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Photos: Behind The Scenes at The NYC Paris Agreement Signing

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and François Hollande, the president of France, catch up outside the UN headquarters in New York. Photo: @franceonu/Twitter
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and François Hollande, the president of France, catch up outside the UN headquarters in New York. Photo: @franceonu/Twitter

History was made in New York last week when 174 countries and the European Union signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. You may have seen it on the news, but what was it like to be there?

The Daily Planet has found a few behind the scenes snaps that will give you an idea of the atmosphere.

Before the opening ceremony kicked off at 8:30 local time, UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon made time to meet with actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, a photo from his official spokesperson confirms.

François Hollande, the French president, also ran into DiCaprio, one of the photos tweeted by the French UN representation shows.

Events like this are a great opportunity to catch up with foreign colleagues, and the photos show that Hollande also met with US chief diplomat John Kerry and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (top left).

The photo at the bottom right shows UN artist Yann Toma at work in the general assembly hall.

Yann Toma (left) is an arts professor at Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris and has been documenting the signing ceremony for the UN with his drawings. He drew a portrait of Moroccan climate change minister Hakima El Haité – who is preparing Marrakesh climate summit – this photo from COP22 shows.

This photo by UN climate chief Christiana Figueres shows some of the almost 200 children who joined politicians and functionaries in the UN’s general assembly hall. They received a standing ovation, Figueres says.

EU Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič took this selfie when the children entered the room. The Paris Agreement is “for their future” he said.

Catherine McKenna – Canada’s climate change minister (acting as reporter for the occasion) – tweeted a Snapchat video of herself and prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau before the signing ceremony started.

Christiana Figueres ran into Trudeau in the UN general assembly hall and could not resist a selfie.

Figueres also tweeted this photo of US secretary of state John Kerry, who had brought his grand daughter along for the occasion.

McKenna gives us a view of what the UN general assembly’s iconic marble podium looks like from the seats in the hall itself.

Figueres and her staff gave the signing a thumbs up, one of her tweets shows.

After a two-hour signing session that ended around 13:30 in New York there was time for coffee and drinks, this photo tweeted by senior UN communications executive Christina Gallach (centre) shows.

On the left Gallach is flanked by the EU’s Maroš Šefčovič and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a women’s rights campaigner from Chad. On the right, she is joined by Siaosi Sovaleni – a member of parliament from Tonga.

France organised a special event to honour Christiana Figueres later that afternoon, this photo from UN climate communicator Nick Nuttal shows. Figueres was awarded with the French Legion d’Honneur by president Hollande at the event.

Finally, McKenna shows us New York’s skyline with the UN buildings at its centre. “It’s been quite a day,” she said, with a hint of understatement.

Have you been inspired by the Paris Agreement? Al Gore says climate change is the “biggest new business opportunity in the history of the world.” If you want to start a business, Climate-KIC could support you.

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