Budapest, Hungary

30 November 2021

Secretary-General's video message to the Planet Budapest 2021 Sustainability Expo and Summit

Watch the video:

I am pleased to greet the Planet Budapest Sustainability Expo and Summit.

My thanks to the Government of Hungary for bringing us together at this pivotal moment.

Reeling from COVID-19 and careening towards climate catastrophe, we must all act with greater ambition and urgency.

For the first time in a generation, poverty and hunger are on the rise. Inequalities are increasing. Human rights are under assault.

The pandemic must be the wake-up call to jolt us into bold action – not simply to reset, but to transform.

Investment in recovery is a generational opportunity to put climate action, sustainable development, human rights, gender equality, and a new social contract at the heart of our strategies and policies.

To seize the moment, we need a recovery that is transformative, inclusive, and sustainable.

First, transformative – because we cannot afford to perpetuate the structural inequalities that plagued our world even before the pandemic.

We must focus on universal social protection, education, health care, and decent work.

Second, inclusive – because a lopsided recovery is leaving much of humanity behind and pushing the Sustainable Development Goals further out of reach.

Our benchmark for success is leaving no one behind, including those trapped in poverty, refugees, migrants, LGBTI people and marginalized groups of all kinds.   

And third, sustainable – because we need to build a decarbonized net-zero world for all people and future generations.

We must change the way we produce and consume. We need to build resilience and better adapt to future shocks.

We have the blueprints: the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement.

Governments are in the driving seat, but all of us – the private sector, civil society, cities, academia – must step up.

Central Europe can play an important role by sharing experiences, knowledge and solutions, and forging innovative partnerships for change.

That is why I am encouraged to see so many of you represented here and look forward to learning of your ideas.

Thank you.