Activities of Secretary-General in Egypt 6–9 November
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh from New York in the afternoon of Sunday, 6 November.
Upon arrival, he had an internal meeting with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Simon Stiell, and his climate team, at his hotel. He then worked with his team on the next day’s speeches.
On Monday, the Secretary-General took part in welcoming the Heads of State and Government to the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), alongside Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He then took part in the family photo before speaking at the opening ceremony of the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit. In his remarks, he told leaders that today’s urgent crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding on climate commitments or greenwashing. It is unacceptable, outrageous and self-defeating to put climate change on the back burner, he stressed, adding that we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. The Secretary-General also called for a Climate Solidarity Pact between developed and emerging economies. (See Press Release SG/SM/21573.)
He then took part in the round table on Just Transitions. This was followed by a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif. After the meeting, the two leaders gave joint remarks to the media at the Pakistan Pavilion. The Secretary-General reiterated that Pakistan deserves massive support directly from the international community and deserves its loss and damage to be considered as a reality and recognized through financial mechanisms.
In the evening, the Secretary-General took part in the Launch of the Action Plan on Early Warning Systems in which he said that around the world, vulnerable communities have no way of knowing that hazardous weather is on its way. The Action Plan sets out the way forward to right this wrong, and protect lives and livelihoods, he said. (See Press Release SG/SM/21574.)
The Secretary-General held a series of bilateral meetings in his office including with the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni; the Federal President of Austria, Alexander Von Der Bellen, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson.
That evening, the Secretary-General attended a reception organized by the Government of Egypt.
On Tuesday, 8 November, the Secretary-General met with Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate of China. This was followed by meetings with regional groupings from the least developed countries and the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean.
He then attended the Accelerating Adaptation in Africa event, which was hosted by President Macky Sall of Senegal. This was followed by the round table on climate change and the sustainability of vulnerable communities.
He also met with Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, before heading to the public launch of the report of the High-Level Expert Group on Net Zero commitments by non-State actors in which he called on all non-State actors to review their pledges and align them with the report’s guidelines. He also called on leaders to provide non-State entities with a level playing field to transition to a just, net-zero future. (See Press Release SG/SM/21576.)
This event was followed by a short intervention alongside Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Li Junhua, at the inauguration of the SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Pavilion.
In the evening, the Secretary-General met with the Alliance of Small Island States and then with John Neal, Chief Executive Officer of Lloyds.
The next day, the Secretary-General recorded a video for social media in which he thanked young people for leading the fight against climate change everywhere.
He then spoke at the launch of United States Vice President Al Gore’s climate TRACE initiative which seeks to track global greenhouse gas emissions. The Secretary-General said initiatives like this one will be ushering in an era of radical transparency for emissions tracking, making it more difficult to greenwash or to cheat, and he added that this should be a wake-up call for Governments and the financial sector, especially those that continue to invest in and underwrite fossil fuel pollution. (See Press Release SG/SM/21578.)
The Secretary-General also heard that day from his Youth Advisory Group and with the COP27 Youth Constituency and he stressed to them that their actions in the streets on social media and everywhere else are crucial to the fight against climate change. He urged them to not give up and promised he would not give up fighting for this cause either.
He then had a bilateral meeting with the United States Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry. This was followed by a meeting with his Youth Advisory Group and then with the COP27 Youth Constituency.
He also had a short photo opportunity with the editor of Al Ahram after having given an interview for the newspaper ahead of his visit.
The Secretary-General departed Sharm el-Sheikh that afternoon for Phnom Penh, Cambodia.