Gandhinagar, India

11 January 2015

Secretary-General’s remarks at ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ Summit

I am delighted to be here today to address the seventh Vibrant Gujarat summit.

This dynamic state has long been a cultural crossroads and a gateway to the world.

Today, Gujarat can also be a crossroads for a new era of sustainable development: where technology meets climate action; where entrepreneurs meet clean energy; where young people meet job opportunities.

How appropriate for the state where Mahatma Gandhi was born here. This morning, I paid tribute to Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram. Gandhi warned a long time ago already about the dangers of unrestricted industrialization.

It is an honour to be here today in this lasting tribute to Gandhi-ji’s life, and to the ideals which have made such important contributions to the world and to the United Nations’ founding principles.

I wrote in the guest book [at Sabarmati] that I sincerely hope that all world leaders and business leaders and all the people around the world will be inspired by his vision and teachings.

2015 must be a year for global action. We must change course if we are to avoid even greater damage to ourselves and to our planet.

It is normal for leaders, business leaders, any leaders of our society have the tendency of emphasizing the importance of their mandate, and I am no exception as Secretary-General. I would like to emphasize that this year 2015 is the most important and crucial for humanity.

I am telling you why: The United Nations is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding this year. We have three most important priorities which we have to achieve. First, this is the target year that we have set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We are accelerating all resources and efforts to reach the target.

World leaders must shape and agree on the post-2015 development agenda with a set of sustainable development goals.

Thirdly, we have to agree on a universal and meaningful climate change agreement in December in Paris.

Those are three most important priorities that we have to achieve.

We have a very important enabling factor: the Addis Ababa conference on financing for development.

To achieve these goals we need to have robust financial and technological support, That is what we are going to achieve in July in Addis Ababa. We all have to work together.

All these meetings overlap and aim at mutually reinforcing goals: to map out a new era of development that strengthens equity and fosters inclusive growth and climate action.

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals are intended to be transformational. They cover areas including ending poverty and hunger; ensuring access to healthcare, education and energy; promoting economic growth and decent work; and building resilient infrastructure. I thank India for playing a full role in creating this agenda through broad consultation.

Gujarat is a prime example of how sustainable energy and climate action are different aspects of the same issue, and connect to economic growth, increased social equity and a healthier environment. I am pleased that my Sustainable Energy for All initiative is a partner of Vibrant Gujarat.

We have launched this Sustainable Energy initiative with three goals. First, by 2030, we must provide universal access to energy to all 7 billion people in the world. I know that Prime Minister Modi has declared that he will provide 24 hour electricity to New Delhi, and will expand this energy service.

Second, double the energy efficiency; this is what you are doing in Gujarat.

And thirdly, most important, double the use of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

I applaud and commend Prime Minister Modi’s initiative to increase the share of solar and wind power in India’s energy mix, and for his vision in accelerating the development of solar energy when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

I also commend the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘100 Smart Cities’ initiative and encourage the use of renewables and energy efficiency.

I count on India’s forward-looking leadership this year as governments from around the world seek to adopt a meaningful, equitable and universal climate change agreement in Paris. This agreement must contribute to keeping the world safe from dangerous climate change. And it must embrace the concepts of equity and ethics, in light of differing national circumstances for individual countries.

The longer we delay taking action, the more we will have to pay, and those who suffer most will be the poorest and the most vulnerable people.

This event, Vibrant Gujarat, goes far beyond return on investment.  You are here not only to build industrial strength, but to talk about sustainable, inclusive solutions. Now more than ever, we need bold leadership across all levels of society: in government, in corporations, civil society, academia, and more.

Many of you are already involved UN initiatives on Caring For Climate and Sustainable Energy For All.

Now, I challenge all of you present here today to do more.

First, I call on India’s business community to lead the transformation we need to achieve sustainable development and inclusive growth. I ask you to channel your efforts into decisions that will benefit your companies, your country and your children’s future.

Second, I call for India’s continued strong leadership in the three negotiating processes which I have mentioned this year for new agreements on sustainable development, climate action and financing.

Third, I call on India to come forward with an ambitious national contribution on climate change as soon as possible, one that is consistent with your particular national circumstances.

India is in a unique position to lead the move towards sustainability in the wider world. This year will provide a formidable opportunity for emerging powers to position themselves in a changing global landscape.

In your youthful country, nearly half the population of India is under 25 years old.  What great potential you have – and what great responsibility.

After all, half of the global population is under the age of 30 so we are living in a very young world. So we have to do much more for our young people.

We owe it to these young people, and their counterparts all over the world, to leave them a clean, green planet full of opportunity and responsibility.

We cannot fail our children and grandchildren. It is time to recognize the damage that we are doing, and to take action to put it in the right position. We have to put our world and our lives on a sustainable path

India’s path, and India’s leadership, will be crucial.

I thank you all for taking part. Let us work together to make this world better for all, sustainable for all, where nobody will be left behind.

I thank you for your leadership.

Dhanyavaad. [Thank you.]