Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines

EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: High-Level Event on Climate and Sustainable Development for All

New York , 29/03/2019 - 18:25, UNIQUE ID: 190328_11
Statements on behalf of the EU

29 March 2019, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States, delivered by H.E. Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the President of the General Assembly's High Level Event on Climate and Sustainable Development for All

29 March 2019, Ambassador Vale de Almeida speaks at the Climate for All High Level Event


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The EU is grateful for the President of the General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa, to hold this High-Level meeting and appreciates very much her personal commitment to climate action and sustainable development for all.

The EU welcomes this event and the upcoming Climate Action Summit as an opportunity to push for ambitious climate action. At the Summit, Governments should send an important signal to stakeholders and citizens around the world that the international community is serious about addressing climate change and moving towards a climate neutral economy.

The IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees has warned us in very clear terms that there is an urgent need to act on climate change. Integrating the latest scientific evidence in domestic policy-making and public debate is the only credible global response to the current gap in ambition. It is also important for preserving the logic of the Paris Agreement, which is that of progression over time in line with the agreed temperature goals.

Climate action and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda are complementary, interconnected and mutually reinforcing.  We support the UNSG and the President of the General Assembly in raising awareness and promoting the multiple co-benefits of mainstreaming both sets of goals into policy planning.

The EU recognizes that the poorest and those in most fragile and vulnerable situations are the most exposed and the least able to respond or adapt to climate change. Strengthening action for adaptation and resilience to climate change as well as increasing climate risk finance cover for poor and vulnerable people in particular are imperative. The EU contributes to these efforts for example through the Global Commission on Adaptation and the InsuResilience Global Partnership.

Building on its own experience, the EU advocates that the green transition goes hand-in-hand with economic development, job creation, food security, protection of biodiversity and public health and offers ample opportunities for sustainable development and growth. Ambitious, durable and robust climate and environment policy making is about designing policies and measures that incentivise and regulate, encourage and discipline, while taking advantage of the economic opportunities. For example, for the EU the transition to a circular economy has an estimated potential of creating almost 600.000 new jobs while reducing carbon emissions by 450 million tonnes by 2030.

The EU is convinced that climate change reinforces other global threats like water scarcity, droughts and food insecurity and is a threat in its own right, with serious implications for peace and security across the globe. The EU welcomes therefore the increased focus placed on the security implications of climate change in the UN Security Council and the steps to further strengthening related work across the UN structures.

The EU reaffirms its steadfast commitment to the Paris Agreement as the essential multilateral framework governing global action to deal with climate change. It is a cornerstone of the rules-based international order. We view the Katowice Rulebook as an important victory for multilateralism that makes the Paris Agreement operational by all. The focus should now be on the full implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions by all Parties. All Parties must provide evidence of ambitious national action to deliver on the Paris targets.

The EU has just finalized the full legislative framework to deliver on the EU NDC for 2030. The European Commission has also presented its proposal for a long-term strategy in line with the Paris Agreement for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy for the EU through a socially fair transition in a cost-effective manner, including scenarios for a climate neutral economy by 2050. All of the scenarios serve as an input to an EU-wide debate that will allow the EU to continue to lead in global climate action. EU leaders in a recent meeting emphasized the importance of the EU submitting an ambitious strategy by 2020 to the UNFCCC, striving for climate neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement.

We expect all our partner countries to also come forward with a clear plan for accelerating the transition towards a climate neutral, circular and resilient economy and for implementing their commitments under the Paris Agreement.  

The EU wants to empower civil society, youth and the private sector to contribute to solving the climate challenge. Only through engagement with civil society and governments at all levels can policy makers ensure that they also have the support of their constituencies. This is how we prepare for a societal transformation that leaves no one behind.

We have all committed to align finance flows with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The engagement of the private sector in carrying the climate and Sustainable Development Agenda forward is essential. Sustainable finance approaches, regulatory predictability, and enabling environments are key for the transformative shift. They provide economic actors with a clear direction of travel in terms of business planning and investment choices.

The EU supports partner countries through cooperation and dialogue on mitigation and adaptation policies and on socio/economic modelling.  The NDC Partnership – having grown to over 90 countries – is creating a new quality of cooperation in NDC and related SDG implementation.  The EU, its Member States and the European Investment Bank together are the biggest provider of public climate finance, including to the multilateral climate funds, having contributed EUR 20.4 billion in 2017 alone. We are also looking forward to a successful first replenishment of the Green Climate Fund.

The EU is committed to working with and supporting our partners in making 2019 the year of enhanced global climate ambition.

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