Mr. Eliott Harris Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist

Remarks at the Opening Plenary of the World Hydropower Congress

Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to join you all today, at this seventh World Hydropower Congress.

I thank the International Hydropower Association for organizing this important event.

I also extend my sincere gratitude to the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition of France and to all the organising partners for their support and contributions to make this important gathering possible.

Four years ago, in the same city that hosts us today, the nations of the world adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

That same year, Member States also adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These two landmark agreements provide a transformative vision for shared prosperity, peace and partnership on a healthy planet.

And they must to go hand in hand.

Given the multiple inter-linkages between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, integrated implementation of both agendas can significantly accelerate progress and yield many co-benefits.

For that to happen, however, policies, programmes and partnerships must be designed to facilitate synergetic approaches and reduce potential trade-offs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The rapid and responsible deployment of clean, renewable energy is crucial to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Hydropower accounts for 70% of the world’s renewable generation capacity.

The potential contribution of hydropower to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda is huge.

The development of hydropower, however, does not come without environmental and social costs, as our colleague from the World Bank has just mentioned.

Deforestation, ecosystem impacts and the displacement of local communities can be among its potential negative consequences, especially associated with large-scale projects.

It is critical that the hydropower development takes explicit measures to minimize and compensate any social, economic and environmental impacts.

Experiences of ITAIPU Binational show how to promote the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem services and local cultures, while harnessing the power of hydro resources for energy, economic development and climate action.

UN DESA is partnering with the ITAIPU Binational to develop the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network, as a global multi-stakeholder platform to promote integrated approaches to SDG 6 on water and SDG 7 on energy.

Ladies and gentlemen,
We are not on track to meeting our overall aspirations for climate and the SDGs.

The time we have for accelerating progress is limited.

We must dramatically step up our actions.

Developing countries face an average annual funding gap of some $2.5 trillion of investment in health, education, roads, power, water and sanitation.

If we continue business as usual, we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We need a fundamental shift in the international financial system to address urgent global threats.

We need to mobilize trillions of dollars for sustainable investments, including in climate action.

The message is clear: we need more ambition, more action, and more political will.

This is why the Secretary-General will convene a Climate Action Summit in September 2019.

Back to back with the Climate Action Summit, world leaders will also meet at the SDG Summit to review progress toward the SDGs and chart a way forward.

We count on all of you to mobilize ambitious actions, commitments and partnerships toward these Summits and beyond, to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

I wish you a productive conference.

Thank you.

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