Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare today, Wednesday 22nd September, deposited Solomon Islands Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon in New York, where he is attending the 71st United Nations General Assembly.

The instrument were signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Milner Tozaka at a Paris Agreement Ratification ceremony also held in New York in April this year.

The Paris Agreement emanated from the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP21) in Paris, France, in December 2015. The agreement aims to limit the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels – the level beyond which scientists say will see the worst extremes of global warming. It also aims to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

Solomon Islands ratification indicates its consent to be bound by the terms of this agreement.

The ratification instrument deposit ceremony was conducted during ‘The High-level Event for the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement’ at United Nations General Assembly building.

The event was convened by Ban Ki-moon as a first step in implementing the Paris Agreement following its adoption at the conclusion of COP21.

This event provided an opportunity to other countries to

publicly commit to joining or ratifying the agreement before the end of this year. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification with the UN Secretary General.

It is expected that this event will help efforts to secure early entry into force of this ambitious agreement. In an extraordinary show of support for the Paris climate agreement, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement at a ceremony in New York on the 22nd of April this year, far exceeding the historical record for first-day signatures to an international agreement.

Signing is the first step toward joining the Agreement, and must be followed by the deposit of the instrument of ratification or acceptance. To date, 60 parties have ratified the Agreement.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon Frank Bainimarama was accorded the honour of speaking at the ceremony because Fiji was the first country in the world to complete its domestic processes to ratify the agreement.

In his speech, Prime Minister Bainimarama thanked the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on behalf of the small island states of the Pacific for ‘ his nine years of unflagging commitment and leadership to advancing global progress on climate change.’

“Your leadership has helped the world to arrive at the point we are at today, here in this General Hall, as we work together to ensure that the Paris Agreement enters into force this year.

“Today, governments have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement just as they did in April at the signature ceremony when 175 countries signed the agreement.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama added that Fiji is proud to have been the first country in the world to complete its domestic processes to ratify the agreement.

On this note, he assured the UN Secretary General that Fiji will use its leadership position as holder of the Office of the President of the (UN) General Assembly this session to do everything possible to secure the rapid ratification of the Paris Agreement and spur climate action.

He said today’s event shows there is support from the global community to bring the Paris Agreement to life and to work together to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals.