Statement by Ambassador Leendertse at the fourth thematic consultation on “Our Common Agenda”, UN General Assembly on March 3rd, 2022

Logo of the report and ensuing consultation process Our Common Agenda by Secretary-General Guterres

Logo: Our Common Agenda, © UN

03.03.2022 - Speech

Title of the consultation organized by the President of the General Assembly: “Protecting our planet and being prepared for the future”

At the outset let me express full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia´s military aggression against Ukraine, which grossly violates international law and the UN Charter. The Russian behaviour undermines international security and stability.

Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

I would like to highlight a few issues in our national capacity:

We generally support an improved, more meaningful participation of youth as representatives of future generations. Young people will live in the world we leave behind and, thus, deserve to be heard and taken seriously.

From the beginning, Germany has been a committed partner in the global fight against COVID-19. Solidarity and respect are the guiding principles for our commitment. Ending this pandemic and strengthening the Global Health Architecture is also one of our top priorities for the German G7 Presidency.

In order to assure equitable access to vaccines, Germany is the second largest donor of the multilateral initiative ACT-A and COVAX. We are again providing our fair share to the ACT-Accelerator in 2022 and call on our partners to do so as well. This is crucial to end the acute pandemic in 2022. In addition, we share substantial quantities of vaccines multilaterally, through COVAX. This year, we are providing another 75 million doses.

Germany will expand “last mile” support, particularly in Africa.

And we must ensure that vaccines are produced where they are actually needed. That is why Germany is backing vaccine production in Africa with more than 500 million Euros. Moreover, the German company Biontech will soon (2023) start producing mRNA vaccines in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Rwanda.

The latest IPCC WG2 report leaves no doubt: limiting future warming to 1.5° C is of utmost importance to avoid the most detrimental effects of climate change. Currently, we are heading for at least 2.7° C of global warming, even taking into account climate neutrality pledges made by more than 130 countries so far.

The Glasgow Climate Pact emphasizes that all countries need to ramp up efforts to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The international community needs to curb emissions as soon as possible, and reach climate neutrality by mid-century. Any further delay in concerted action will increase future adaptation costs further.

The energy sector currently accounts for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the economic potential of renewable energy systems is enormous. Thus, we can and need to accelerate the global energy transition. The transition needs to be just, inclusive and in alignment with the 2030 Agenda.

A comprehensive risk management approach needs to combine prevention, adaptation, disaster preparedness measures and more reliable disaster relief channels. For this, a shift from reactive ad hoc crisis management to ex ante planning is central.

In recent years, financial protection against climate-related disaster risks for poor and vulnerable people and countries has significantly improved. We strongly support the global initiative InsuResilience Global Partnership (IGP). This initiative scales up financing and insurance solutions for climate and disaster risks in developing countries. 150 million poor and vulnerable people have benefitted in 2021 alone.

Welcome the reference to food security, an important topic also during our G7 Presidency. It is crucial to address the loss of biodiversity and the changing climate together, since they are closely interlinked. Making food systems sustainable and resilient is more than a business case, it is a question of survival.

We need comprehensive risk management systems with multi hazard and cross-sectoral approaches. The development of a Strategic Foresight and Global Risk Report will be an important resource for building resilient and peaceful societies. In this context, it is pivotal to efficiently link its preparation with existing mechanisms and expertise, such as the UN's Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF), and to take preventive actions based on concrete recommendations.

Building on this, we must transform the way we govern risk across sectors and all levels. Because weak governance is a driver of risks. We must see resilience building, preparedness, and risk prevention as an investment in our own future.

Establishing an Emergency Platform can reduce the impacts of crises and provide support for the most vulnerable. The Platform should be designed in an open manner for a wide variety of stakeholders is critical in terms of Leaving No One Behind. The modalities of this Platform need to ensure operability, sufficient capacities for decision-making and rapid action capability. Therefore, its focus should lie on identifying and filling gaps of existing initiatives and crisis-specific response arrangements. Close coordination to avoid duplications as well as to ensure coherence is necessary

Prevention saves money, and, more importantly, it saves lives. The new narrative should be “prevention is a very smart thing to do”!

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