09 December 2020

Secretary General's video message to the Thimphu Ambition Summit - Momentum for a 1.5°C world 

Thank you for coming together for this Ambition Summit `to build “Momentum for a 1.5 degree World”. 

Ambition is precisely what the world needs to tackle the climate emergency.  

We see the threat all around us —in collapsing biodiversity, disappearing ecosystems, spreading deserts, acidifying and overfished oceans, dying coral reefs, sky-high temperatures. 

Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are the new normal.  

Least developed countries are on the frontlines and are paying the heaviest price. 

People in least developing countries, for example, are at least 4 times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather than in high-income countries. 

It is clear that climate change drives and deepens inequities across and within countries. 

Fighting climate change is a matter of social justice. 

We need to use the recovery from COVID-19 to put us back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to win the battle against climate change.   

That means attaining the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

It means limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

It means building a Global Coalition for Carbon Neutrality — and we are on our way. 

By early next year, countries representing more than 65 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70 per cent of the world economy will have made ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality. 

A quantum leap towards carbon neutrality will not be possible without developing countries. They will need significant support. 

This means taking into account, in good faith, the common but differentiated responsibilities of one and all, and accompanying developing countries in the adoption and the achievement of ambitious goals in mitigation and adaptation. 
For this, we need developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments. 
That includes the decade-long goal of mobilizing $100 billion dollars a year for mitigation and adaptation.  

We are not there yet. 

And it must also ensure that decisive action is taken in the boards of multilateral, regional, and national development banks. 

They must do more to collaborate, provide substantial concessional climate finance to developing countries, and re-think their mobilization potential to unlock the trillions held by institutional investors. 

I am also asking governments — as well as international financial institutions —  to work with you on addressing debt and liquidity to liberate resources to achieve the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

Even as we strive to mitigate emissions in the future, we need to cope with the impacts happening here and now.   

Adaptation to present and future climate impacts — particularly for least developed countries and small island developing states —cannot be the forgotten component of climate action. 

Until now, adaptation represents only 20 per cent of climate finance, reaching only $30 billion on average in 2017 and 2018. 

Before COP 26, all donors and the Multilateral Development Banks should commit to increase the share of adaptation and resilience finance to at least 50 per cent of their climate finance support.  

We need to move to large-scale, preventive and systematic adaptation support. 


Five years ago, the leadership of LDCs, SIDS and Landlocked Developing Countries was instrumental in securing the ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement.  

Today, I salute me support your efforts to push all countries to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.  

And I join your call for the mobilization and scaling up of finance and support to meet the needs on the ground. 

I also urge you to continue aligning your development and recovery plans with the Sustainable Development Goals and ambitious climate action.   

Doing so will create jobs and opportunities, while also protecting our people and economies.  

The Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 will be a key opportunity to send all of these messages loud and clear.    

Together we can emerge from this crisis stronger, more sustainable and more resilient. 

Thank you.