UN Secretary-General António Guterres has laid out ten priority areas that require more action to keep warming below 1.5°C in his report on the 2019 Climate Action Summit. Titled, ‘Report of the Secretary-General on the 2019 Climate Action Summit and the Way Forward in 2020,’ the publication details, inter alia, multi-stakeholder initiatives, including proposals by small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), and individual pledges and commitments from national governments, sub-national actors, the private sector and international organizations.

While 70 countries committed, during the Summit, to deliver more ambitious NDCs in 2020, they account for less than 10% of global emissions, with no major emitters formally committing to ramp up ambition. In his report, Guterres says he will ensure climate change remains a priority on the international agenda. He will do so by convening high-level platforms for countries to present more ambitious plans; pushing financial actors to accelerate the transition from the grey to the green economy; facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues; and coordinated UN system engagement.

Further, the report elaborates on outcomes under the 12 themes of the Summit, and ten priority areas for 2020, namely:

  • securing more ambitious commitments from major emitters, with the goal of reducing emissions by at least 45% by 2030 in line with achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and the SDGs; 
  • ensuring all countries come forward with 2050 carbon neutrality commitments;
  • increasing ambition in sectors not fully considered in the past, including nature-based solutions;
  • addressing the social dimension of climate change by ensuring NDCs include a just transition;
  • curtailing current coal capacity and ensuring no new coal power plants are built after 2020;
  • accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy;
  • accelerating the shift of financial flows, taxing pollution not people, and ensuring access to sustainable finance;
  • stepping-up support for people affected by climate change and transitioning toward a resilient future;
  • delivering on commitments made at the Summit to SIDS and LDCs; and
  • implementing initiatives aimed at decarbonization of key economic sectors.

Presenting the report during the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 25) in Madrid, Spain, Luis Alfonso de Alba, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, underscored the need to align policies and systems to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. He said two stocktakes of progress made could potentially convene in 2020. [UN Blog Post on Report] [Publication: Report of the Secretary-General on the 2019 Climate Action Summit and the Way Forward in 2020][SDG Knowledge Hub sources]