By Catherine McKenna - Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada

I’d first like to pay tribute to Maurice Strong, an accomplished, industrious Canadian who passed away last November. He was the guiding force behind the 1972 Stockholm Conference, where the foundations of UNEP were created, and he was also UNEP’s first Executive Director.

By Pablo Badenier Martinez - Minister of the Environment, Chile

The evidence is irrefutable: the climate is changing, generating a range of environmental, social and economic problems. Without a doubt, climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.

By Edgar Gutierrez-Espeleta - Minister of Environment, Energy and Sea, Costa Rica

Historically, Costa Rica has been proactive in climate change negotiations. It announced in 2007 its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2021.

By Partha Dasgupta - Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge, and visiting professor, New College of the Humanities

In September last year the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by the year 2030.

By Park Won Soon - Mayor of Seoul and President of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Climate change and air pollution are not problems for just one country, one city or one town. The melting of the Arctic threatens the survival of polar bears, and the city of Seoul shares responsibility for this.

By Libby Schaaf - Mayor of Oakland, California, USA

People across the globe celebrated the signing of the United Nations climate accord in Paris in December. It was truly a landmark event and I was proud to be a part of the Local Climate Leaders Circle of Mayors representing my city and others across the United States.

By Zhu Guangyao - Executive Vice President, Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, former Vice Administrator of Chinese National Environmental Protection Administration

The Chinese government always attaches great importance to environmental protection, adopting a series of major measures in promoting sustainable development.

By Murilo Portugal - President, Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban)

The Paris Agreement has sent clear signals to markets and to the financial sector that more than 190 countries are going to vigorously pursue the transition to a low-carbon economy that’s resilient to mounting climate change.

By Nicole Lederer - Chair and co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

You may not have felt the ground shaking, but the energy world underwent a seismic shift in 2015. The impacts of the Paris climate agreement, and other energy policy advances, on people everywhere in the world and at every level of the economy will be beneficial and profound.

By Emily Benson - Programme Manager of the Green Economy Coalition

The richest 1 per cent of the world’s population now controls 50 per cent of global assets, while the poorest half owns just 1 per cent – and that gap is set to widen. At the same time, 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystems are degraded.