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Developed Countries Must Deliver Climate Justice, Secretary-General Tells African Youth Assembly, Underlining Need ‘to Turn Up the Volume in Calling for Change’

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the African Youth Climate Assembly, in Nairobi today:

Young leaders, friends.  Climate change is here, and an injustice burns at its heart.  African countries have contributed next to nothing to global emissions, yet are suffering searing heat, ferocious floods and deadly droughts.  But humanity has the power to change course, and people like you have led the way.

The passion and determination of young people around the world is responsible for much of the climate action that we have seen.  You are what climate leadership looks like.  And I ask that you keep pushing.  Because we have the tools and the technologies we need to protect ourselves from climate change and to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C, while supporting sustainable development.

But world leaders must take a quantum leap in climate action, with the biggest polluters at the front.  To achieve this, I have proposed an Acceleration Agenda.  This calls on countries to hit fast-forward on their efforts so that developed countries reach net-zero as close as possible to 2040, and emerging economies by 2050.  And it urges Governments to accelerate a fair and just transition from fossil fuels to renewables, leaving no one behind.

Developed countries must also deliver climate justice:  taking action to ensure affordable finance flows to developing countries; delivering the promised $100 billion a year for climate action; and doubling finance for adaptation.  And all countries must operationalize the loss and damage fund this year — promises made must be promises kept.

At the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, I will be urging all leaders to act.  And I ask you to turn up the volume in calling for change.  Mobilize your friends, colleagues and networks, and use this Assembly to make connections and make your voices heard.  The United Nations stands with you.  Together, let’s fight for a better, brighter future.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.