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Speaking in Bonn on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the UN agencies in Bonn this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world faced unprecedented global challenges that require an unprecedented global response. Such challenges notably include mass migration and climate change.

The UN chief highlighted the significance of the former German capital as an international hub for climate action and sustainable development, and the location at which numerous UN Climate Change Conferences were held to prepare the Paris Climate Change Agreement concluded last December.

“The Paris Agreement on climate change is, in a very strong sense, a peace pact with the planet. And it was shaped right here in Bonn,” he said.

Commending UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres for her efforts to help secure a universal climate change agreement in Paris last year, Ban said: “You gave the process your very best and we see the results. You showed the world what the United Nations can help make possible.”


Christiana Figueres cautioned that whilst several important international agreements were successfully concluded in 2015, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement, they were “mere letters of intent” which now urgently needed to be filled with life.

“We developed an ambitious vision, now we need to work doubly hard to make that vision reality,” she said.

Ms. Figueres said that the Paris Agreement had provided clarity of direction and delivered, among other things, specific goals against which progress will be gauged; implementation and accountability frameworks and an understanding of how finance will be mobilized for climate and for development.

Much of the focus of the celebrations in Bonn was on the role of volunteers in turning visions for sustainable development into reality. Ms. Figueres said it was crucial that UN Volunteers – one of the 18 UN agencies located in Bonn – and other organizations “put boots on the ground” to effectively take forward the goals agreed by the international community.

See here for the Secretary-General's remarks at Special Event Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the UN Offices in Bonn.

See also the UN News Center report and the press release by UN Bonn

For images of the event, see the UN Bonn Flickr account


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