Every year on 21 September, the United Nations calls on all nations and people to put down their weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony with one another. Today, as we mark the 100-day countdown to the next International Day of Peace, I invite global reflection on this year’s timely theme.
“Climate Action for Peace” brings a clear message: the global climate emergency is a threat to security and stability. As coastal areas and degraded inland areas are becoming uninhabitable, millions of people are being forced to seek safety and better lives elsewhere. With extreme weather events and disasters becoming more frequent and severe, disputes over dwindling resources risk fueling climate-related conflict.
Last month, I visited the South Pacific and saw the challenges being endured by those on the frontlines of this existential danger. But it is not just remote islands whose future is in jeopardy. What is happening there is a sign of what is in store for all humankind. Urgent climate action is a global imperative.
To mobilize the ambition we need, I am convening a Climate Action Summit on 23 September, at UN Headquarters in New York. I have asked world leaders to come with concrete and realistic plans to rapidly accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement, and to make a pivotal shift toward a cleaner, safer and greener future. In this endeavor, they will be backed by the passionate voices of young women and men around the world, who understand their future is at stake.
This is the battle of our lives, and a race against time. We can win — and we must. Solutions are in our hands: tax pollution, not people; stop subsidizing fossil fuels; stop building new coal plants by 2020; focus on a green economy, not a grey economy. I count on your continued support as we strive to build a world where we can live every day in harmony with the environment and with each other.