United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and a group of global leaders from developing and developed countries met yesterday and voiced support during a high-level dialogue for a climate action plan that targets those sectors where progress by the Climate Summit 2019 could have the greatest impacts on reducing emissions and building resilience.
The Secretary-General proposed a strategy to the leaders that focus on six key issues that include investment in clean technology, carbon pricing, the energy transition, risk mitigation, augmenting the contribution of sub-national actors and business, and mobilizing finance. Several leaders also proposed that the challenges of deforestation and ocean degradation also be addressed.
The informal dialogue took place during the UN General Assembly High Level Week with leaders or high-level officials from more than 20 countries, followed a meeting that the Secretary-General had with non-party stakeholders on Monday. That meeting emphasized the need for greater engagement by local governments, states, regions, businesses and investors, and communities to fully implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Your leadership is absolutely key to attaining and raising the ambition of the Paris Agreement,” Mr. Guterres told the leaders. “I announced the intention to convene a Climate Summit in 2019, here in New York. We need all actors in society to work for a resilient and low emissions future – national and local governments, businesses and investors, scientists, civil society and citizens everywhere.
“That is why I asked you here today,” he added. “We need to build ambition and accelerate action – before it’s too late.”
While praising the Secretary-General’s bold move to convene a Climate Summit in 2019, leaders not only expressed support to the Secretary-General’s Climate Strategy but also offered to lead a specific area. President of France spearheaded discussions on finance and will be hosting a Summit in December 2017 to focus on this critical issue. China and India focused on the need for scaling up efforts in energy and technology. Prime Minister of Denmark offered to build a “Clean Energy Investment Coalition, while the President of Hungary offered to galvanize efforts in promoting the role of the non-state actors. Prime Minister of UK outlined the need for enhancing efforts at risk mitigation, while the Prime Minister of Norway agreed to focus on carbon pricing. The Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers said they were also accelerating their own climate action, and exchanged views on how actions in specific areas could progress further.
Included in the dialogue were leaders from Australia, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Russian Federation, Mexico, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The discussions, first of its kind since the leaders gathered in Paris in 2015, were aimed at reinvigorating highest political level engagement to herald a new phase at mobilizing and scaling up transformative action that will allow the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. They also recognize that the coalitions that have come together to develop and adopt the Paris Agreement must now shift their focus from regime building and containment of emission to implementation and ramping up of ambition.