UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday voiced confidence that Donald Trump will not seek to undo the Paris climate deal despite his campaign pledge to cancel the landmark agreement on combating global warming.
The US president-elect, who said during his campaign that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, has vowed to renege on US commitments to cut down greenhouse gas emissions and help finance the transition to a green economy worldwide.
"He has made a lot of worrying statements, but I am sure that he will understand the whole importance and seriousness and urgency," said Ban in an interview to AFP.
"The presidency may be important, but humanity and all our lives and our planet Earth are eternal," he said.
Ban argued that there was a strong consensus in the United States and across the world on the need to address global warming, suggesting Trump would be recklessly out-of-sync if he scrapped the deal.
"Now business communities are fully on board. Civil society members are fully on board. How can one change all this course? It's a huge trend," he said.
"It will create serious problems if anybody wants to undo it, or unravel all this process."
Ban, 72, has singled out the climate accord reached in Paris in December last year as his proudest moment in 10 years as the world's diplomat-in-chief.
The former South Korean foreign minister said he plans to speak by phone with Trump soon and hopes for a meeting before his tenure ends on December 31 to explain how the United Nations expects the United States "to continue to work for humanity."
The billionaire real estate tycoon won the US presidency on a platform that calls for closer ties with Russia, shaking up security alliances and questioning US funding to the United Nations.
The UN chief brushed aside suggestion that the United States, by far the biggest contributor to the United Nations, could cut funding or sidestep the world body in addressing global issues.
"This is what he said during the campaign period, on the campaign trail," Ban said.
"Now, post-election, when he creates his transition team with experts and people with vision and expertise, I am sure that the United States will continue to play a leading role," said Ban in the interview at UN headquarters.
The interview was Ban's first full assessment of the impact of the Trump electoral victory on global diplomacy.