New York

05 February 2015

Secretary-General's remarks to the Fifteenth Delhi Sustainable Development Summit [delivered by videolink]

I commend highly TERI [The Energy and Resources Institute] for organizing the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.

For fifteen years, this forum has helped promote global sustainability.

Your focus this year on “Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change” is particularly relevant.

In September, the United Nations will convene a Special Summit on Sustainable Development, marking the creation of new Sustainable Development Goals that will apply to all nations.

And, in December, world leaders will go to Paris with the goal of securing a meaningful, universal climate change agreement.

Addressing climate change and embracing sustainable development are complementary and interdependent.  These are just two sides of one coin. Investing in climate is investing in growth, and investing in growth will end in investing in climate change.

Now, renewable energy can mean cleaner air and better health.

Climate-smart agriculture offers better water and food security.

Climate change threatens to undermine hard-earned development gains.

But combatting climate change is an opportunity for low-carbon growth that will benefit people and the planet.

Prime Minister Modi is pursuing this vision of “development without destruction”. 

I was in New Delhi and Gujarat last month, and I had very good talks and I was very much impressed and inspired by the Prime Minister’s leadership and vision.

We see it in India’s rapid scale-up of solar power, the Ganga Rejuvenation project and the creation of smart cities, 100 smart cities. I am going to dispatch former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as my Special Envoy, to this New Delhi meeting, “RE-Invest”.

These solutions can reduce poverty, catalyze clean, sustainable growth, and increase resilience to climate change. 

Over the next fifteen years, the world will make massive investments in new infrastructure for cities, energy and agriculture.

If this spending is directed towards low-carbon goods, technologies and services, we will be on our way towards a more sustainable, equitable future.

But if we ignore the low-carbon pathway, we may fail to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We will put ourselves and our future generations at grave risk from dangerous climate disruptions.

That is why climate change and sustainable development have been my top priorities since taking office.

I have travelled the world to see climate impacts and solutions – virtually all the places around the world, I have been there, and I really wanted to send alarm bells […] with my own voice.

I have met those at risk and those who are pioneering a sustainable future.

And I have worked with world leaders to generate the political momentum we need to change course.

Now is the moment.

It is time for action – time for a global agreement. 

We need all hands on deck to meet the climate challenge.

Now, Governments must create the policy frameworks.

But the private sector also has an important role to play, as does civil society, the scientific community, and think-tanks such as TERI.

I encourage you to share your ideas and be bold in your recommendations.

Together, we can build a more prosperous, resilient and sustainable world.

I wish you all a productive meeting.

Thank you. Dhanyavaad. Merci.