Remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly
20 July 2022
It is a pleasure to speak today at this 3rd Global Conference on ‘Strengthening Synergies Between the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
Let me take this opportunity to offer my condolences once again on the untimely passing of former Prime Minister, H.E. Shinzo Abe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, the people and the Government of Japan.
Among the many lessons we have learned these past few years is how precarious our development can be when not resilient to the shocks of our world.
Can we call new infrastructure sustainable if it emits dangerous levels of carbon?
Can we call social programmes, on education, on health, or on food security sustainable if they ignore the need to adapt to a changing climate?
I think not.
The Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 13, on Climate Action, is the framework that should guide our transition to a healthier and better world.
Climate change is crosscutting. It is interlinked to all the other Goals, such as protecting our ocean and forests, improving access to clean water and sanitation, ensuring access to sustainable energy and ensuring sustainable consumption and production. All of these will help tackle global warming and the worst effects of climate change.
Put simply: sustainable development is only possible when it is in harmony with, and supportive of the environment.
And in the same spirit, the climate crisis can only be meaningfully addressed if actions are in accordance with the tools and targets of the SDGs.
These two, truly transformative frameworks, are built to go hand-in-hand.
That is one of the messages that I delivered at the Moment for Nature high-level event in the General Assembly.
Reflecting on each of the major environmental processes, summits and meetings of the last year, I emphasized the need to address common bottlenecks – such as political will, financing, and governance – by using the SDGs as a unifying thread, tying and binding all our actions together.
I based my presidency of the UN General Assembly on the theme of hope. Nearly a year later, I stand by that choice.
While it is true that the world is ripe with inaction, inequality, and injustice, we must recall the immense potential at our disposal – the technologies, the capacities, the skills and knowledge.
Together, we can achieve remarkable things. This should be cause for hope.
Let us work together, women and men, young and old, to overcome our common challenges.
Let us push for our recovery from COVID-19 to be guided by the targets of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
Let us arrive in Sharm el Sheikh with ambition and action to match.
And let us proceed to COP28 in Abu Dhabi with new targets that reflect a new world, a world transformed.
Friends, I wish you success in your deliberations and I thank you.