Gathering thousands of visitors at COP25, UN DESA’s SDG Pavilion has been buzzing with activities and programming since the UN Climate Change Conference kicked off on 2 December in Madrid. Forest-based solutions for climate action, the connection between energy and water, indigenous knowledge, sustainable transportation and ocean action - the topics debated have been many. On 12 December, it was the UN Secretary-General’s turn to visit the event space.

“This is the SDG Pavilion for the whole UN to use, to demonstrate connections between climate and other SDGs,” UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin said as he showed UN Secretary-General António Guterres some of the good work happening at COP25.

“Thank you for being engaged on the Sustainable Development Goals,” the Secretary-General said, while greeting the speaker and the audience gathered for a session on sustainable livestock practices organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Arranged for the second time at the climate COP, UN DESA’s SDG Pavilion is a colorful and inviting space, branded with all of the 17 SDGs, serving as a reminder of the close connection between these goals and our joint efforts to solve the global climate crisis. The Pavilion was a hit with attendees seeking the perfect selfie background.

Since the conference kicked off, the event space has featured more than 50 panel discussions, Q & A sessions, special events as well as live social media interviews, to move the conversation on climate and the global goals forward. It has also been a central space for the UN system to demonstrate how their programmes and initiatives support the universal climate and development agenda.

The programming has also honed in on two topics closely related to our global climate, which will take center stage in 2020 – sustainable transportation and ocean action. UN DESA is at the helm, leading preparations for two major conferences taking place next year, namely the Second Global Sustainable Transport Conference (5-7 May) and the Ocean Conference (2-6 June 2020).

Speaking at UNFCCC’s Transport Action Event, Mr. Liu stressed that “sustainable transport is one of the key enablers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.” While describing worrisome trends of hiking greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Liu pointed to the opportunity that this event brings to “make an important impact”.

The event space also featured several discussions on ocean action, in preparation for the 2020 Ocean Conference in Lisbon. “Over the past few days, we have heard repeatedly that if global warming reaches two degrees Celsius or more, it will bring catastrophic damage to marine life and humans alike,” Mr. Liu said. “We must catalyze and generate new voluntary commitments to scale up ocean action and climate action,” he stressed.

After two weeks of intense activities at COP25, UN DESA will be wrapping up its programming in the SDG Pavilion on 13 December. Stay tuned for more UN DESA programming at the next climate COP, to be held in Glasgow in November 2020.