Keynote Statement at a A Joint AOSIS-LDC Group Event - Leading the way: Raising Ambition for 1.5°C-compatible Climate Action

Statement by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

25 September 2020 
New York, USA

Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the co-organizers for your invitation to address this important meeting. 

Your meeting is critical. We find ourselves in the middle of multiple global crises – worsening climate change impacts, a global health pandemic, and deep global financial and economic disruption.  

The toll already is and will continue to be especially heavy for the SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs.  

Key economic sectors have either been deeply disrupted or even come to standstill such as trade, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.   

Consequently, governments’ revenues have plummeted, worsening an already acute debt situation. 

As we all face this crisis, as we face very uncharted territory, we must seize this disruptive moment and turn it into a moment of hope and opportunity. 

But this, we can only do if we act in a collective manner. 

It is now our shared opportunity and responsibility  to inject new urgency to remain within the critical 1.5 degree C threshold. 

Historically, the SIDS and LDCs have made the smallest contribution to global warming. 

To improve the lives of their citizens, they must produce sustained economic growth. 

And they do so by taking exemplary steps towards mitigation and decoupling emissions from growth. 

Both groups of countries made important announcements at the Climate Action Summit last September in New York. More importantly,  they have continued to follow-up on them. 

The NDCs are key vehicles for climate action.  

I applaud the countries that have recently submitted their updated and ambitious NDCs. This includes several SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs. 

The need for bold climate action is clearly most important for the largest emitters. 

In this global pandemic, many of the most developed nations have rolled out major social protection and stimulus packages.  

The packages amount to billions of dollars.  

In how these packages get delivered,  lies a major opportunity. 

Each dollar of stimulus can potentially have a green impact, but even if only a fraction is deployed towards  low-carbon transitions, this would go a long way.  

Allow me to share a couple examples. 

Policies and operational plans do already  include in some cases direct support for renewable energy and sustainable modes of transport but more can be done. And much more can be done for the financing of measures in NDCs and climate action plans. 

Government budget deficits can be improved through equitable and sustainable fiscal measures. This can range from carbon taxes to the removal of subsidies to polluting activities. 

I would also once more call on development partners to expand investment in climate action in vulnerable countries so that together we urgently limit loss and damage. 

It is up to us how we leverage the disruptor this global health pandemic is for all of us. 

The pandemic can also provide new impetus for harnessing the potential of the digital revolution and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction strategies. 

Many nations , including the LDCs and SIDS,  have taken important measures to build back better.  

These are examples I encourage all to follow and to use the opportunity afforded by the updated NDCs. 

In concluding, allow me to recall  the six climate positive actions that Secretary-General Gutteres invited all countries to consider as they rebuild their economies, during his opening address at the general debate of the General Assembly on Tuesday.  

These are: 

  • to build resilient societies and a just transition; 

  • to promote green jobs and sustainable growth; 

  • to ensure bailouts of industry, aviation and shipping to be aligned with the Paris Agreement; 

  • to end fossil fuel subsidies; 

  • to integrate climate risks in financial and policy decision-making; and  

  • to leave no one behind. 


I thank you.