Act on Climate: Opening remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann,UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

Sep 4, 2015

Pole To Paris

Climate Change Consultation Meeting

UN House, Mongolia

4 September, 2015

Excellency, Ms Oyun, Member of Parliament, President of the UN Environmental Assembly,

Government officials, young scientist, journalists, development partners,

On behalf of the United Nations and UNDP in Mongolia, I would like to warmly welcome you all to this public awareness raising event on climate change with “Pole to Paris” in Ulaanbaatar.

This is a great subject for my first official event in Mongolia since taking office last week. It’s a subject close to my heart and one that I worked on a lot in Indonesia my previous duty station – Indonesia of course being one of the top global emitters of Greenhouse gas emission and as such a frontline country in the fight against climate change. Dan’s first stop after leaving Australia for his long journey to Paris was Indonesia and we held some joint events there, too. So, Dan great to see you now in Mongolia with quite a few more thousands of kilometers under your belt.

Why is climate change important?

Climate change is a reality

It is no longer a discussion as to whether there is such a thing as climate change and whether or not it is driven by us, the people of the planet.

It is happening right now. It is already impacting our lives and the evidence base shows that climate change is a consequence of human activity.

Since 1880 the average temperature of the planet has increase by 0.85° C.

Last June, the global average temperature was 1.26° C above the 20th century average.

2015 is the hottest year on record 'By A Mile' scientists say.

With further inaction, and continuation of our current activities, it is not unreasonable to expect the planet to warm by an additional 4°C by the end of the 21st century.

This has increasingly costly consequences on human life, serious social impact and economic losses. Climate change increases people’s vulnerability through environmental degradation, reduced water supply, food insecurity and forced changes to livelihoods as well as migration. 

Climate change is universal; it threatens development progress in countries rich and poor. As such, it is both a results but also a threat to current development patterns. Importantly it tends to affect the poorest the most as they tend to live in areas that are more exposed to rising sea levels, landslides or droughts and generally have no coping mechanisms to recover from the consequences.

This is why climate change is one of the defining development challenges for this century.

To tackle climate change, the whole world must develop differently. All of us must change consumption and production patterns and this requires engaged citizens and bold leadership.

The choice is not between green or growth; we have to make growth climate and environmentally friendly and it is entirely possible as many green economy models show.

It is often said that we are the first generation that can eradicate poverty – we are also likely the last generation that can save the planet

What about Mongolia? I believe it is no coincidence that Dan chose Mongolia as a stop on his way to Paris.

Mongolia is extremely vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic location, vulnerable ecosystem, people’s lifestyle and economy.

In the past 70 years, the mean temperature increased by 2.07°C,  meaning considerably faster than global average.

Mongolia is also ranked 8th among over 100 countries in the Global Climate Risk Index of 2014

Due to the dependency of natural resources, the most vulnerable groups to climate change are nomadic herders and farmers.

Why are we meeting today?

“POLE TO PARIS” is a great campaign to raise awareness on the impact of climate change and spur current and future leaders into action.

2015 is defining moment in the global mission towards a sustainable future. This month, a set of new sustainable development goals will be agreed on to succeed the MDGs. They will specifically include a goal to “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

The year will also see the signing of a new universal agreement in December 2015 in Paris. This agreement is hoped to set ambitious and binding targets for emission reductions to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Dan has biked from Australia to Mongolia – some 7000 km – he has met people in all the countries along the way to raise awareness of climate change. He is on his way to Paris.

Today’s and tomorrow’s events aim at raising awareness on climate change and its impacts and at encouraging a change in collective and individual behaviors towards a more sustainable future with a smaller “carbon footprint”. The contribution of people like you - young scientists, researchers from public institutions and private sector, young government officials and media – in this will be critical.

The Role of the UN and UNDP

The UN and UNDP stand ready to support countries in the needed transitions to cleaner and low carbon development models and to build more resilient societies that adapt to climate change.

In Mongolia, we work to:

  • Build community resilience
  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Reduce GHG emissions
  • And develop sustainable and low carbon cities.

The time for all of us to act on climate change is now in order to save the planet for future generations to come!

With this, I wish you very fruitful discussions and thank you for your attention and participation.

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