The Group of Friends of Climate: 2019 is a pivotal year

Meeting of the Group of Friends of Climate
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
22 April 2019

On behalf of all of us here this afternoon, I’d like to thank Ambassador de Alba for his important, extremely informative and insightful presentation. You said it very clearly cher Luis Alfonso, the commitment of the Secretary-general and the DSG to the fight against climate change and the success of the Climate September Summit is second to none, and your own role and contribution are absolutely instrumental in this respect - no pressure…

I also want to thank my colleague and friend from Morocco, Ambassador Hilale, who co-chairs this group with me, for being as active and committed as he is to the success of the group.

Let me say just a few words before opening to questions and answers, in order to put things a little bit into perspective. Ambassador de Alba is providing leadership, guidance and strategic direction that we really need for the success of the climate action Summit of September 23. That’s why his presence is so important to all of us. As you said, Luis Alphonso, we will have an important meeting in Abu Dhabi at the end of June that is will be a key step toward the UNSG Summit.

2019 more broadly is a pivotal year for the international community to provide opportunities to make concrete progress on climate change. Last December in Katowice, we adopted a fairly robust "rule book" to start the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Now we need to raise the bar and call for the enhancement of collective ambition in order to accelerate climate action. This is what our meeting is all about.

In that regard, the high-level event on climate organized at the end of March by the PGA was a great success. It demonstrated the Member states’ full support to the SG objectives but also their willingness, our collective willingness, to turn words into actions. You often repeat, Cher Monsieur l’Ambassadeur, that the September summit should not be “a speech summit” but an “action summit” and I believe this is exactly the state of mind that we have, at least we the members of the “Groupe des amis” and we want to support you and make the summit a great success. This summit will have to "deliver" proposals for concrete and transformational actions in the nine areas of action that were identified by the Secretary-General and that offer a high potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and have an impact on the real economy in order to succeed on the path toward a low carbon economy.

If we want to win the fight against climate change, we have to respond to the urgency of the situation - it is our moral duty toward the most vulnerable countries, which are at the forefront of climate and natural disasters - and at the same time we need to build a more positive narrative on the fight against climate change, we need to improve economic and social opportunities, and we need to generate new messages and new partnerships, especially with the private sector.

We all know that climate change is an economic threat with extremely high costs, but the cost of inaction is even higher and to say it frankly inacceptable. This was the message delivered by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the PGA event last March (…).

In accordance with the mandate that was given to us for the climate summit, we have one goal: to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement by raising ambition and engaging public and private actors in the fight against climate change. We should strive to achieve this goal with solidarity, sustainability and boldness – these are some of the key words that must guide our actions.

Our next important deadline will be the Abu Dhabi preparatory conference on June 30th- July 1st. The distinguished Representative of the UAE is here with us today and we look forward to hearing his views about the best way to achieve success at this event.

From a French perspective, you know that President Macron has been tasked by the Secretary-General with a climate finance mission, together with the Heads of State and government of Jamaica and Qatar. This mission is based mainly on two principles:

• First of all, while respecting the commitment on the 100 billion USD, to look beyond this commitment - the mission includes raising private funds and redirecting of financial flows towards investments in line with the Paris Agreement. So the two go together.

• The second objective is to show the impact on the ground and explain how broad the climate change landscape is.

In this respect, we will be also very happy to hear the views of Qatar and Jamaica on how this mission should be conducted.

It will also be very interesting to hear from Babita Bshit, the representative of the green climate fund who is here with us this afternoon, in order to update us on the fund’s activities – and the fund is a key player when it comes to climate finance.

Here are in a nutshell the perspectives I wanted to give you, with my warm thanks again to Ambassador de Alba and to my co-chair Ambassador Hilale. Now let’s open the floor to any comment and question you may have (…).


Before I leave it to my colleague and friend Omar to wrap up our discussion today, I would like on behalf of all of us to warmly thank Ambassador de Alba for his participation, for his tireless efforts and for his very insightful contribution to our work today. We now have a clear picture of the roadmap and challenges that lie ahead of us for the Abu Dhabi preparatory conference and the Climate action summit in September.

There is, and I am sure you feel it Ambassador, energy in the room, there is a clear political momentum and a need to push the boundaries on climate change in 2019. The global political context is not that easy as we know but there is clearly a collective will, stronger than ever actually, to act urgently to tackle the “biggest threat of our time” as eloquently stated by the Secretary-General, notably by meeting the next important deadlines that are ahead of us.

You know you can count on the support of this group and our determination to make these events a success. We are and we will stay at your side. Now I am very pleased to give the last words to my colleague and friend Ambassador Hilale (…).

Dernière modification : 06/01/2020

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