20 September 2021
Mister President, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for your questions and comments. I would like to thank all member states, United Nations officials, civil society representatives, academics and practitioners who provided valuable inputs for the elaboration of my thematic report, in the difficult conditions of the pandemic.
During this interactive dialogue it has been suggested that in elaborating a thematic study examining climate action from the perspective of the right to development I have not acted fully in accordance with my mandate. I would like to recall that Resolution 33/14, which established my mandate, explicitly requested me to contribute to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right to development in the context of the coherent and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change (para 14(a)), as well as to engage and support efforts to mainstream the right to development among various United Nations bodies, development agencies, international development, financial and trade institutions (para 14 (b)). It is in the letter and spirit of these requirements that in my report to the General Assembly of the UN, I elaborated recommendations addressed not only to national governments, but to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Green Climate Fund and other relevant international stakeholders. Further, Council Resolution 39/9 (para 19) requested me to participate in relevant international dialogues and policy forums relating to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including on climate change with a view to enhancing the integration of the right to development into these forums and dialogues, and requested Member States, international organizations, United Nations agencies, to facilitate my meaningful participation in these forums and dialogues. Para 20 of the same Resolution invited me to provide advice to States and other relevant entities, on measures to achieve the goals and targets relating to the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the full realization of the right to development.
On Friday and today, I received many expressions of support, encouraging comments and pertinent questions from the distinguished delegates and civil society representatives. I have addressed some of these questions and I will take time to reflect on others. In this regard, I am looking forward to continuing the dialogue with you bilaterally, as well as at
other relevant international forums, such as the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York and the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that will take place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021.
I would like to reiterate that climate action can not be postponed for next decade, or next year, or tomorrow- we all have to act now. Climate change is one of the adverse global trends that pose a major challenge to the implementation of the right to development. The global climate crisis, the increasing number of natural disasters and new global pandemics all have the potential to undo decades of development. The effects of climate change are not an environmental or economic issue; they impact the enjoyment of the rights to health care, education, housing, culture and food; they destroy property and eradicate livelihoods and employment opportunities and in some instances threaten the survival of entire communities.
At the same time, the effects of climate change are particularly detrimental and disproportionate for many small islands and developing States. Disproportionate impacts stem from the historical circumstances that have led to inequality, including colonization that depleted the resources of indigenous peoples and created global wealth disparities, as well as trade systems put in place after the Second World War. Dominant economic models fail to support the transformation of production and consumption patterns to sustainable and equitable levels, impede States from adopting their own development objectives and fail to ensure human rights within the constraints of our global borders.
We are at a crucial time – today in New York starts this years' Climate Week, where key climate leaders will meet to discuss commitments ahead of the COP26th. The UN Security Council is debating its role in the climate crisis. There is a number of key steps that governments need to take urgently to deliver the intended outcome of the Paris Agreement. It is becoming increasingly obvious that despite some progress, the sum total of climate policies in place across the world will not keep global warming within the limits agreed in Paris. Action needs to be accelerated in particular by those with the biggest responsibility and capacity to do so. In terms of adaptation, ways to assist and increase the resilience of the most vulnerable must be found, including through increased financial support. In relation to loss and damage, those historically responsible must acknowledge their responsibilities and deliver on the promised measures. I also call on governments urgently to finalise the rules on transparency, carbon trading and common timeframes for accelerating action, in a way that safeguards development and nature.
Rest assured that for the rest of my mandate I will continue to promote the importance of the right to development and its principles for the implementation of the four major normative and policy frameworks, adopted in 2015 - the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. I will also continue my efforts to contribute to the work of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development and the Expert Mechanism on the right to development, established by this Council.