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Source: United Nations 4

Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ message to the event organized by the Government of Guyana on its Chairmanship of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, today:

I thank the Government of Guyana for organizing this meeting of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China to discuss climate change in the context of the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic.  The pandemic and the measures to address its impact have been halting or reversing progress achieved on many of the Sustainable Development Goals.

As usual, the vulnerable are the first and hardest hit.  Up to 115 million people may be pushed into extreme poverty this year, on top of already unacceptable levels.  Millions of people have lost jobs and livelihoods.  Education for almost 90 per cent of students has been interrupted.  Attending online has not been an option for almost a third.  Undernourishment is on the rise, childhood vaccination services are threatened and care for other diseases has been severely disrupted.

Meanwhile, the climate emergency continues unabated, again threatening progress across the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Group of 77 members are among the countries at greatest risk from the impacts of climate disruption.  Ambitious multilateral action and solidarity are needed to save lives and livelihoods from the pandemic and the climate crisis.  We need to use the recovery from COVID‑19 to put us back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to win the battle against climate change.

Climate action will be central to all our efforts.  We need to attain the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  That means limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, supporting adaptation and climate resilience, and working towards net‑zero emissions before 2050.

Currently, the world is way off track.  The last decade was the warmest on record.  We are witnessing more frequent and severe impacts from wildfires, floods, droughts and storms in every region.  Climate action can help rebuild our economies, create millions of better jobs, and improve our health as we replace polluting industries with clean, efficient technologies.  It can provide the engine for growth in developing countries that will eradicate poverty and drive sustained improvements in human development.

To promote a sustainable COVID‑19 recovery, we have set out six climate‑positive actions that countries and other stakeholders can take:  invest in sustainable jobs and businesses; ensure no more bailouts to polluting industries and end subsidies for fossil fuels, especially coal; consider climate risks in all financial decisions and policymaking; work together; and ensure no one is left behind.

I count on members of the Group of 77 and China to serve as the global role models for a green, inclusive and sustainable recovery.  The countries you represent have historically been among the strongest advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals and ambitious climate action.  The world needs your leadership now more than ever.

In advance of COP26 [the United Nations Climate Change Conference] next year, I am encouraging all Governments to submit more ambitious nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement that are consistent with global net‑zero emissions by 2050.  These plans need to promote policies, investments and actions that are carbon‑neutral, create decent jobs and protect nature.

I thank those of you that have already submitted a more ambitious nationally determined contributions and a strategy to get to net‑zero emissions.  And I thank the Governments that have pledged to do so.  I encourage you to use the 12 December Summit I will co‑convene with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Chile to announce your climate plans, nationally determined contributions and strategies, as well as the concrete policy measures that will take us to net‑zero.

I also hope to see more ambitious commitments on adaptation and resilience.  It is essential that the most vulnerable are shielded from the worst impacts of climate disruption.  But adaptation and resilience are currently vastly under‑resourced.  To that end, I am urging donors to fully capitalize the adaptation and resilience initiatives launched at the Climate Action Summit.  They need to be fully operational and scaled up.

The Paris Agreement emphasizes the importance of common but differentiated responsibilities in light of national circumstances.  Most of you will need financial and technical support to recover from COVID‑19 and to scale up your climate ambition.  A critical part of this will be enhanced financial assistance.  That includes the decade‑long goal of mobilizing $100 billion dollars a year for mitigation and adaptation.  That is one of the reasons why I have been co‑leading the Financing for Development initiative with Jamaica and Canada.

I am also encouraging developed countries and financial institutions to use the Finance in Common Summit as well as the 12 December Summit to announce new and more ambitious climate finance commitments.  And I am asking Governments, as well as public and multilateral development banks, to work with you on addressing debt and liquidity to liberate resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

For your part, I count on your Ministers of Finance to engage with colleagues on the boards of multilateral banks to use their voting power to push for alignment with net‑zero goals and a strong enhancement of support for resilience and adaptation.  Together we can emerge from this crisis stronger, more sustainable and more resilient.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.

MIL OSI United Nations News