Secretary-General, Addressing Landlocked Developing States Meeting, Calls for New Level of International Cooperation in Supporting Transition to Net Zero by 2050

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the high-level meeting on the landlocked developing countries, in Dubai today:

It is a privilege to participate in this high-level meeting of landlocked developing countries.

Let me begin by thanking the President of Botswana for your strong leadership.  I’ve been for many years a great admirer of your country.  Landlocked, but a middle-income country with exemplary congruence with social cohesion and sustainable development.

Now the specific challenges and vulnerabilities of landlocked developing countries are well-documented.  But, they do not receive nearly enough global attention.

Landlocked developing countries are on the front lines of the climate chaos — confronting a range of dramatic impacts:  desertification and prolonged droughts, catastrophic biodiversity loss and rapidly melting glaciers.  However, you are also in pole position to reap the rewards of the renewables revolution.

You can be champions of an energy transition that is sustainable, just, inclusive and equitable.  But, to do all of this, you need much, much more support.

The Global Stocktake to be approved in this COP [Conference of the Parties] is critical.  It must mark a turning point towards a surge of global climate ambition in 2025 and beyond.  And that demands action across three priority areas.

First, action on finance.  And it’s good to have a Minister for Finance together with us.  We need to see a boosting of contributions to the new loss and damage fund.  It started well, but with very little money.  It must be a much bigger fund than what it looks like at the present moment.  And we need developed countries to make good on their financial commitments — by clarifying how they deliver or are delivering the $100 billion a year and setting out a clear plan to double adaptation finance.

But, we must go further still.  We must reform the deeply unfair global financial architecture so that it better represents developing countries and better responds to their needs.

We need an international financial system that meets the needs of the landlocked developing countries with an effective debt-relief mechanism that supports payment suspensions, longer lending terms and lower rates.

We need international financial institutions to fully align with the Paris Agreement.  And we need to increase the capital base and change the business models of multilateral development banks so that they leverage far more private finance at reasonable costs to developing countries and in particular the landlocked developing countries.

Second, action on reducing emissions.  We must preserve the limit of 1.5°C of heating, as set out in the Paris Agreement, to avert the worst of climate chaos.  The Global Stocktake must set clear expectations that countries’ 2025 nationally determined contributions will align with the 1.5°C limit. And it must advance a just, fair and equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables:  By committing countries to triple renewables capacity, double energy efficiency and bringing clean energy to all, by 2030.  And by committing to phase out fossil fuels on a clear timeframe that aligns with the 1.5°C limit.

Countries must also take action in line with my Climate Solidary Pact and Acceleration Agenda:  hitting fast forward on their net-zero timelines so that they get there as soon as possible to 2040 in developed countries and 2050 in emerging economies.

There is this, I would say, very unfair situation.  There are no landlocked developing countries that are big emitters, but landlocked developing countries are on the front line of the negative devastating impacts of climate change.  So, I think you have a moral authority to tell big emitters, namely the G20 countries that represent 80 per cent of the emissions, it’s time to seriously reduce emissions in order for landlocked developing countries to have a chance not to be so dramatically impacted by the acceleration of the climate chaos consequences.

We need to work together with a new level of international cooperation — Governments, countries and companies — to support the global transition to net zero by 2050.  This includes:  putting a fair price on carbon; protecting everyone, everywhere with early warning systems; and aligning all critical emitting sectors with 1.5°C.

In these priorities and more, the United Nations stands with you, with the landlocked developing countries.  Together, we can lay the foundation for a more resilient and sustainable future for over 500 million people of landlocked developing countries, leaving no one behind as it is our key message of the Sustainable Development Goals.  And we can build on this progress at the third United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries next June.

I salute the Government of Rwanda for hosting the Conference and I’m prepared to participate there.  The United Nations system will be in time mobilized to ensure a successful and decisive conference.

And I have to tell you we are proud to be your partner — today and in the future.  And we take very seriously the dramatic impacts you are facing and the limitation of resources that most landlocked developing countries have to be able to provide to their people what they deserve.

There is no reason for landlocked developing countries not to be able to provide to their own citizens the same kinds of level of well-being that we want everywhere across the world.

For information media. Not an official record.