I was inspired by their call for “a new era of the pursuit of development, ending poverty, leaving no person behind, and protecting the environment”, and for an international cooperative system fully equipped to address climate change. This is precisely the right vision and attitude, and a powerful antidote to today’s pervasive gloom.

Only by embracing this holistic approach can we successfully implement not only the Paris Agreement but also the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Taken together – which is absolutely essential, because without action on climate change, the rest of the 2030 Development Agenda will be unachievable – they have the potential to improve the lives of millions of people across the planet. It must be a bottom-up approach, where leaders and policymakers show humility, and listen to the experiences and voices of people at the sharp end of climate change, poverty, violence and injustice.

This is no time for naïve optimism – the challenges ahead are stark, and the voices of hostility are strident. But I remain inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela, who said in 2003 that “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.”

As a member of The Elders, the group of independent former leaders founded by Mandela to work for peace and human rights, I will hold his words close in the coming year and hope they will continue to inspire citizens across the globe to trust their best instincts and work together for justice.