Mr. Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his speech at the conclusion of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh urged stakeholders to play their various roles in addressing the climate change crisis.
He thanked the Egyptian government and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry – for their hospitality and recognized Simon Stiell and the United Nations Climate Change team for all their efforts.
The Secretary-General paid tribute to the delegates and members of civil society who came to Sharm el-Sheikh to push leaders for real climate action.
COP27 took place not far from Mount Sinai, a site that is central to many faiths and to the story of Moses, or Musa.
“It’s fitting. Climate chaos is a crisis of biblical proportions. The signs are everywhere. Instead of a burning bush, we face a burning planet. From the beginning, this conference has been driven by two overriding themes: justice and ambition. Justice for those on the frontlines who did so little to cause the crisis – including the victims of the recent floods in Pakistan that inundated one-third of the country.
“Ambition to keep the 1.5-degree limit alive and pull humanity back from the climate cliff. This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period. Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust.
“The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard. The UN system will support this effort every step of the way. Justice should also mean several other things,” he said.
He said COP27 means finally making good on the long-delayed promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries; clarity and a credible roadmap to double adaptation finance; changing the business models of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions.
He said banks and international financial institutions must accept more risk and systematically leverage private finance for developing countries at reasonable costs.
The Secretary-General clarified the point that our planet is still in the emergency room hence the need to drastically reduce emissions now but bemoaned the fact that this is an issue that COP27 did not address.
“A fund for loss and damage is essential – but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map – or turns an entire African country to desert. The world still needs a giant leap in climate ambition. The red line we must not cross is the line that takes our planet over the 1.5-degree temperature limit.
“To have any hope of keeping to 1.5, we need to massively invest in renewables and end our addiction to fossil fuels. We must avoid an energy scramble in which developing countries finish last – as they did in the race for COVID-19 vaccines. Doubling down on fossil fuels is double trouble. The Just Energy Transition Partnerships are important pathways to accelerate the phasing out of coal and scaling up renewables. But we need much more. That’s why I am pushing so hard for a Climate Solidarity Pact.”
He called for a Pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal.
It should be a Pact to mobilize – together with International Financial Institutions and the private sector — financial and technical support for large emerging economies to accelerate their renewable energy transition.
This is essential to keep the 1.5-degree limit within reach – and for everyone to play their part.
COP27 concludes with much homework and little time. He said we are already halfway between the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 deadline hence the need for all hands on deck to drive justice and ambition.
This also includes the ambition to end the suicidal war on nature that is fueling the climate crisis, driving species to extinction, and destroying ecosystems.
Mr. Guterres said next month’s UN Biodiversity Conference is the moment to adopt an ambitious global biodiversity framework for the next decade, drawing from the power of nature-based solutions and the critical role of indigenous communities.
The UN chief said justice and ambition require the essential voice of civil society and emphasised that the most vital energy source in the world is people’s power. That is why it is so important to understand the human rights dimension of climate action.
According to him, climate advocates – led by the moral voice of young people — have kept the agenda moving through the darkest of days.
“They must be protected. To all of them, I say we share your frustration. But we need you now more than ever. Unlike the stories from the Sinai peninsula, we cannot wait for a miracle from a mountaintop. It will take each and every one of us fighting in the trenches each and every day. Together, let’s not relent in the fight for climate justice and climate ambition. We can and must win this battle for our lives,” he added
You can download the video of the Secretary-Generals statement here:
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