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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Lima, Peru, 8 October 2015 - Secretary-General's message to Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance [delivered by Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change]

I am pleased to send greetings to this inaugural session of the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance.  I commend your advocacy for the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The climate conference in Paris in December will cap a transformational year for human progress.  In March we had the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai.  In July, Addis Ababa hosted the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.  And last month, in New York, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a blueprint for ending poverty, promoting inclusive prosperity and respect for human rights, and protecting the planet.

Climate change is addressed as a stand-alone goal, but it is thoroughly integrated into all the relevant Sustainable Development Goals.  Unless we take decisive action on climate change, we cannot achieve sustainable development. 

The world’s most vulnerable people and countries – those that have done least to cause the planet’s warming – must take precedence in our response to the global climate challenge.  This is a moral imperative and a practical necessity.  The impacts of climate change are increasingly visible.  Decades of development gains stand to be reversed.

I welcome the submission of national climate action plans by 147 countries, including 52 small island developing states and least developed countries, representing more than 85 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

But let me emphasize: these Intended Nationally Determined Contributions are a floor – not a ceiling – for the world’s collective ambition.  Governments must ensure there are provisions in the Paris agreement that will enable them to regularly review and strengthen ambition in line with science.  A Paris agreement must send a clear signal that the transformation of the global economy in a low-carbon direction is inevitable, beneficial, and already under way.

Even as we reduce emissions, we must also strengthen resilience to inevitable climate impacts.  More than 80 per cent of INDCs include adaptation plans.  Small island developing states and least developed countries need targeted support to implement these plans.  Innovative financing mechanisms can provide debt relief as well as much-needed resources from both the public and private sectors.  The G7’s Climate Risk Insurance initiative, the French Early Warning System, the African Renewable Energy Initiative and the African Adaptation Initiative are notable examples that will help vulnerable countries manage climate risks and mobilize private capital.

By Paris, we must have a politically credible trajectory for mobilizing $100 billion per annum by 2020.  It is also critical that the Green Climate Fund is in a position to approve projects that prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable.

As we prepare for Paris, I ask for your support.  Make it clear to your leaders, your peers and the public that now is the time for ambitious national action and global cooperation on climate change.  I urge you to encourage your leaders, and the private sector, to prioritize and invest in resilience efforts.

The more we delay, the more we will pay.  But, the good news is that there is a great deal we can do to reduce risks.  And, by taking climate action, we are also advancing our new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I count on your leadership and thank you for convening this important meeting.

Statements on 8 October 2015