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Statement Attributable to the Secretary-General

I am very glad to announce that today I received the Russian Federation’s instrument of ratification for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I congratulate President Putin and the Russian Federation for their leadership in making it possible for the Protocol to enter into force – as it will, 90 days from tomorrow, on 16 February 2005.

This is a historic step forward in the world’s efforts to combat a truly global threat. Most important, it ends a long period of uncertainty. Those countries that have ratified the Protocol, and which have been trying to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases even before its entry into force, now have a legally binding obligation to do so. Businesses that have been exploring the realm of green technology now have a strong signal about the market viability of their products and services. And the financial community and insurance industry, which have been trying to “put a price” on the risks associated with climate change, now have a stronger basis for their decision-making on incentives and corporate performance.

All countries must now do their utmost to combat climate change and to keep it from undermining our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. I therefore take this opportunity to urge those developed countries that have not ratified the Protocol to ratify it and limit their emissions.

The Parties to the Climate Change Convention will have their next major meeting in Buenos Aires from 6 to 17 December. I hope they will use that occasion to seize the promising possibilities that have been opened up by this major development.