UN chief outlines climate change and SDGs as key 2019 priorities
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that countries must "dramatically accelerate" efforts to tackle climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the year ahead.
Briefing the General Assembly on the 2019 outlook in New York yesterday (16 January), Guterres warned that “standing still means falling further behind” on global environmental and social challenges.
On climate change, he warned that countries need to “transform our economies at an unprecedented scale” to keep the global temperature rise to within 1.5C. “There is no greater challenge to the world of today and tomorrow,” he said. “The threat is on a clear trajectory: hotter, faster, more severe. Science is clear. And things are even getting worse than what was forecast.”
A UN climate summit will be convened in September in New York to mobilise action by political leaders, the business community and civil society. Guterres appealed to world leaders “to bring solutions and commitments that will at last match the scale of the challenge”.
The summit will be followed by the General Assembly’s first Heads of State and Government meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
Guterres claimed that the “transformative changes” demanded by the SDG 2030 agenda are not yet being met, and called for a “sharper focus on what works in reducing poverty and inequality, and in delivering strong and inclusive economies”.
“I urge you all to do your utmost to make September a defining moment for stopping runaway climate change, achieving the SDGs and building a fair globalisation,” he said.
Guterres’ rallying cry comes in the same week that it was revealed that global clean energy investment fell 8% last year to $332.1bn (£257.6bn). The research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) cited the Chinese crackdown on solar subsidies and the falling cost of wind and solar projects as major factors for the downturn in investment.