UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton: Speech at the world premiere of After the Rain in Skopje

20 Nov 2013

Good evening, everyone, and on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, let me welcome you warmly to tonight’s premiere of the documentary film “After the Rain.”

This is actually my first official day on the job here in Skopje, and I think it is entirely fitting that my first speech in your beautiful country is devoted to the urgent challenge of climate change.

To many people, climate change still remains an abstraction; a threat with only theoretical, hypothetical impact; something that might raise world temperatures many decades from now.

But the point we want to make tonight is that climate change is here, and it is here now.
Climate change was behind last week’s apocalyptic typhoon in the Philippines, just as it was behind a wave of other recent weather disasters.

As our Secretary-General said yesterday during the high-level climate-change talks now under way in Warsaw, “All around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet.”

The impact is being felt here, as well, particularly by the farmers who are the heroes of tonight’s film.

Agriculture is the sector most vulnerable to climate change. That puts this country at high risk, since one-third of the population lives from farming.

As familiar weather patterns and rhythms are disrupted, Macedonian farmers will have to adapt.

UNDP has been working with the Ministry of Environment to identify the policies, tools and practices that can help the country’s farmers cope with the dramatic changes they now face.

Effective solutions will require the broad engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, so we hope tonight’s film will inspire everyone here to join the effort to avert the threats we now face.

Let me conclude by congratulating the director, Biljana Gavranlieva, for creating such a powerful call to action … and thanking State Secretary Sonja Lepitkova and the Ministry of Environment for the excellent partnership.

Thank you all for your attention, and enjoy the film!