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Pointing to Record High Global Emissions, Deputy Secretary-General Urges Massive Investment in Renewables, at Climate Action Forum

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals, in Geneva today:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt must be a meeting of implementation.  It must deliver concrete results for countries in the ECE region and elsewhere.  And it must do so because every indicator on climate is heading in the wrong direction.

Global emissions are at their highest level in human history, and despite all the warnings we know, they continue to grow and are set to increase by 14 per cent based on current national commitments.

Today, I would like to highlight three priorities for progress on some of the climate initiatives presented during this forum that will help us mitigate the climate crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

First, we must ensure a just energy transition for all.  The energy situation in the ECE region is particularly dire given its high dependency on fossil fuels for some 80 per cent of its primary energy supply.  The droughts seen in Europe in July are also having a severe impact, with rivers running dry and competition for water resources affecting energy and food production.  Achieving universal access to energy must be built on massive investments in renewables.

And these investments must go hand in hand with integrated policies to bolster social protection and create millions of new, decent jobs.  This will require support from donors, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and private financiers, as well as efforts at the national level to create long-term financing strategies to achieve a just and equitable transition.

A significant increase in investments for the development of the minerals and metals needed for the renewable energy revolution is needed.  I am glad the ECE Regional Forum addresses this issue directly.

Second, we must make good on our climate commitments.  Developed countries must get serious and concrete on how they will meet their commitment to delivering $100 billion annually of climate finance to developing countries, and how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion by 2025.  Specifics on targets and timelines will be the litmus test for the $100 billion pledge as the cornerstone of trust in the multilateral process.

International financial institutions, multilateral development banks and other key financing stakeholders must also play their part.  They must overhaul their models, including by going beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to facilitate access to low-cost finance and debt relief to all climate vulnerable countries, and increasing their risk appetite to mobilize trillions from the private sector.

Common sense solutions, including the use of disaster clauses in all debt contracts, or debt-for-Sustainable Development Goals swaps, must also be scaled up to free up fiscal space for investments aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Third, the private sector will determine whether we succeed or fail.  eCE estimates that the total renewable energy investments of the countries in the region did not follow global trends with only 2.2 per cent to the global total.  This has to change.  Foreign aid to support renewable energy development in the region is also lagging behind and needs to be scaled up rapidly.

In closing, I want to highlight the importance of acting with the urgency and scale needed.  Now is the time to commit and demonstrate the power of concerted action.  I thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.