New York, 22 April, 2016 - UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner released the following statement on the occasion of the opening day for the signing of the Paris Agreement:
"In Paris, the world's nations agreed that climate change is a threat to planetary well-being. Having over 160 countries sign the Paris Agreement in New York on its opening day is proof positive that the world is committed to a global response to this threat.
"More than this, the signed Paris Agreement is evidence of an epochal shift in global mentality toward how we interact with our environment.
"The challenges we face from climate change are still very real, and no document can fix our problems for us. What the Paris Agreement can do is inspire action, safe in the knowledge that we do not act alone, but with a global unity of purpose. It is heartening to see countries come together to improve the lives of all peoples through the safeguarding of our planet.
"Signing the Paris Agreement is but a step on a long journey to make our world a better place. A large step, yes, but many more remain to be taken in our efforts to address the risks of climate change, reduce pollution and increase access to clean energy. By continuing to cooperate, as the world did in Paris, we can achieve our goals sooner than we expect. UNEP, as part of the United Nations family, is committed to supporting nations and citizens in making this transition towards a greener future".