Speech minister Kaag on the NDCP Covid-19 Forum

Around nine months ago, I had the honor of addressing you in New York in the margins of the Climate Action Summit hosted by the UN Secretary General, as we launched the Climate Action Enhancement Package.

We saw then the urgency of additional action to limit climate change and to support countries in raising climate ambition. Our young people were campaigning in the streets, rightly calling on us for leadership in fighting climate change.

That day no-one had even heard of the disease that has since swept across the world, taking around half a million lives already and locking down many societies. The pandemic has precipitated the deepest recession in a century.

That day also we couldn’t predict that in 2020 millions across the world would protest in support of greater racial, social and economic equality.
Climate. Health. Equality. All this is a sobering reminder of the integrated challenges that face our societies today and of the realization that we can do better. We must do better.

Because it is also an opportunity. Confronting the climate challenge in a lasting way means asking deep questions about the types of societies we want to live in, and the basis for our prosperity. Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent inequalities demand the same.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility to respond to these gathering crises in an intelligent way. To ensure that the direction that we take now for our future prosperity and societies reduces emissions, increases resilience and strengthens equity as core value. The direction that we take now has to deliver on the SDG agenda and the Paris goals.

The potential for decisive change has never been greater. The International Energy Agency’s “sustainable recovery plan” shows that determined action can make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions, while delivering 3.5 percent bigger economic growth by 2023 and creating 9 million extra jobs annually.

On a global level, we have a clear agenda for sustainable development and addressing climate change, we have the scenarios and analytics, we have the experience, and we are mobilizing unprecedented economic stimulus packages. This is the time for countries to take the intelligent course of action and for the NDC Partnership to support them in doing so.

My country feels strongly that this is the time to be bold, to listen to the evidence, to share best practices and to work together more than ever.

This is why I am so delighted to launch our joint High-Level Statement. As of today, this statement is supported by 47 countries and 31 institutions. We will hear from some of these green recovery leaders during this event. I hope that many more will be inspired to endorse our timely and relevant statement in the coming weeks, and act on it.

This statement aligns us around the vision that the NDCs and long-term strategies that countries have developed for climate action are a firm foundation on which to build economic recovery.

The NDC Partnership has already proven itself a highly effective and responsive mechanism for boosting climate action through cooperation. Our hope – our determination – is to make this cooperation serve both climate action and economic recovery, in this moment of crisis and beyond, in a way that enhances both.

I am proud to launch this statement in the name of the NDC Partnership. And it is with great pleasure that I hand over to my friend and fellow Co-Chair, Minister Carlos Manuel Rodriguez. Thank you.