UNITED NATIONS - Ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday welcomed at the world body’s headquarters in New York UN Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, whom he has hailed as the world body’s “new voice for climate advocacy.”

The secretary-general announced the appointment of the renowned actor and dedicated environmentalist last week, telling reporters that Mr. DiCaprio’s main focus as  the Organization’s newest Messenger of Peace would be climate change issues. “His global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge,” the UN chief said.  He is expected to join the Secretary-General in Sunday at the Peoples’ Climate March through the streets of Manhattan, where reportedly more than 100,000 people are expected to come together to demand leaders take action in advance of the Climate Summit, which takes place on Tuesday, 23 September.

The UN chief has said that measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, transform the world’s econmies and adopt to the impacts of climate change will require “all hands on deck”, and as such, one of Dicaprio’s first duties as Messenger of Peace will be to address the UN summit.  As he toured UN Headquarters with the Secretary-General this afternoon, DiCaprio told reporters that climate change is perhaps the most important issue of our time, and tackling it will be “no small task.”  Indeed, effective climate action must involve massive cooperation and dedicated action across all sectors of society. “We are at a pivotal turning point as we see the effects of rapid climate change happening right before us,” he said.

DiCaprio congratulated the Secretary-General for begin a climate champion and for gathering so many political and business leaders for the upcoming summit “to try to manifest something tangible to combat climate change.”

At the summit, more than 120 Heads of State and Government are expected to announce their visions and commitments for reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in 2015, as well as make announcements on actions that will reduce emissions, enhance resistance to climate change and mobilize financing for climate action.