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Twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21)

and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties

serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11)

Paris, 30 November 2015


Opening address by

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



H.R.H. Charles, Prince of Wales,

H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, President of COP 21/CMP 11,

H.E. Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, President of COP 20/CMP 10,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,   


Bonjour et bienvenue à la COP. Welcome to the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Let me start by expressing my profound grief for all the victims and families affected by recent heart breaking events everywhere. I speak for myself and my colleagues at the climate change secretariat, and I am sure for all of us assembled here today, when I say “We stand with Paris”.

May I thank Monsieur Laurent Fabius, President of COP 21 and CMP 11, and his exemplary team and the many institutions and individuals mobilized by the Government of France for their resolute effort to prepare this COP in so many ways during the entire year and most certainly in the past few weeks. And may I thank Minister Pulgar-Vidal for bringing the spirit of Lima all the way to Paris.

Paris is known as the City of Light, a title that has recently taken on new meaning. The City of Light is now more than ever a beacon of hope for the world, lighting the way towards the betterment of humanity. There is no doubt that the global climate change agreement we seek must be part of what Paris has become.

In the face of adversity, in the face of threats of many kinds, Paris must be where the world unites as one. Paris must be where we show that we are capable of standing in solidarity with one another, recognizing our past, present and future differences, and yet determined to collectively commit ourselves to the common good, to global safety, to enduring wellbeing for all.

Distinguished delegates, the eyes of the world have been on Paris for weeks. Now the eyes of millions of people around the world are on you, not just figuratively but literally. You have the opportunity, in fact you have the responsibility, to finalize an agreement that enables the achievement of national climate change goals, that delivers the necessary support for the developing world and that catalyses continuously increasing ambition and action by all.

This past year has been a turning point. After many years of hard work, we finally see irreversibility of direction, depth of engagement and boldness of action. This turning point is remarkable, but the task is not done.

It is up to you to both capture this progress and chart an unequivocal path forward, with a clear destination, agreed milestones and a predictable timeline that responds to the demands of science and the urgency of the challenge.

Dear friends, never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few.

The world is looking to you. The world is counting on you.

Je vous remercie.

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