Remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly

2 December 2021

 

His Royal Highness, Dr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President of the International Peace Institute,

Her Excellency, Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to join you today for a discussion on “Accelerating Climate Finance by 2030.”

Let me commend the International Peace Institute, in partnership with the Government of Qatar, for organizing this important event.

IPI has always been at the forefront of innovative policy research, and today’s event resonates clearly after COP26.

While the recent climate summit did not meet our expectations, it did continue to push us in the right direction.

As a President of Hope, I am optimistic that we can still achieve meaningful progress, that we will get to where we need to be.

Recent developments are encouraging:

  • As part of the Glasgow Climate Pact, the 1.5°C target was kept alive, even if in ICU. There was agreement to increase the pace of climate action, including through the submission of revised NDCs at COP27 in Egypt, and conclusion of the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook regarding NDC reporting and carbon markets, among others.
  • The development of a truly global carbon marketwill go a long way towards improving the marketability of green policies, and reducing the total cost of implementing national climate commitments by more than half.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are causes for hope.

One of my takeaways from COP26 is that for the first time in a very long time we have a destination with near unanimous support: a carbon neutral, sustainable world.

Where we continue to be challenged is the pace and specific direction by which we get there.

Let us not forget there was a time, not too long ago, where even the mention of such a destination was cause for outcry.

But we must continue to put pressure where it is needed.

To achieve meaningful progress in climate action, it is vital to reach the US$100 billion threshold in annual support to developing countries, to rebuild trust among nations.

I am disappointed, as many of you are, that this threshold will not be met until 2023, at the earliest.

To compensate for this shortcoming, we must accelerate efforts to ensure that all countries have access to the latest technological innovations and strategic partnerships that will help bridge the energy divide sustainably.

Furthermore, our efforts to bridge the financing gap must simultaneously support efforts to recover from COVID-19.

We live in a world of multiple, interlocking challenges. We do not have the luxury of dealing with them one at a time.

No single country can face either alone. We must do it together and extend support where it is needed.

This means addressing issues such as debt forgiveness, eliminating illicit financial flows, lowering remittance costs, and increasing access to existing funding to maximize avenues for resource mobilization.

Without global solidarity and sustainable solutions to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and COVID-19, all countries risk losing hard-won development gains, as well as opportunity to develop the fiscal space needed to safeguard our planet’s climate health.

It is understood that the private sector has made more than US$100 trillion worth of commitments to achieve net-zero targets.

While this is welcome, we must push for clarity on how those resources will be utilized. Will they support work towards carbon neutrality by 2050? Will they be aligned with local and national climate targets?

“Greenwashing” must not be allowed; there is too much at stake.

Excellencies,

We know that achieving 1.5ºC will require significant upscaling of both mitigation and adaptation financing, including through Nature Based Solutions, as championed throughout the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

It will also require greater coordination of financing solutions for climate action, biodiversity protection, land restoration, tackling pollution, and achieving circular economies.

In this regard, as part of my vision of my Presidency of Hope, I will convene a ‘Moment for Nature’ event in July 2022.

This event will allow Member States and relevant stakeholders to reflect on the outcomes of the various Summit-level events on the environment held during the 76th session.

It will help assess where environmental action overall is lacking, what synergies can be unlocked to accelerate action, including on environmental financing, which areas the international community must prioritize next.

I wish you the best of luck in today’s discussions. Trust that you can count on my support in your efforts to rapidly upscale climate finance.

I thank you.