Remarks at Launch of the eLearning course on Climate and SDGs synergies

Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am pleased to be with you today. This event to launch the eLearning course on Climate and SDGs synergies, is brought to you by UNITAR, UNFCCC, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA. 

The Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, provide the best framework for tackling today’s most pressing challenges – including climate change, poverty eradication and inequality. They also establish a compass to direct recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Despite increasing efforts over the past few years, it was already evident in 2019, that we were not on track to achieve many of the SDGs. The pandemic has further worsened this outlook. 

We are also off-track with the climate goals, with 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels, already reached. 

We will not succeed with either agenda, if we work with them in isolation. But by adopting an integrated approach in the implementation phase, we can make progress towards both. Indeed, an integrated approach would strengthen synergies and alleviate trade-offs. 

Integrated planning, coherent policies, and targeted investments designed to meet both the SDGs and climate challenges, can generate significant co-benefits and speed up progress. 

Bold climate actions could yield a direct economic gain of US $26 trillion by 2030, compared with business-as-usual. Fossil fuel subsidy reforms and carbon pricing alone could generate US $2.8 trillion in government revenues by 2030. 

Investment in renewable energy technologies creates jobs, and can spur broad and sustainable social and economic development. Renewables accounted for an estimated 11.5 million jobs worldwide in 2019. 

Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases – through better transport, food and energy-use choices – can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution. Exposure to fine particulate matter, from indoor and outdoor air pollution, results in approximately 7 million premature deaths per year. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals enshrined in the 2030 Agenda, together with the Paris Agreement, are our blueprints for an inclusive and sustainable future, that leaves no one behind and protects our planet. 

Since 2016, the HLPF has been making a vital contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, by assisting countries in maximizing and tracking their progress. At this year’s HLPF, the review includes SDG13, along with several other goals.

Later this year, the COP26 of the UNFCCC presents another critical milestone. Member States will have the opportunity to showcase their ambition via the submission of their enhanced NDCs and long-term emission reduction strategies.

Harnessing climate and SDG synergies in COVID recovery plans, in the updated NDCs – and in national efforts to advance the SDGs – present an unprecedented opportunity to advance progress.

The launch of this eLearning course, taking place in the margins of this year’s HLPF, helps to illustrate and enhance the integration of the two agendas. At UN DESA, we are committed to work together with our partners, including UNFCCC and UNITAR, to support stakeholders in strengthening synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. 

This course builds on our collaboration over the past several years as well as the outcomes of the 2019 Climate and SDG Synergies Conference, and the 2020-2021 learning series and online consultations. 

Along with the launch of the eLearning course, I am pleased to inform you, that the summary reports from the most recent dialogues – on Harnessing Climate and SDGs synergies held in 2020-2021 – are available online, with detailed recommendations for policymakers and practitioners. 

As we approach the upcoming critical milestones this year, including COP26 in November and other related high-level meetings – such as those on energy, food systems, transport, biodiversity, and the ocean – let us, together, advance a truly joined-up approach to implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. 

I thank you. 

File date: 
Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Mr. Liu