Secretary-General’s message to the Pacific Islands Forum High Level Roundtable on Urgent Climate Change Action


I will never forget my last visit to the Pacific when I saw the heartbreaking impacts of climate change.

It is one thing to hear about rising sea levels and the devastation that climate change brings to communities and nations.

It is another to see it first-hand, to see the impact on people’s lives and to meet children who are anxious about their future.

I saw with my own eyes the deep challenges that vulnerable small island developing states are facing.

Both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are similar in that they can be best addressed through ambitious multilateral action.

These are dual crises that can and must be addressed together – as part of a single agenda to transition to a sustainable future.

I recently announced that the central objective of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a Global Coalition for Carbon Neutrality in 2050.

And I have asked every government, city and business take decisive action now to put themselves on the right path towards achieving this vision.

It is time to put a price on carbon.

We need renewable energy and green jobs.

And no more fossil-fuel subsidies or coal-fired power plants.

Governments must also fulfil their pledge to mobilize $100 billion dollars a year for climate action in the developing world.

I have also called for a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience.

I have asked all donors and the Multilateral Development Banks to commit, before COP 26, to increase the share of adaptation and resilience finance to at least 50 per cent of their climate finance support.

Early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection and other steps can give the world a double dividend: avoiding future losses and generating economic gains and other benefits.

We need to move to large-scale, preventive and systematic adaptation support.

All this is happening in the context of recovery from COVID-19.

This represents an opportunity for a green recovery, but developing nations need massive support, including the provision of adequate liquidity and debt relief.

Tomorrow, I will be co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit.

I know that I will be seeing many of you there, and I am thankful for your leadership.

I am calling on the entirety of the Pacific to continue to mobilize against the climate crisis, and I assure you of my personal commitment to the cause of climate vulnerable people here in the Pacific and around the world.

The Summit tomorrow, marking the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, also marks the beginning of a pivotal year towards the Glasgow COP.

It must be the year when we decide through our actions to bend the emissions curve to stay within the 1.5 degree limit and strengthen our ability to withstand the impacts of climate disruption.

You can count on me to help push this agenda.

I hope the rest of the world will stand with us with true ambition and vision.

Thank you.