement’s standards and regional goals, putting an emphasis on energy efficiency within energy networks.  It was now up to everyone to secure early ratification and implementation action.

KOLINDA GRABAR-KITAROVIĆ, President of Croatia, said that the next 10 years were critical for the future existence of the world.  Efforts to face it must not take a back seat.  Having fairly low levels of emissions, but being very vulnerable to climate changes, her country was already seeing irreversible changes in the ecosystem.

Early ratification and implementation was now a priority for the country under the standards of the Paris Agreement and action of the European Union, she said.  Strong partnerships must be built to support collective efforts; her country was participating in cooperation with countries in all regions, as climate change affected all no matter where they were located.

ALASSANE OUATTARA, President of Côte d’Ivoire, said that today was a demonstration of solidarity to deal with the effects of climate change.  His country had experienced warming and a decrease in rainfall, resulting in smaller agricultural yields and other effects.  For his country, implementing the Paris Agreement was an imperative.  A framework for that purpose was now being constructed in coordination with the country’s development plans.  The support of the international community was needed in those efforts, particularly for the dissemination of clean electricity.  Scientific and technological progress, for that purpose, must be made available to all.

JÁNOS ÁDER, President of Hungary, said that despite progress on climate agreements and investments in green technology, it appeared that climate change was accelerating.  The Earth continued to give daily warnings of the consequences of our current practices.  It was not yet time to celebrate; much progress must be made urgently.  For that reason, the largest emitters must take accelerated action.  Research into storing energy must also be a priority.  Noting that “time is our most precious non-renewable resource,” he urged all stakeholders to use it carefully.

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania, praised the Paris Agreement as “a win” for the planet, the people and the economy, urging all stakeholders to take action to implement it.  Lithuania, she said, was fully committed to the European Union’s pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 and was a clear example that rapid economic growth was possible without harming the environment.  In the last 25 years, national emission levels fell by almost 60 per cent, while gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 30 per cent.  She concluded with a warning that although nuclear energy could be a component of a clean energy strategy, the safety of all related infrastructure must be in line with international law and ensure cooperation with neighbouring countries.

FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, Head of State of the Central African Republic, said decisions needed to be taken on measures that would limit the effects of climate change.  He recalled the commitment that his country’s delegation had made at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to work towards reducing carbon emissions, and noted the need for financing to protect the Congo Basin forest.  It was his country’s desire to see mechanisms established quickly so as to maintain the global ecosystem.

DAVID ARTHUR GRANGER, President of Guyana, said his country was a net carbon sink, with forests that sequestered more carbon than what its population generated.  With the world’s second highest percentage of rainforest cover, Guyana commanded important carbon stocks.  Nevertheless, he said his country was committed to limiting the rise in global temperatures with ambitious initiatives in the forest and renewable energy sectors, moving closer towards a 100 per cent renewable power supply by 2025.  It would invest in such measures as timber monitoring and alternative forms of power generation.

JOCELERME PRIVERT, President of Haiti, said that after Paris, there is now a race against the clock for implementation.  It was a matter of survival of the planet.  In Haiti, hurricanes had become more devastating and droughts more extreme.  In that light, his Government was committed to measures to reduce emissions by 31 per cent by 2030.  Energy reform, reforestation and strengthening human settlements would be among the priorities in that effort.  The climate regime must be implemented along with action to reduce poverty and inequality.  He appealed for that reason for stepped-up assistance to developing countries.

ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, said that her peaceful, unarmed country had placed its faith in multilateralism and in international agreements such as the Paris Agreement.  She urged its early ratification.  Costa Rica had long provided a model in renewable energy, forest preservation and other measures to reduce its carbon imprint, and was continuing plans to move towards a carbon neutral economy.  All measures were taken in line with the country’s human rights and development plan.  She pledged that her State would build on its achievements and urged all stakeholders to work along with it.

JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister and Minister for iTaukei Affairs and the Sugar Industry of Fiji, said the citizens of his country and other small and vulnerable developing States desperately needed help.  The Paris Agreement was a positive first step, but it was not enough, and for that reason the Pacific Islands Development Forum was seeking a new limit on global temperature rise to 1.5°C.  He went on to call for changes to current arrangements for funding climate change adaptation, as they impeded the ability of small and vulnerable nations to gain access to appropriate financial arrangements.

