‘Planet on the Brink’, Secretary-General Warns Environment Assembly, Calling for Multilateral Solutions

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message, delivered today to the sixth United Nations Environment Assembly under way in Nairobi:

Thank you for coming together at this important Assembly to tackle the environmental crises we face.  Your efforts are urgent.  Our planet is on the brink.  Ecosystems are collapsing.  Our climate is imploding.  And humanity is to blame.

The fallout — from poisoned rivers to rising seas — harm us all.  Yet those least responsible suffer most — a burning injustice.  We must work together to combat these crises — recognizing the links between them — to put the world on a sustainable path and turbocharge sustainable development.

That means taking urgent action to accelerate a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables; to adapt to extreme weather; deliver climate justice; get a grip on pollution; protect and restore ecosystems; and drive progress towards the other targets in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Countries must set national targets to deliver that Framework. They must capitalize the new Loss and Damage Fund, and they must create new, economy-wide nationally determined contributions by 2025 that align with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Together, we need Governments to deliver a new treaty on plastic pollution and to massively increase finance for sustainable development and for climate and biodiversity action in developing countries — I urge countries to deliver our proposed SDG Stimulus.  And all commitments made by developed countries must be met.

We must also ensure that production and trade of those minerals critical to the renewables revolution is sustainable and provides maximum benefit to developing countries.  The United Nations Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals will support these efforts.

This Assembly plays a vital role in driving environmental action.  And you have shown before that you can unite and deliver — most recently with your historic decision to negotiate a plastic treaty.

I urge you to do so again — and go further.  There are many important resolutions before you.  So, please, take this chance to drive multilateral solutions.  Let’s see that Nairobi spirit deliver once again.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.