2 December 2019

Secretary-General Stresses Need for ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Big Emitters, at United Nations Climate Change Conference

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Climate Vulnerable Forum at the twenty‑fifth Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Madrid today:

I welcome this forum of climate vulnerable countries.

The great injustice of the climate crisis is that its effects fall most on those least responsible for it.  I have seen this first‑hand.  In Mozambique and in the Caribbean, I have seen the aftermath of terrible storms that have caused and continue to cause devastation that we count in the cost of lives lost, communities uprooted and economies crippled.  In the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, I have witnessed the dreadful toll of drought, powered by climate change, that is destabilizing an entire subregion.  And around the world, floods, drought and other extreme weather are being made worse by climate disruption.  And it is the most vulnerable who hurt first and worst.

It is commendable, then, that some of the most vulnerable nations are also in the forefront of climate action.  For a decade or more you have been in the vanguard of the call to follow science by limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.  You know that any more will spell untold disasters for your people and for your development prospects.  At the recent Climate Action Summit, small island developing States and least developed countries once again showed leadership.  We saw commitments to come forward with strategies to reach net‑zero emissions by 2050.  And we heard from countries prepared to bring more ambitious national commitments in 2020.

For this I thank you and I hope your example will be followed by the big emitters.  It is essential that you follow through on these commitments to put maximum pressure on the big emitters next year.  The United Nations is ready to support small island developing States and least developed countries in this, including through the “Climate Promise” made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Summit.

We must also ensure that at least $100 billion a year is available to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation and to take into account their legitimate expectations to have the resources necessary to build resilience and for disaster response and recovery.  You have my personal commitment to continue to fight for more ambitious climate action and also for the particular cause of small island developing States and least developed countries.  Visiting the most vulnerable regions of the world has only served to galvanize my efforts in this regard.

I wish you a very productive forum.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.