Members, Our Voice, Statements

Statement delivered by Mr. Selwin Hart, United Nations Assistant Secretary General

Statement delivered by Mr. Selwin Hart, United Nations Assistant Secretary General


16 April 2023

Mr. Selwin Hart, United Nations Assistant Secretary General  (Video shown)



Let me start with a sovereign assessment of where we are in our fight against the climate crisis.  The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that all indicators on climate are headed in the wrong direction. Global emissions are at their highest level in human history, and they continue to rise. Those that have contributed the least to the climate crisis are already paying the highest price.

Adaptation limits are being breached. The scale and magnitude of losses and damages are growing exponentially. We cannot afford to cross the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, not even temporarily. You know better than most what is at stake. 

There is still a small window of opportunity to act, and we have the tools, we have the roadmap.  The benefits of a renewable energy and climate resilient future are well known, so are the costs of fossil fuel addiction and expansion. We need deep emission cuts now.

In parallel and with equal urgency, we must act decisively on adaptation, resilience building, and on loss and damage.  Unfortunately, we are nowhere close. 

The global financial architecture is presently not wired to deliver on our climate and development goals. Affordable finance is simply not flowing to the developing world, especially to the most vulnerable. This is why we need the multilateral development banks and other sources of public and low-cost finance to step up and step in to get the money flowing to make the investments affordable and bankable. Major reforms of the international financial architecture and of the MDBs, like the World Bank, is required.

I urge you to use your voice and influence to insist on advancing a meaningful reform agenda this year. These institutions need to overhaul their business models to be more creative and risk taken. Vulnerable countries are facing multiple crises. They urgently need a financial architecture that delivers highly concessional finance at pace and scale, addresses their debt stress, and liquidity constraints, and allows them to invest in resilience to climate impacts, and also speeds up their transitions from fossil fuels to renewables.

Among other things, we also need the providers of private capital and the credit rating agencies to significantly improve how they perceive a major risk in the developing world, especially in Africa. Your long-standing concerns on access to finance must be resolved. This is not a moment for tinkering around the edges.

Colleagues, I would like to close by acknowledging the tireless leadership of the V20. It is needed more than ever. I encourage you to support the acceleration agenda proposed by the Secretary General, which calls for fast-forwarding action to keep the 1.5 degree goal alive and deliver climate justice for those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. The Secretary General and United Nations stand with you.

I thank you.