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

14 December 2021


H.E Mr. Collen Vexin Kelapile, President of the Economic and Social Council,


Distinguished delegates,

My sincere appreciation to the President of ECOSOC for convening this very important briefing.

Like many others, I was both disappointed and encouraged with COP26.

On the one hand, outcomes fell short of what we had all hoped for. We saw this in watered down language and in climate targets that had yet to reach the ambition needed. We saw this in the wide gap between promises and the policies needed to deliver upon those promises.

For those of us from small islands and other vulnerable countries, the event can best be described as bittersweet. We know the cost of dithering and delay; we feel it already.

On the other hand, we can find solace in the fact that steps were taken to keep 1.5 alive, and to ensure that humanity, at the very least, reaffirmed its trajectory. What we need now is to agree on the pace, and to implement the measures to accelerate and get there.

These incremental steps were evident in the Glasgow Climate Pact.  The COP26 outcomes remains our best tool going forward. 

As the compounding impacts of the pandemic wears on, Excellencies, our efforts to recover sustainably must include rapid action to keep global warming at or below 1.5. 

It is only by aligning our policies accordingly that we will realize a true sustainable recovery.

This means addressing issues such as debt sustainability, eliminating illicit financial flows, lowering remittance costs, and increasing access to existing funding to create fiscal space and resilience for countries in special situations, including the LDCs, LLDCs and the SIDS.

I remain hopeful. And through my Presidency of Hope, and with the convening powers of the General Assembly at my disposal, I am committed to keeping the hope alive. I will do all that I can to help pave the way for more ambition and more action at COP27.

This includes creating a space to foster political consensus, raise awareness, and maximize the United Nations system to forge multisectoral partnerships.

In support of this integrated approach, and with support from my Board of Advisors on LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS to keep the focus on the most vulnerable, I intend to convene a series of climate-related events next year. 

This includes a focus on building back a resilient tourism sector that is more sustainable and more resilient. As the sector rebounds from the inflictions of the pandemic, it is important that recovery efforts align with reducing global tourism emissions.

In short, our recovery must focus on adopting a holistic approach that supports nature and climate action, boosts socio-economic development, and respects the rights of all.

I have spoken before about my “Moment of Nature Event”, which I intend to convene towards the end of the session, in July.

This event will serve as an opportunity for Member States and stakeholders to reflect upon the outcomes of the environment-related summits that would have, by then, taken place.

The crux of the problems and solutions will require in-depth discussions on sustainable financing and debt relief. In recognition of this, the President of ECOSOC and I are in discussion to convene a possible event on financing for sustainable development – with a specific focus on debt.

While each of these events may have a specific focus, the underlying purpose is to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships, and include all stakeholders, including women and youth, in the climate discourse.

I invite you all to participate and contribute at these events.


In keeping 1.5 alive, it is imperative for Member States, the private sector, and the international community to support the development of ambitious climate pledges and to fulfil the commitment to double adaptation financing.

We must build on the momentum of COP26 and steer our progress towards more ambitious, more action oriented NDCs at COP27.

Only together can we keep 1.5 alive for a greener and bluer future for all.

Excellencies, dear colleagues, I wish you all success in your deliberations and in today’s briefing.

I thank you.