Madrid, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said the great injustice of the climate crisis is that its effects fall most on those who are least responsible for it.
Committing to continue fighting for ambitious climate action and for small islands and least developed countries, Guterres at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in the UN climate conference said: “We must also ensure that at least $100 billion a year is available to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation.
“And to take into account their legitimate expectations to have the resources necessary to build resilience and for disaster response and recovery.”
The two-week long 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 began in the Spanish capital in the backdrop of climate impacts biting globally.
This COP is an important meeting.
The reason: In 2015, governments signed up to the Paris Agreement — the first global UN treaty that saw all nations commit to cutting emissions to zero by mid-century. Next year, the same countries are on notice to submit new and tougher climate plans.
“You have my personal commitment to continue to fight for more ambitious climate action and also for the particular cause of SIDS (Small Island Developing States) and LDCs (Least Developed Countries),” the UN chief said.
“Visiting the most vulnerable regions of the world has only served to galvanize my efforts in this regard,” he said.
Saying that in Mozambique and in the Caribbean, he has seen the aftermath of terrible storms, that have caused and continue to cause devastation and that “we count in the cost of lives lost, communities up-rooted and economies crippled”.
“In the Sahel and the Horn of Africa I have witnessed the dreadful toll of drought, powered by climate change, that is destabilizing an entire sub-region.
“And around the world, floods, drought and other extreme weather are being made worse by climate disruption.
“And it is the most vulnerable who hurt first and worst. It is commendable, then, that some of the most vulnerable nations are also in the forefront of climate action.
“For a decade or more you have been in the vanguard of the call to follow science by limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees,” Guterres said.
“You know that any more will spell untold disasters for your people and for your development prospects. At the recent Climate Action Summit, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries once again showed leadership,” he said.
“We saw commitments to come forward with strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050. And we heard from countries prepared to bring more ambitious national commitments in 2020.
“For this I thank you and I hope your example will be followed by the big emitters,a he said.
“It is essential that you follow through on these commitments to put maximum pressure on the big emitters next year.
“The UN is ready to support SIDS and LDCs in this — including through the aclimate Promise’ made by UNDP at the summit. I wish you a very productive forum,” he added.