Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the P4G Copenhagen Summit 2018
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
When Prime Minister Rasmussen invited me here today, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. First of all, because he’s such a good friend and colleague, of course. And secondly, because the Netherlands is a country that largely lies below sea level. So fighting climate change and rising sea levels is vital to us. It has been for centuries, in fact, but the challenge has never been more urgent. Even if we succeed in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must face the facts and adapt to climate change if we want to keep our feet dry in the centuries to come. And, obviously, other countries face similar – and sometimes even greater – challenges.
As we all know, water doesn’t respect borders. So, for the Netherlands, the P4G initiative – Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals, isn’t only a deeply felt international responsibility.
It’s also a matter of enlightened self-interest. P4G means that we must act at national level and that we must act together. In the Netherlands, we have set several clear goals.
We want to speed up the reduction of CO2 emissions in our country and the EU by up to 55% per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. We aim to halve the use of raw materials by 2030. And we want to be a completely circular economy by 2050.
But we must act in concert with other nations. Because no country and no government can fight climate change alone. I can only rephrase what I said to the UN General Assembly last month. For the sake of our planet and the generations to come, we need a transnational outlook.
We need to build on constructive multilateralism as a positive force for progress, prosperity and future sustainability. The Netherlands is using the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement as guiding principles in our international trade and development policies.
And when I say we need to work together, I don’t simply mean we governments and we political leaders. I mean academics, NGOs and other international organisations too. And I firmly believe that the private sector also has a crucial role to play in the transition towards climate-smart economic growth.
I’m proud to say that some of the largest Dutch businesses are at the forefront of this work. Not only because they feel a responsibility for the future. But also because this transition offers them real opportunities. They realise that investing in sustainable production and new business models is the smart choice. Consumers worldwide growing more and more aware of their personal footprint. So it’s encouraging that this P4G initiative brings together all parties involved.
In the Netherlands we have an active policy to involve our entire business community in our international efforts to promote sustainable growth. For one thing, it’s reflected in the combination of aid and trade, which is a key feature of our development policy.
More and more, we’re seeing small and medium-sized enterprises joining our economic missions and programmes in this field. A more targeted example is the Climate Investor One programme, which was set up by the Dutch development bank FMO.
This programme makes it easier and more attractive for businesses to invest in renewable-energy projects in developing countries.
Another example is the growing number of agreements between Dutch business sectors, civil society and government on upholding the OECD guidelines on responsible business conduct.
We realise, of course, that global supply chains can’t be altered by a single country. So we also applaud the fact that the Sustainable Trade Initiative works with P4G and countries further up the supply chain, like India and China, to step up sustainability. Only global cooperation will bring the market transformation we need.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The first man to walk to both Poles, the British historian, explorer and activist Robert Swan, once said that ‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’
I believe this quotation sums up the importance and the promise of the P4G initiative. This partnership is built on the premise that sustainable growth and the transition to a circular economy is a shared responsibility.
We’re all in this together.
And as you may have gathered by now: this is entirely in keeping with Dutch policies and plans.
So let’s get to work and make P4G a success!