The Elders

Gro Harlem BrundtlandDear friends,

Hina Jilani, Desmond Tutu and I travelled to Hawaii in August to hold debates on leadership with the island communities, for an initiative called Pillars of Peace Hawaii. My fellow Elders and I left the islands feeling inspired.

Aloha to peace

Of course there is the picturesque setting. But there is much more to the place, starting with Hawaii's impressive cultural and ethnic diversity. On the map, you see how perfectly the islands sit between East and West, in the middle of the Pacific.

Hawaii is not without problems, such as social and economic inequalities, which is why initiatives like Pillars of Peace, started by the Hawai'i Community Foundation, are so valuable. Nevertheless the population has an exceptionally rich and unique perspective: they see themselves, perhaps more so than others, as citizens of the world.

Stopping climate change now, not tomorrow

This idea of being a 'citizen of the world' could not be more true in today's world, when there are crises that no one is able to escape. I am talking about climate change.

Climate change is here. Our leaders must act #NowNotTomorrow

Next week on Tuesday 23 September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a major Summit in New York. Delegates from virtually every government will look for a way to reach a robust and legally-binding agreement to stop climate change. The deadline for the agreement itself is December 2015. But let us be clear: climate change requires action now, not tomorrow.

World leaders need to show bold leadership and ambition at this week's summit. Otherwise the solutions we need – which exist here, today – will slip through our fingers by December 2015.

We simply cannot entertain the possibility of failing to reach a strong agreement. The science is clear. No one is safe from the effects of climate change. The weakest and poorest will suffer first and worst. Climate change is a threat to human rights and will likely increase the odds of conflict.

This Sunday Mary Robinson and I will attend the People's Climate March in New York City. We expect it to be the largest gathering in history demanding action on climate change, with events around the world. If you cannot join the march in the streets wherever you are, you can join in the conversation: #NowNotTomorrow.

Best wishes,

Gro Harlem Brundtland

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