Climate action: an important means to implement future development agenda (04/16/2015)
Side event "Climate Finance and development" - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 16 April 2015
Dear Administrator Helen Clark,
It is my pleasure today to introduce this event on “climate finance for development”.
I am grateful to UNDP for co-organizing this event with us during this important week when the first draft of the Addis Abeba Accord, is being discussed. A warm word of thanks also to Peru and Tunisia, whose Health Minister is here with us today.
As everyone in this room knows, 2015 is a crucial year for the UN and for the fight against poverty and the promotion of a sustainable development for all. In this context, Addis is the foundation on which we hope to build a successful sequence, with the COP21 conference in Paris in the end and the New York summit in September in between. There is a common thread linking these events, and that is sustainable development.
In this context, what can we expect from Addis, from a climate change perspective?
This week and the next, delegates from all over the world are coming together to discuss the means of implementation of the future development agenda.
And I truly believe climate action is one of the most important means of implementation of the future agenda.
Why? Because if we do not tackle climate change, the sustainable development goals will never work. We will never eradicate hunger if climate change wreck our harvests. We will never provide water and sanitation to all if global warming dries up our water sources. And we will never ensure healthy lives if we do not become serious about clean and renewable energy. And I could go on with all 17 goals and probably 169 targets.
Surely, the financing for development track is not the place to negotiate our commitments against climate change. That is the role of the UNFCCC and I have yet to meet anyone who wishes to encroach on the UNFCCC process here in New York. But that does not mean we should ignore climate change. Quite the contrary in fact.
How can we do that? First and foremost, by making it clear in both the financing for development and post-2015 outcome documents that the fight against climate change is of paramount importance for all of us.
Let me take a few concrete examples on issues you are currently discussing in the Addis draft: we should commit to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which today represent three times the amount of ODA. Iran has already done so a few years ago, and Indonesia and Malaysia made bold moves in this direction last year. But many countries still spend more on subsidizing fossil fuel industries than spending on health. This needs to change. We should also commit to implement carbon pricing schemes, whether in the form of taxes or carbon markets. This will enable us to promote a low-carbon development, which is the only development we can afford for our future. Europe is showing the way with its Emission Trading Scheme. Many countries have introduced carbon taxes. The private sector must also do its part, by reporting more on its impact on the planet and by doing business in a sustainable manner. But we governments must get the incentives right so that the business sector fully lives up to its responsibilities.
The Addis Abeba accord must show the way, so we can use existing resources to bring prosperity to all and preserve the future for the next generations.
To discuss these issues, we are very fortunate to have very distinguished panelists with us today.
I will start with Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. I think she needs no introduction and she also has to catch a flight to catch in a few moments so I will be very brief. Let me just recall that UNDP has a unique and worldwide experience in fighting poverty in a sustainable way, and will today showcase a few concrete examples from the field, thanks to development practitioners from Tunisia and from Cambodia who will share their experience.
We also have with us for this first session my colleague Ambassador Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN. Tunisia is a leader in renewable energy and I look forward to hearing your perspective on this matter.
And – last but not least – my colleague Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru to the UN. Peru is the current chair of the COP process. We work closely together, and France will do its utmost to build on the success of the Lima conference for a successful COP 21 in Paris in December.