Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the Leaders Event of the 21st Conference of the Parties
30 November 2015
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,
Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates:
Let me begin by thanking you, Mr President, and the people of France, the people of Paris, for hosting this Conference. Two weeks ago, your country suffered a national tragedy, indeed a global tragedy. In gathering here, world leaders affirm that we stand as one with you, against Daesh and all terrorism.
Our collective response is key to defeat terror. This is the war of our generation, the fight for peace, tolerance, freedom and humanity. It is also our fight within Islam. It is a war we are reminded of every day, in Syria, Iraq, Mali, Egypt, Lebanon, France, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia and more. Terrorism has no borders.
The subject of this conference is also the fight of our generation. The entire planet is endangered by climate change. Responding to individual crises as they arise is not enough. It is simply impossible. We must act collectively, with foresight, responsibility and determination.
All countries have a stake. My country is on the receiving end of this challenge in many ways: Jordan is already the second water-poorest country on earth. We import more than 90 percent of our energy. We are in a struggle to create jobs and provide opportunities, especially for youth, over 70 percent of our population. Meantime, we remain a safe haven for refugees fleeing regional violence. Now, hosting 1.4 million Syrians — one for every five Jordanians — Jordan has one of the top two refugee populations per capita in the world.
If global climate change continues on today’s trajectory, the challenges will increase exponentially. These harsh realities are why Jordan has been integrating energy and environmental approaches into a sustainable, long-term national development strategy. In 2013, we were the first in our region to produce a comprehensive, forward-looking National Climate Change Policy.
In the past year alone, we have made greater strides towards energy independence and enhancing energy efficiency than in the entire life of our country. This year we opened the largest wind farm in the Arab World. And we have taken the first steps in switching Jordan’s public-sector fleet to eco-friendly electric vehicles.
Jordan also looks to innovation for other solutions: Meeting our rising water needs through desalination — advanced water management technologies — moving forward with the Red-Dead Conveyance project, to provide fresh water while using brine to replenish and save the Dead Sea.
Climate change cannot be addressed in isolation. No geographical region, no economic sector can protect itself from the impact of global threats. To achieve the future we seek, there must be comprehensive, collective, sustainable global action — action that gets results. Jordan pledges our continuing cooperation, for our own people’s future, and the future of our shared world.