UN Heads Call for Ambitious Action Ahead of UN Climate Summit
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Thirty-seven UN agencies issued an appeal to the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit for increased ambition and enhanced action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

The appeal notes that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” offers the potential for a paradigm shift to low-emission, climate-resilient development pathways.

13 May 2019: The Heads of 37 UN agencies and entities have issued a joint appeal, calling on Member States to take “urgent action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.” The appeal comes ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019.

The appeal was issued following a meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) from 9-10 May 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, and addresses action on mitigation, adaptation, finance and innovation, as well as action by the UN itself.

Calling climate change mitigation a “moral, ethical and economic imperative,” the appeal urges countries to: fulfill their obligations on human rights, gender equality, empowerment of women, intergenerational equity, and decent work and a just transition; and develop concrete, realistic plans to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and to support SDG implementation. The appeal explains that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” offers the potential for a paradigm shift to low-emission, climate-resilient development pathways.

Climate change mitigation is a moral, ethical and economic imperative.

The appeal calls for, inter alia:

  • countries to ensure that appropriate adaptation measures are taken to protect people, jobs and ecosystems;
  • developed countries to mobilize governments and the private sector to achieve USD 100 billion per year by 2020 in climate finance;
  • countries to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve zero net emissions in 2050;
  • countries to pursue ambitious climate actions with opportunities for innovations to advance sustainable development; and
  • countries to share innovative approaches to fight climate change with other countries at the Summit.

The document also describes UN efforts to: build innovative partnerships with all relevant stakeholders to leverage climate action; develop a UN system-wide environmental and social sustainability strategy for 2020-2030; reduce energy demand in all facilities and operations, transition to renewables, and improve travel and transport management; and, building on the Greening the Blue initiative, upscale and improve the UN’s sustainability reporting framework.

The CEB will present UN system-wide efforts at the Climate Action Summit towards reaching climate neutrality in internal operations by 2020 and enhancing environmental and social sustainability in all UN activities.

Signatories to the appeal include the UN Secretariat, UN’ five Regional Commissions, the UNFCCC, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank Group and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). [Joint Appeal] [UN News Story] [UNDP Press Release] [UNFCCC News Story] [WMO News Story on CEB]


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