UN Climate Speech / 15 Dec, 2009
Statement at the opening of the high-level segment of COP 15 and CMP 5

Fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) and the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 5) 

Copenhagen, 15 December 2009


Statement at the high-level segment by
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



Your Royal Highness,

Madam President,

Honorouble Heads of State,

Honorouble Prime Ministers

Mister Secretary-General,


Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


On this day, to the day, two years ago, we were gathered in the closing plenary in Bali. After intense negotiations, you succeeded and adopted the Bali Road Map.


Here we are, two years later. Now it the time to deliver.


There has been some progress, but not enough to celebrate success.


There has been some progress, but not nearly enough to present to the world as a success in Copenhagen.


And we have almost run out of time.


So, we cannot continue to run over the same old ground.


There is simply too much at stake.


Compassion is what makes nations great.


The aim here is not to celebrate the victory of one nation over another, of one group over another. The aim is to find solutions instead of letting problems continue. The aim is to celebrate a safer future.


You all have the capabilities of creating such a future. That is why you are here.


Science tells us that we have a window of opportunity in which we can still act, in which we still have a good chance of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change. The solutions exist. The will exists. The question is, will we, as humanity, rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity to agree to solutions?


More than 115 world leaders will be here on Friday to adopt a strong agreement. They are not coming here to leave empty-handed.


So let the winds of change blow over the climate change negotiations. The world is waiting.


Thousands of young people care about the outcome of this conference. I have received hundreds of paper footprints from children in Germany. I have received 1000 folded paper butterflies from children in Australia. And I have received 350 drawings from children in the United States.


They all want their future to be safer. One drawing captures what you as the leaders of the world’s nations need to do particularly well. It is a drawing by 8-year old Sophia Dada.


Over the past two years, negotiators have made super-human efforts to get us as far as they can. Now, it is up to you to lead.


We need ambitious results under the Kyoto Protocol.


We need ambitious results under the convention.


Much of the ground work has been laid for prompt implementation of action on mitigation, adaptation, technology cooperation, finance, REDD and capacity-building.


Much of the ground work has been laid for ambitious emission reduction targets and mitigation actions.


Much of the ground work has been laid for far-reaching adaptation.


And some progress has been made on finance and its governance.


It is now up to you to resolve outstanding issues and to lead the world into action.


It is up to you to ensure that the world initiates ambitious mitigation action and mobilizes the streams of funding needed to get action on adaptation, technology cooperation, REDD and capacity-building.


It is up to you to ensure that the road to Copenhagen will not be remembered as merely having been paved with good intentions.


Rather, let the world remember Copenhagen as the place where good intentions were turned into good action - the place where it all started.


Thank you.


- - - - -



Please note: This is prepared text of the speech and may differ from the delivered version.