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UNEP Head Joins State Visit by French President to Philippines

On 26 February, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner joined a French delegation to the Philippines, led by President François Hollande, to highlight the fight against climate change and convene a forum intended to encourage faster and more determined action on the global challenge of climate change, ahead of the UNFCCC Climate Change talks in Paris, later this year.


The French President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, the Minister of State for Development and Francophony, Annick Girardin, and the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal. Also accompanying President Hollande were high officials from various international organizations including Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Inger Andersen, and Director General of WWF International, Marco Lambertini.


A number of leading personalities well-known for their environmental activism did lend their support to the event, including Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Orthodox Church and Hollywood actors Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard, Mélanie Laurent. Business leaders and representatives from various French higher education institutions also travelled with the delegation.


On Thursday 26 February, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, and President Hollande opened the forum 'Towards COP21: Civil Society Mobilized for the Climate’. Aquino and Hollande also signed the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change. The call to action and the forum were both designed to encourage global support for the climate agreement set to be finalized in Paris in December.


Mr Steiner delivered an intervention during the forum, focusing on building resilience to climate change, the funding required for this purpose and the opportunities that a low-carbon Green Economy can offer.


"With this historic initiative, France - the host of the 2015 crucial UN Climate Change Conference - and the Philippines, which chairs the forum for countries most drastically affected by climate change, are demonstrating the leadership and solidarity that are required to deliver to the world a robust and ambitious climate change agreement in Paris" said Mr. Steiner.


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