The world needs to reduce emissions by 7.6 per cent every year for the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. ©UNDP


As prepared for delivery.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for the opportunity to address you here today as we come together to prepare for this crucial decade.
This pre-2020 Stocktake presents an opportunity to reflect on the experiences and lessons we have learned to inform future climate action.

These efforts are urgent – if the world does not act decisively and quickly, we risk dangerously high temperatures and escalating costs.

Recent analyses on our collective effort to address climate change are striking.

-          The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared that 2019 concluded a “decade of exceptional heat”;

-          The UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report stated that the world needs to reduce emissions by 7.6 per cent every year for the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius;

-          The new UNDP Human Development Report on inequality, launched earlier this week, sets out that climate change presents a seismic shift that, unchecked, could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in society of the kind not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

Yet the UNDP and UNFCCC’s September 2019 report, The Heat Is On: Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition, which sets out where countries stand on their commitments to fighting climate change.

According to the UNDP-UNFCCC report, nearly half of the world -- 75 nations representing 37 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) – are planning to take more climate action than they have already promised in their NDCs – their national climate pledges.

71 countries at the time were still deliberating – including many of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, while 14 countries indicated they had no plans to revise their NDCs.

I am hopeful that all countries will use the opportunity presented by COP 25 wisely and ambitiously -- to make up their minds in favour of people and the planet.

As all the delegates here know, there is a swathe of examples on display here in Madrid for countries and stakeholders to draw inspiration from.    

Chile, for example, the COP25 President, plans to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2040 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Marshall Islands plans to generate more electricity from local, sustainable sources -- wind, biofuels from coconut oil, and solar panels floating on lagoons -- to shift away from importing diesel.

Morocco is connecting wind farms to the grid to cut dependence on fossil fuels, and slowing desertification by planting orchards of Argan trees, whose oil is in high demand from the cosmetics and food industries.

UNDP’s Climate Promise

As UNDP, we are seeing such examples emerge, at pace, from across the 140 countries we support on climate action – from the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the high-emitting nations.

And we are determined that such examples should not be one-time leadership stories, but that they should sit at the heart of national planning, driving systemic change for sustainable development.

That is why the NDCs present such an opportunity.

Through the UNDP Climate Promise, therefore, which we launched at the September Climate Summit in New York, we have pledged to support at least 100 countries specifically to enhance their NDCs by 2020.

This means helping our partners to make their NDCs more technically robust, encompassing new ways for governments to step up action, and developing new ways to finance them.

Work is underway in earnest towards this end in countries from Ecuador to LAO PDR to Nigeria.

UNDP made this Climate Promise commitment specifically by taking stock of what we have learned to date through pre-2020 implementation and ambition.

I will focus on three critical lessons from the pre-2020 era:

·         First, that effective climate action must be equitable, fair, just, and align with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mitigation and adaptation impact populations differently. A “whole-of-society”, integrated approach is needed to ensure climate action encourages social inclusion rather than discord.

For example as the new Human Development Report entitled: Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: "Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century sets out, policies crucial to tackling the climate crisis.

Climate action must ensure that key constituencies have a voice -- including women, youth, indigenous communities and other vulnerable or marginalized populations.

·         Second, finance – both how much is invested and how it is managed - is critical

As former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney – now the UN’s Special Envoy on climate action and finance -- said:

“...we will need to build a new financial system to address the SDG financing gap,”

This reinforces the need for a systemic approach to finance the climate crisis as part of the SDGs.

We must ensure that national climate action has the active participation of Ministries of Finance to increase political buy-in and unblock financial flows.  

From rating agencies to regulatory bodies -- new sustainability incentives could be put in place to signal the direction of the market and deal flow to break new ground.

And the need to do so is clear.

Last week, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the continued need to fulfil the US $100 billion climate finance pledge.

We must achieve this goal.

·         Third, that ‘going it alone’ will not fix the climate crisis

Climate change does not respect borders, or airspace, or sovereignty. It permeates everything, irrespective of our systems of nation states and public and private sectors.

As such, it is exactly the kind of challenge multilateralism was designed for, if we choose to rise to the occasion.

We believe this strongly at UNDP. That is why we work closely with the NDC Partnership; why this work builds on the 20 NDC Regional Dialogues with more than 150 countries that we organized with UNFCCC and guidance we developed with the World Resources Institute.

It is why we leverage our network of partners across all our portfolios – those on inequality and poverty, on migration and forced displacement, on health, gender and finance – to create climate solutions.

And it is why I am delighted to welcome partners such as the NDC Partnership and Sweden, who have invested in UNDP’s Climate Promise, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), with whom we are co-organizing a high-level dialogue on raising NCD ambition through partnerships later today, and the critical role renewables and energy transitions will play.  


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The lessons we have all learned; the experiences we have shared as we approach 2020 are enough to tackle the climate crisis, enhanced as they will be by continuous learning and innovation.

The start of a new decade is an opportunity for further action -- to take advantage of the climate change, biodiversity and oceans focus of international negotiations -- to begin with.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we know we cannot continue with the status quo.

We must do more, we must do it faster, and rapid progress is possible if the political will is invested.

Every fraction of a degree matter.

Every year matters.

Each and every decision matters.

I hope our discussions here today will go some small way towards improving leaders’ and policy-makers’ decisions around climate action after Madrid.


UNDP Around the world