Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks at High-Level Segment
Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, I have the great pleasure to welcome you all to the first Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our co-organizer, the UNFCCC secretariat, and our host Government of Kingdom of Denmark, in particular its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, and Ministry of Finance.

I also extend my special thanks to the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNEP DTU Partnership, as well as the European Commission, for their support and contributions to make this important gathering possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The year 2015 marked a milestone in humanity’s efforts towards a better and more stable future for all. Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement were adopted in that year.

The forums in which they were adopted were different, but they stand to succeed or fail, together.

Achieving the transformative Sustainable Development Goals and addressing climate change must go hand-in-hand. Policies, programmes and partnerships must be designed to work together, to achieve synergies and reduce or eliminate the trade-offs.

There are many places where such convergence is possible. For example, energy transitions are at the heart of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. But these also hold the potential for eradicating poverty, creating jobs, improving health and contributing to more sustainable ecosystems.

Similarly, moving towards sustainable food systems under SDG 2 … more sustainable industrialization under SDG 9 … and changing patterns of consumption and production under SDG 12 …, can all contribute towards climate action. At the same time, they help achieve overarching objectives such as promoting prosperity and leaving no one behind.

At the national level, this calls for coherence across Nationally Determined Commitments, National Development Plans, as well as National Adaptation Plans and National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies.

Such coherence is needed at regional and global levels too.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all understand the urgency of the implementation. We are not on track to meeting our overall aspirations for climate and the SDGs, and the time we have for accelerating progress is limited.

On the other hand, it is possible to scale up ambition when we recognize how these two sets of goals are essentially moving towards a single purpose.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is proud to co-convene this conference as a contribution to promoting such joined-up action at all levels.

We started this journey with the first ever SDG pavilion in Katowice, Poland last December, in the history of COPs on Climate Change.

The SDG pavilion and this conference attest to the critical importance the United Nations attaches to synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

During this conference, I hope that you will come up with a set of concrete recommendations for:
strengthening synergies,
increasing ambition,
advancing implementation action,
maximizing co-benefits, and
stimulating multi-stakeholder partnerships.

We envision several specific outcomes.
First, the outcome of this conference will feed into the review of SDG 13 on climate actions during the High-Level Political Forum in July, in New York this year.

Second, UN DESA, together with the UNFCCC secretariat and like-minded partners, will establish a dynamic global knowledge network and platform on the Climate-SDGs synergies. This will build on all the inputs received for this conference.

We intend to launch the platform in time for HLPF in July and use it to continually disseminate knowledge and good practice.

Third, we will actively identify and promote multi-stakeholder partnerships and commitments that can directly contribute to the Climate Action Summit and the SDG Summit in September.

Fourth, to continue to advance such approaches, we plan to establish an SDG-Climate Synergy Pavilion at UNFCCC COP 25 to continue to advocate the process, in collaboration with our partners.

Distinguished Participants,

We look forward to working with all of you to support the accelerated implementation of both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Thank you again for joining this Conference and I look forward to fruitful discussions.

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