The Prince of Wales has accepted an invitation from President Hollande of France to deliver a keynote speech on the 30th November at the Opening Ceremony of COP21 otherwise known as "Paris 2015". COP21 is the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Prince confirmed his attendance at a high-level meeting on deforestation and climate change today, Thursday 29th October 2015. The meeting which took place at Lancaster House, London was hosted by The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (I.S.U.) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change. Amongst the participants at Lancaster House were the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP; Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy; Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil; Mirei Endara de Heras, Minister of Environment, Panama; Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Environment, Norway and Robert Bopolo Bogeza, Minister of Environment, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the private sector including Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks & Spencer and Paul Conway, Vice Chairman of Cargill.
Speaking the Forests and Climate Change meeting today, The Prince of Wales said:
"I have been immensely touched by President Hollande's invitation to attend and speak at the opening of the Conference. Paris will be an absolutely crucial milestone in the long overdue international effort to keep to a 2 degree world, although I think that everyone realizes that this COP will be the beginning of a new phase in the process, not the end in itself. It must, however, send an unequivocal, long-term signal to the international community, and to global markets, that the transition to a low carbon, sustainable, climate-compatible economy is firmly and irreversibly underway – and that a 2 degree world is therefore still, just, if we stretch every sinew – by setting a proper price for carbon – within reach…"
The invitation from President Hollande to The Prince was made in recognition of his decades of work to promote environmental awareness and to combat climate change.
Speaking at the Forests and Climate Change meeting today Mme Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, who will play a pivotal role as host of COP21, said:
"The President of France has invited Your Royal Highness to participate in the official opening of COP21.Your presence and your words will, I am sure, prove a stimulating inspiration for everyone.
"France has long admired your commitment vis-à-vis the fight against climate change. You have played a pioneering role in this respect. You have chosen today one of the most pressing and symbolic issues. Forests are in effect both the victims of climate change and a solution to overcome its consequences."
The Prince of Wales has been an environmental leader for over 40 years, working with businesses, charities, governments and other organizations to help promote sustainable ways of living and working. His Royal Highness made his first speech on the environment in December 1968 and has long warned of the irreversible effects of climate change. In October 2007 he set-up The Prince's Rainforests Project to slow tropical deforestation and combat climate change. This evolved into The Prince's International Sustainability Unit which was established in 2010 to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world - such as food security, ecosystem resilience and the depletion of natural capital.
The Prince of Wales attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) in December 2009 after an invitation from the Danish Government. The Prince gave a speech during the opening ceremony of the conference.
The Prince of Wales will arrive in Paris on Sunday 29th November 2015. On the 30th November after attending the opening ceremony of COP21, The Prince will undertake further engagements in Paris. Further details will be released in due course.