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Come together ‘for the common good’, UN chief urges G20 leaders

Speaking on the eve of the G20 summit of advanced economies, which will take place in the Indian capital on 9-10 September, Mr. Guterres said global leadership was especially needed in two priority areas – climate action and sustainable development.

‘No time to lose’

“We have no time to lose. Challenges stretch as far as the eye can see,” the Secretary-General told a press conference. 

He warned that the world was in a difficult transitional moment, faced with rising inequality and poverty and hunger levels and yet a distinct lack of global solidarity.

“We cannot go on like this. We must come together and act together for the common good.”

Lead on climate action

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Mr. Guterres noted that G20 member countries were the world’s major producers of greenhouse gases, responsible for 80 per cent of total global emissions, and therefore needed to demonstrate greater leadership on climate action.

“Leadership means keeping the 1.5-degree goal alive; rebuilding trust based on climate justice; and advancing a just and equitable transition to a green economy.”

He added that leadership also meant wealthier countries finally delivering on their long-standing funding commitments to help developing countries meet their targets for reducing emissions, such as through the Green Climate Fund.

The Secretary-General said leaders must also take concrete action to ensure the world achieves the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on schedule by 2030.

Specific actions include:

  • Funding an SDG stimulus of at least $500 billion
  • Setting up an effective mechanism to reduce the debt burden on poorer countries
  • Changing the business model of multilateral development banks to leverage private finance on a much larger scale
  • Shifting subsidies away from fossil fuels to more productive uses

‘Catalyze SDG progress’

Mr. Guterres said that “together, these actions would catalyze SDG progress and help developing economies invest in key transitions across energy, food systems, digital, education, health, decent jobs and social protection.”

He added that significant progress towards the Goals was still within reach so long as there was goodwill from all countries, regions and groups. 

The UN chief will be taking part in the annual G20 summit this weekend, presided over by India with theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future.

He echoed that message during Friday’s press conference underling that “we must act together as one family to save our one Earth and safeguard our future.”

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