Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

01 July 2019

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at Youth Consultation [as prepared for delivery]

Good afternoon everyone,
 
Thank you all for joining us here in Abu Dhabi.
 
I know many of you have traveled long distances to be here.  We are very grateful for your commitment.
 
We have a lot of work to do before the September Climate Action Summit in New York and we are extremely happy to have you on-board – to guide us, to lead us and to push us.
 
Young people like you are at the epicenter of the global conversation around the climate emergency, and for good reason.
 
You are doing what the global public should have done for over 20 years now: holding leaders to account and demanding urgent, more ambitious action to protect our planet.
 
Today I am here not as a keynote speaker, but as a keynote listener. 
 
I am here to listen to you because your voice, concerns, ideas and solutions are essential to our shared mission.
 
We are at a tipping point. Climate change is an emergency, and we need all hands-on deck to rapidly transition to a zero-carbon world.
 
We need your help.
 
Yes, it is true – your future is directly threatened by the impacts of climate change.
 
But your generation also holds enormous power. 
 
You are the largest youth population our world has ever seen.
 
And you have the people power and the moral force to press for urgent action.
           
No one can do it alone in our world today.
 
The United Nations cannot do climate change mitigation and adaptation alone.
 
And governments on their own cannot undertake the economic and social transformation that the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals demand.
 
We need the world’s young people to do precisely what you are doing – stepping up and speaking up.

I can assure you that the Secretary-General is totally committed to meaningful youth engagement and participation, including at his September Climate Action Summit. 
 
Last April, as part of our new UN Youth Strategy, we brought to the UN almost 1,000 young people from well over 100 countries to share ideas on advancing the transformation required by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
 
And just last month, we launched the Summer of Solutions, a special call for innovative, technology-based, and youth-led solutions to the climate crisis.
 
I encourage all of you to submit your ideas and spread the word in your networks and your countries.
 
We look forward to even more creative and transformative solutions at the UN Youth Climate Summit, on Saturday, September 21 in New York.
 
This will be the largest gathering of young climate leaders in UN history.
 
 
It will be an all-day event bringing together young climate change change-makers – leaders like you committed to pushing our world to move at the pace and scale we so desperately need.
 
I can think of no better event virtually on the eve of the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.
 
Dear young people,
 
I’m a grandparent.  I worry every day about the future we will leave for my grandchildren and all of you.
 
But you give me hope.  You give me energy.  You inspire me. 
 
And so let me end where I began -- with my profound thanks. 
 
Thank you for leading the way. 
 
Thank you for doing all in your power to ensure your generation – and all generations -- inherit a safer, cleaner, greener world.
 
Thank you for hearing me out.
 
Now, it is my turn to listen.