The signing ceremony, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, follows the adoption of the world’s first universal climate change agreement by 195 countries in Paris on 12 December 2015. The European Union was the first major economy to table its commitment in the run up to the Paris climate conference COP21 and now looks forward to having the Agreement ratified and entering into force swiftly.
On behalf of President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Vice-President of the Commission responsible for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, and the Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will attend the high-level ceremony. Vice-President Šefčovič and Dutch Environment Minister Sharon Dijksma will sign the agreement on behalf of the European Union and Commissioner Arias Cañete will deliver the official statement on behalf of the European Union.
Vice-President Šefčovič said in Brussels: “Our signature means first and foremost that we are signing up to the commitments we made in Paris. It sends also a clear signal that we are signing up to a fundamental and disruptive transition to a low-carbon economy and society. This transition is now irreversible and unstoppable. At the global level, we are seeing the winds of change. Europe is part of this and will continue to be a driving force. That’s why we need to deliver the Energy Union and create the conditions for future opportunities, innovation and job-creation that this transition will bring. Let’s use the momentum.”
Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “We have agreed. We will sign, and we will act. In Europe, we have already started our homework of implementing the Paris Agreement and we will continue to lead the global low-carbon economy transition. We will ratify the Paris Agreement by securing the support of our 29 parliaments, and by demonstrating that we will have the policies in place to meet our commitments. This will ensure that when we act, we will act on a solid legal basis. Already before the start of this summer, the European Commission will present a proposal to the Council to ratify the Paris Agreement on behalf of the European Union.”
During the visit to New York, Vice-President Šefčovič will have a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and with Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Director Achim Steiner to follow up on the COP21 Business Summit. He will also meet Michael Bloomberg, UNSG Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to discuss further synergies between the Covenant of Mayors and the UN-led Compact of Mayors, underlining the importance that local actors play in the global fight against climate change. Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate in the special meeting of the High Ambition Coalition, the alliance of developing and developed nations that was instrumental in securing a successful outcome at the Paris climate conference in December 2015. He will also meet with the climate and energy ministers of China, USA, India, Turkey, Canada and Thailand to advance negotiations towards Marrakesh’s COP 22. Finally, the Commissioner will participate in the Climate Finance Ministerial and the Major Economies Forum meetings focused on the international collaborative efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.
The first negotiating session since the adoption of the Paris Agreement will take place at the Climate Change Conference from 16 to 26 May 2016 in Bonn, Germany. This will consider the technical implementation details of the agreement and how to take forward action before 2020.
The EU will also be working to keep climate at the top of the political agenda and Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate in the upcoming the G7 Energy Ministerial meeting in Kitakyushu, Japan, from 1-2 May 2016.