GASTON ALPHONSO BROWNE, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Corporate Governance of Antigua and Barbuda, said that Caribbean countries had accumulated high debt due to increased spending to address climate change.  Adequate and predictable financing was needed to enable the region to meet climate challenges.  He also supported a proposal to swap debt for climate change adaptation.  With the financial services sector of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member States under existential threat, he appealed for a halt to the destructive practice of delinking Caribbean countries from the international payment system.

ALPHA CONDÉ, President of Guinea, said that his country was ready to go into action to implement the Paris Agreement, particularly in respect to renewable energy.  In that area, the Agreement included a framework for assistance to his continent.  African States were waiting for a clear response in their appeals for such provisions of the Agreement to be operationalized in a timely manner.  Early implementation was critical for Africa and the world.

JIMMY MORALES, President of Guatemala, said that the Paris Agreement provided hope for developing countries that had been severely affected by climate change.  His country had been battered by severe weather in many forms, causing loss of much life and harming the national economy.  Signing the Agreement was just the first step.  All States must commit to implementation.  His country was committed to managing resources in a sustainable way and to promoting a green economy for development.  More must be done to assist Guatemala and other vulnerable States to adapt to climate effects and reduce poverty while mitigating emissions.

DEAN BARROW, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Belize, speaking on behalf of CARICOM, said that small island development States had long been weathering — “no pun intended” — severe climate events spawned by an industrial revolution not of their making.  The world knew in 2009 that survival was at stake, yet it took a veritable labour of Sisyphus to finalize an agreement.  To avoid Armageddon, it was essential to maintain unrelenting pressure, with everyone playing a part and major emitters carrying their commensurate share.  CARICOM was calling for an equitable climate financing architecture and saw promise in the Green Climate Fund as an effective model for implementation.  He also said that, by depriving their domestic financial institutions of correspondent relationships, the phenomenon of de-risking was threating to lock Caribbean economies out of international trade and finance.

FREUNDEL STUART, Prime Minister of Barbados, said his Government’s signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement sanctioned the consideration and acceptance of its first intended nationally determined contribution, which was submitted in 2015 to the Climate Change Convention.  In light of recent reports that 2015 was the hottest year on record and of the study that concluded that climate forecasts underestimated the sea-rise impact of Antarctic thaw, there was no time for complacency.  The contribution of fragile island nations like Barbados would be constrained by the development of operational methods to support the Agreement’s implementation, the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on the impact of the 1.5°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels, and by the facilitative dialogue among parties, all of which would not occur until 2018.

PERRY GLADSTONE CHRISTIE, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Bahamas, said that his Government welcomed the commitments in the Agreement, including the aim to limit the annual average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.  That ceiling was the only way to ensure the survival of low-lying islands such as the Bahamas.  His country was still recovering from Hurricane Joaquin.  Climate change was threatening its very existence.  Policies and programmes towards climate change adaptation and mitigation were in the early stages of implementation due to limited capacity and other constraints.  They would operate in the wider context of the national development plan, which aimed to decrease emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.  To implement it, the Government would continue making the necessary investments.  He called on developed countries to fulfil their financial aid pledges on concessionary terms.

KEITH C. MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Grenada, said the unique characteristics, particular vulnerabilities and special circumstances of small island developing States must continue to be a pillar in climate change deliberations.  Grenada had begun the process of integrating climate change into its national development plans and was assessing major national investments for their sensitivities to climate risks.  Grenada intended to increase emissions reduction targets over time and pursue action to fulfil commitments as an integral part of national development.  Grenada was fully committed to achieving common climate change objectives.  He presented Grenada’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement with the hope that it would take effect in the not too distant future.

ANTONI MARTÍ PETIT, Head of Government of Andorra, said that his country had already put in place plans to reduce carbon emissions by 37 per cent by 2020 in comparison with earlier periods.  It was now focused on reductions in the energy and transportation sectors, which combined caused 90 per cent of emissions.  There was a plan of investment for renewable energy in place that amounted to 10 per cent of the gross national product (GNP).  Educational systems and the private sector would be engaged in the effort.

PAUL KABA THIEBA, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, welcoming the signing of the Paris Agreement, said that ratificat