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SG/SM/20766
8 June 2021

Secretary-General Highlights Global Vaccine Gap, Need to Fund Climate Action, in Message for ‘Financing the Blue and Green Economy’ Conference

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the Euronext ESG European Conference, on “Financing the Blue and Green Economy”, in Lisbon from 8 to 9 June:

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure to greet the Euronext ESG European Conference on “Financing the Blue and Green Economy”.  You gather to help chart a path out of the COVID-19 crisis and into a more resilient, equitable and sustainable future.

With the rollout of vaccines, there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.  We must ensure that vaccines are available to everyone, everywhere.  But just as we face a global vaccine gap, with stark inequalities in their distribution, so do we confront enormous gaps in financing to combat climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and safeguard the world’s oceans, seas and marine environment.

I am calling on all donors and financial institutions to align their portfolios with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change by 2024 at the latest.

This means ending the financing of coal domestically and abroad, and phasing out its use, and starting a decade of massive renewable energy expansion.  It means allocating at least 50 per cent of climate finance to adaptation, measures that protect people.  And it means all Governments and financial institutions taking decisive steps to make climate risk disclosure mandatory and establishing a carbon price.

This is essential for building trust, advancing a just energy transition, and making the whole financial system low-carbon and climate-resilient.  We also need to seize the opportunities of the blue economy and protect the oceans from any further pollution with plastic waste.

The United Nations looks forward to working with European companies and financial institutions and our other partners to pursue a recovery from the pandemic that reimagines our future and advances the health of people and planet alike.

Please accept my best wishes for a productive conference.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.