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Friday, April 22, 2016, 22:55

171 countries gather to sign Paris pact

By Xinhua

171 countries gather to sign Paris pact
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change ceremony, April 22, 2016 at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

UNITED NATIONS - Leaders from 171 countries gathered at the United Nations headquarters on Friday to sign the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, which is the first step toward the pact's entry into force.

"I urge all countries to move quickly to join the agreement at the national level so that the Paris Agreement can enter into force as early as possible," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening ceremony of the event.

Noting that the window for keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius is rapidly closing, Ban called on the global community to "intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies."

Adopted by 196 parties last year in Paris, the agreement sets a target of holding the global average rise in temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

171 countries gather to sign Paris pact
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change ceremony, April 22, 2016 at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Moreover, the UN chief pointed out that "we must support developing countries in making this transition," as "the poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create.

Taking place on the International Mother Earth Day, the signing ceremony would break the first-day record for signatures which is previously set in 1982 when 119 states signed the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

National representatives will have the chance to speak throughout the day and a high-level event on implementation will convene in the afternoon.

After Friday, other countries still have one year to ink the agreement as it is open for signature from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017.

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