UN Assistant Secretary General
UNDP Regional Director for Arab States
SDG Climate Facility - Regional Project Session
Signing Event - 13:30-14:00 March 16, 2019
Intercontinental Hotel, City Star, Heliopolis, Cairo
Thank you. On behalf of UNDP and our UN partner agencies I would like to begin by thanking His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Abu El Geit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States and Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid President of the Arab Water Council for hosting this special session for the new SDG Climate Facility regional project in concert with UNDP and our UN partner agencies.
The new SDG Climate Facility regional programme stands as a new multi-partner platform in the region to help countries accelerate results under the Paris Agreement on climate change, in a way that brings co-benefits across the SDGs. Goals on poverty eradication, gender equality, food and water security, and peace and security all hinge on our ability to combat the climate crisis. The Arab region is already the world’s most water scarce, food import dependent region, with temperatures rising faster than the global average. To make matters worse, most of the countries in the region most vulnerable to climate change are also the most conflict affected countries. Unless urgent action is taken to build resilience, the SDGs and crisis recovery goals will remain out of reach for millions.
To help take action, the UN system has joined forces with LAS and AWC to initiate a new SDG Climate Facility regional programme, with USD 7 million support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). On behalf of all partners to the initiate we wish to express thanks to SIDA for this important contribution to our common objectives in the region.
The SDG Climate Facility project will help countries implement their national NDC climate plans and generate new solutions to address the nexus between climate action and SDG achievement. It will generate new tools to manage multi-dimensional risk, put in place better early warning systems and design innovative social protection measures, all with a special emphasis on the crisis countries of the region, so that climate action leaves no one behind.
A key result under the partnership will be to help countries access scaled-up climate finance through new private sector partnerships with banking, insurance and investment sectors. Another key focus will be to support a series of country innovation grants to generate new approaches to local action, with a core focus on combating social and ecological vulnerability in communities affected by both climate change and war.
Dear Colleagues, this year will be critical to accelerate action under both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. The High-Level Political Forum being convened at the UN this summer will prioritize review and discussion of achieving SDG 13 on climate change, while the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit will convene world leaders at the highest levels. With only a decade left to achieve the 2030 targets under the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, a need exists to mobilize greater levels of ambition.
Excellencies, Dear Colleagues, the SDG Climate Facility programme stands as an important example of how the UN system, regional bodies and country partners can come together to take action and accelerate results. The UN system stands ready to expand climate cooperation in the region through this and other new platforms to emerge on the road to 2030. Thanks again to the League of Arab States and the Arab Water Council for convening this important gathering.
Opening Remarks Regional Director Mourad Wahba at General Assembly of the Arab Water Council