Robinson, Kufuor and Freiberga call to Action on Climate Change


To all Heads of State and Government,


When you assumed the responsibility of leading your country, like us, the 97 democratic, former Heads of State and Government, Members of the Club de Madrid, you committed yourself to foster justice, progress and the welfare of all citizens, guaranteeing access to basic services such as clean water, energy and health.

The challenges and risks posed by climate change, the object of the historic Climate Change Summit convened by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, today, are at the core of today’s global concerns, precisely because they are affecting and will continue to affect the satisfaction of basic needs and universal access to basic services across the globe. Next week’s Climate Change Summit provides world leaders an opportunity to lead in addressing climate change and to muster climate action at the highest political level to leave a safer planet for future generations. Your presence and active participation is, therefore, vi

The world cannot afford a strained, watered-down climate agreement, or yet another ‘business as usual’ strategy. Efforts by our environment or foreign affairs ministries simply are not enough. The decided and personal engagement of each and every Head of State and Government worldwide is essential to achieve an agreement that will allow low carbon solutions, development and resilience to an increasingly adverse climate. We, therefore, call on you to speak up, raise our climate change ambitions and start taking the bold steps needed to tackle the challenge.

The Members of the Club de Madrid have been stressing the urgency of climate action since 2007 when we launched our Global Leaders for Climate Action initiative. Through this project we actively addressed its complex and intricately intertwined challenges. Four of our Members – Gro Harlem Brundtland, Ricardo Lagos, Festus Mogae and Han Seung Soo – also acted as United Nations’ Special Envoy for Climate Change during the negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen Accord of 2009. The two of us, once again two Club de Madrid Members, are proud to have taken on this role in yet another crucial phase of the negotiations, supporting the UN Secretary General as we move towards the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in 2015, when countries should finally agree on a legally binding international climate treaty applicable to all 195 member states signatories to the Convention. The negotiations leading up to the 2015 COP in Paris will be decisive for the future global climate regime.

We all have a fundamental interest in ensuring an international agreement, one that will guarantee a strong rules-based system to manage climate risk. Inaction or even slow action will be interpreted by many as a serious omission, if not outright abandonment of political responsibility, threatening the credibility of democratic institutions and their capacity to deal with the effects of climate change. Once and for all, the world must begin a real transformation towards low-carbon economies.

We invite you to lead and steer a committed effort to identify what your country can do to tackle this major, global challenge and to personally present the results of your country’s efforts, with the highest level of ambition, during the Climate Change Summit next September 23rd. The Summit will be a major step towards the achievement of a legally binding international climate treaty in 2015. By engaging in the process, you will significantly strengthen the common pursuit for a transformative global response towards a better future, averting the dramatic consequences of climate change.

Later on this year, the G20 will be meeting in Brisbane, Australia. This will be yet another pivotal moment on the road to COP 21 in Paris. The G20 countries have a significant role to play in tackling the world’s economic challenges. They cannot ignore climate change as one of the key financial and economic risks of our times, with global consequences that require collective action. Climate change is a must in the G20 Agenda. We call on both the Australian presidency of the G20 and next year’s Turkish presidency to recognize the critical opportunity and the responsibility they bear in ensuring that issues of enormous significance for the world’s economy, such as climate change, are effectively addressed. We urge you to forcefully join us in this appeal.

The Club de Madrid and its 97 Members, all democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the globe, stand ready to support your actions and raise the climate ambition of your country. Let us, together, overcome the political frailness that has contaminated climate negotiations so we can progress firmly forward and contribute to shared prosperity and welfare for all.

Signed by

Mary Robinson:  President of Ireland (1990-1997) UNSG Envoy for Climate Change         

John Kufuor: President of Ghana (2001-2009) UNSG Envoy for Climate Change 

Vaira Vike-Freiberga: President of Latvia (1999-2007) President of the Club de Madrid