Opening Remarks by Ms Beate Trankmann at COP27 Side Event on Climate actions to Support Cities’ SDG progress

November 15, 2022

UNDP Resident Representative Beate Trankmann delivers online remarks during COP27 climate summit side event in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Distinguished Minister Councillor Mr. Zhang Chaoyang, 

Dear Prof. Pan Jiahua, 

Prof. Zhang Yongsheng, 

Vice Mayor Yu Ting, 

Vice Chairman Zhang Futang,  


Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Good afternoon. 


On behalf of the UNDP, I am delighted to welcome you to today’s event!

This year’s COP – marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yet, three decades on, instead of moving away from climate catastrophe, we are pushing ourselves closer to it. 

In recent years, extreme weather events have led to devastating disruptions to life and livelihoods, impacting almost every corner of the world. And at the current 1.2 degrees of warming, this is unfortunately only a small preview of what is to come if we continue on this trajectory.  

The world is on track to exceed 3 degrees of warming, more than double the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement, which would lead to widespread destruction and leave much of the planet uninhabitable 

At COP 27 we have yet another opportunity for the world to come together to alter our current course and turn commitments under the Paris Agreement into reality, with the SDGs as our compass. But the window to pull ourselves back from the brink is nearly closed. We simply cannot afford to squander this moment, as we have so many times before. 

If we are to save the planet and put the SDGs back on track we need to finally move from words to accelerated, concrete actions, and at the center of these actions will be cities. 

Home to more than half of humanity, with high concentrations of infrastructure, housing, and economic activities, cities are pivotal for realizing the SDGs. Indeed, they account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions.  

That is why in China, over the past four decades, cities have been a major part of UNDP’s efforts to advance sustainable development at the local level together with partners across public and private sectors. 

In 2020, we jointly produced the Chinese Cities SDG Progress Report with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), establishing China’s first city-level sustainable development assessment index. This year, the initiative was further extended and customized for canal cities with the launch of the Yangzhou Canal City SDG Report.  

Understanding the progress, opportunities, and key issues that cities face in embarking on a sustainable development trajectory is a critical first step for stronger and more impactful policy making at the city level to advance climate action. This would need to be accompanied by the necessary financial investments to support these objectives. 

It is our hope that these reports can be a resource that city leaders can utilize to identify their comparative advantages and challenges, providing insights and information to aid in decision making. 

Moving forward, UNDP will continue working together with cities across the globe and in China to advance sustainable development and accelerate a low-carbon transition. My colleague George Gray from our policy bureau will talk about our work around the world in this area. 

In China, we stand ready to provide support in further aligning city-level development work with the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and China’s own climate commitments to realize a sustainable, climate-resilient and prosperous future.  

In closing, let me thank CASS, WCCO, and the Chinese Delegation to COP, for organizing and supporting this important side event at COP27.  

I wish you fruitful discussions and a successful event. 

Thank you!