New York

24 March 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's video message at the virtual event "Investing in Climate Action"

Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, Mr. Werner Hoyer,
Distinguished participants:   
Thank you for this opportunity. 
We are in a make-or-break moment. In 2021, Governments will make decisions that will shape the future for people and planet. 

The EU commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and cut its emissions by at least 55% by 2030, as well as the European Green New Deal, have contributed to a global momentum that is irreversible.

Similarly, the European Investment Bank has set a gold standard in aligning its lending portfolio and policies with the Paris Agreement. We look forward to other Multilateral Development Banks and Development Finance institutions following suit.

I would like to recognize these efforts and encourage you all to assist others to follow suit, mindful of their specific circumstances and support needs. We must now turn our focus to implementation and cooperation.
I would like to emphasize three asks from Secretary-General António Guterres to advance in a way that helps achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

First, to developed countries:  

The Secretary-General has called for all donors to honour their commitment under the UNFCCC to mobilize the $100 billion goal by doubling their climate finance pledges for 2021-2024.

It is urgent to commit at least 50 percent of those pledges to adaptation finance. This is essential to achieve the breakthrough in adaptation that our world desperately needs. The government of the Netherlands has shown the way, and I urge other developed countries to follow suit.

We also need the share of grant finance to be at least doubled from current levels.
Second, to Ministries of Finance:  
As shareholders of Multilateral Development Banks, it is essential that you request management to commit, before COP26, to fully align their portfolios and operations with the Paris Agreement.
Portfolio alignment with the 1.5 degree temperature goal of the Paris Agreement requires setting plans informed by science, with credible intermediate targets and clearly defined sectoral targets, across the entire portfolio. 

Third, to all governments and public and private financiers:  
Coal has no place in the COVID-19 recovery.  

We must accelerate the energy transition towards renewables to create decent and healthy jobs.
Coal’s economic viability is declining fast. In virtually all markets, it is now cheaper to build and operate renewable energy capacity than coal plants.  
I would like to echo the call from the Secretary-General to commit unequivocally to halting coal financing by COP26, and shifting fossil fuel subsidies to renewable energy.

I commend the EU for adopting the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council, discouraging all further investments into fossil fuel-based energy projects overseas. We are looking forward to a timeline for implementation.

And we hope that this will translate into a significant jump in investments in renewable energy in the developing countries that badly need them, from Africa to Asia.

It is in your hands to enable our global transition to net-zero by 2050 but we must act now.
Thank you.