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Amidst ‘high political tension’, UN chief appeals to G20 leaders for stronger commitment to climate action, economic cooperation 

UN Japan/Takashi Okano | Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the media at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. (28 June 2019)

 

The annual G20 summit of leaders from the largest and fastest-growing economies, got underway on Friday in Osaka, Japan, against a backdrop of what UN Secretary-General António Guterres described as “a moment of high political tension”.

“We have global warming, but we have also global political warming, and this can be seen in relation to trade and technology conflicts, it can be seen in relation to situations in several parts of the world, namely the Gulf”, he told reporters before addressing the summit, referring to recent attacks on oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, which have heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

The Secretary-General spotlighted the urgency of addressing climate change as a main priority.

Painting a picture of “heat waves in Europe, drought in Africa, storms happening also in Africa and the Caribbean” and a “multiplication” more intense, more frequent natural disasters “with worsening humanitarian consequences” he repeated his passionate refrain that “climate change is running faster than what we are”.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is another main challenge where “we are lagging behind”, according to the UN chief.

“If we project the different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the evolution since the beginning until now to 2030, we will be more or less at midway of what the international community has determined when the Agenda 2030 was approved”, he said, arguing the need to accelerate resource mobilization. “Countries need to do more, mobilizing their own internal resources, improving their governance, reducing corruption, implementing the rule of law”.

Mr. Guterres highlighted that G20 nations represent 80 per cent of climate change emissions and appealed for a stronger commitment to international financial and economic cooperation.

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