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Today’s world leaders can be ‘envy of history’ at Paris 2015: Iconic open letter on Mandela’s birthday demands climate action

Date
18 July 2014
Today’s world leaders can be ‘envy of history’ at Paris 2015: Iconic open letter on Mandela’s birthday demands climate action

LONDON: Legendary campaigners from around the world today sent an open letter to the world's leaders demanding progress toward the global climate talks in Paris in 2015.

The letter, which is signed by Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel, Bono, Muhammed Yunus and Mo Ibrahim, was released to coincide with the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Aiming to spur ambition for a global deal at the COP 21 climate talks which will take place in Paris next year, the letter points to the fact decisions made in 2015 will dictate one of two very different futures for the planet: one of progress, and one of insecurity, hunger and poverty.

Presenting the crossroads we stand at as both a huge risk, and an opportunity for heads of state to be remembered for their leadership for generations to come, the authors write of choosing the ‘hopeful path’: “In so doing, we will give everyone everywhere opportunity and the right to lead their lives with dignity without jeopardising our planet’s ability to provide for its people now and into the future. This is an entirely possible outcome if we do the right thing.”

Using the emotive words of Nelson Mandela, they jointly suggest climate change can be overcome ‘by the actions of human beings’ and nod to action/2015, a new multi-organization campaign which will be officially launched in January to coincide with Nelson Mandela Day and the closing of the Open Working Group on the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda in New York.

The letter ends by reminding the world’s leaders of the power they hold in putting the world on a path to safer, better, future: “Let’s leave no one behind as we look with confidence towards a future which we can make great, for you have been given an opportunity that will be the envy of history.”

This September, the UN Climate Summit, which is seen as a stepping stone to Paris, takes place during Climate Week NYC 2014. As the collaborative space for all related events in support of the Summit and by providing an international platform for government, business and civil society to work together on low carbon solutions, Climate Week NYC will show the world there are clear opportunities and many benefits in acting on climate change and joining the global ‘clean revolution’. Find out how you can be part of it.

Read the letter

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Image: Graca Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela and signatory of the letter, courtesy of World Economic Forum

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By Clare Saxon

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