UN Secretary-General’s remarks on the 2019 Climate Summit



Katowice, 4 December 2018

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all know the massive scale of the climate challenge we face.

And we all know we are not on track.

I am pleased to be with you today to talk about the Climate Summit I will host next September in New York to help put us on track.

The Summit will focus on delivering three key outcomes: raising real ambition; transformative action in the real economy; and an unprecedented citizen and youth mobilization.

First, ambition.

Countries need notably to fulfil their pledges.

They also need to raise their ambition.

We need clear moves not only by national governments but also by other actors such as subnational governments, businesses and investors.

Over the coming year, the UN Development Programme, UNFCCC and my team will be supporting national governments as they redefine their Nationally Determined Contributions and their long-term strategies.

I call on all leaders to come to the summit prepared to address not only their progress toward achieving their goals under the Paris Agreement, but also to outline their plans and progress toward raising their ambition.

Second, transformation of the real economy.

The summit will focus on the key areas where both the problems, and the solutions, lie: Energy transition; Industry transition; Nature-based solutions; Cities and Local Action; Resilience.

I count on multiple new transformational commitments from governments, business, finance and civil society in each of these areas, with strong alliances that can ensure that new commitments are as ambitious and concrete as possible.

People sometimes mistake “climate action” with “non-state action”.

In fact, to achieve genuine transformation in the real economy, we need national governments to play a crucial role in each of the robust coalitions which will deliver concrete transformative outcomes.

I invite all governments, businesses, sources of finance – public and private – and civil society organizations to join in the preparatory process to raise real ambition and transform the real economy.

The outcomes of the summit will be your outcomes.

Third, citizen and youth mobilization.

Our younger generations will have to help drive, and complete, the work we start today.

We need to harness their energy, invention and political power to raise climate ambition.

We will strive to achieve an unprecedented mobilization of youth throughout the coming year.

The summit is not an end in itself. It is a tool, a tool to leverage unprecedented ambition, transformation, and mobilization.

To succeed, I need you to engage, invest, and partner now.

The Paris Agreement is not a piece of paper.

It is a historic compact among nations, a compact to ensure our survival.

Here we must have a first step in Katowice but the coming year must put it to use to transform our economies, our minds, and our future.

A central question in this will be dealing with finance. We are now starting a process that we hope will lead to a much stronger mobilization of the financial resources to make sure the Paris decisions, in relation to the mobilization of US$ 100 billion, will be fully met. I have asked President Macron [of France] and the Prime Minister [Andrew Holness] of Jamaica to lead a process of mobilization of the international community, and we will also hope to get involved in this a number of private actors, my Special Envoy [Michael] Bloomberg is very active on that, to form coalitions that can have concrete outcomes that can be clear in relation to the decision made in Paris to be able to disburse US$100 billion per year for 2020-2025, able to support countries both in mitigation and adaptation in the developing world.

This is a central objective of the summit. The capacity to come to the summit with a clear perspective on how that can be delivered and with a transparent approach to the financial dimension that is absolutely crucial for our work to be effective.

At the same time, we believe that the summit will provide an occasion for member states to present in the transformative areas that I mentioned and in relation to the global objectives of both mitigation and adaption, not only a view on how they are implementing the engagements they made in Paris, but how they will be able to raise ambitions substantially to make the nationally determined contributions from 2020 onwards able to defeat climate change. Able to reverse the present trends that are leading us to a very very dramatic situation as you all know.

So, we believe that this summit, and that’s why we want heads of states and governments to be there and to be able to talk, we believe that this summit can be a unique moment of mobilization of the international community leading to, not only the concrete implementation of crucial aspects of the Paris Agreement, namely in relation to finance, but also a very important accelerator to the process of change and improvements of the nationally determined contributions to be done [unintelligible]. 

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