High-Level Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Action Event:
Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda

23-24 March 2017 | UN Headquarters, New York

Highlights for Thursday, 23 March 2017

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CoverageAbout | 23 Mar
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, addressed the opening session of the event

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, addressed the opening session of the event

High-Level SDG Action Event: Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda The High-Level Event on “Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda” took place at UN Headquarters from 23-24 March 2017. It was organized by President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Peter Thomson in collaboration with the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In his opening remarks, Thomson said the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world, but “we have time to change our ways” with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement leading the way. He noted that climate change exacerbates drivers of conflict, displacement and humanitarian crises, but these drivers are addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said humanity is causing dangerous global warming, and “this is not a question of opinion.” He noted that militaries take climate change seriously due to its “direct consequences for peace and security” and called climate action “the only way to safeguard peace, prosperity and a sustainable future.”

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, noted that momentum is building among national governments as well as in the “unprecedented alliance” of companies, investors, cities, regions, institutions and individuals towards low-emission and sustainable growth. She stressed that “we have fully entered the era of implementation, and it is unstoppable.”

After the opening statements, the Action Event continued with a “Stocktaking Panel on Climate – Ambition and Action.” Speakers addressed climate science and efforts to address it, including ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement as well as climate actions by all stakeholders. Afternoon sessions addressed “Implementing Solutions” and “2020 as Opportunity.” The plenary session continued throughout the day, with government representatives reporting on their countries’ priorities and actions. A wrap-up session summarized the discussions on 23 March at the conclusion of the day’s events. Due to the high number of countries desiring to make statements, the event was extended by one day, and concluded on 24 March.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided a web update and a summary report from the High-Level SDG Action Event: Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda. Our summary report of the event is available in HTML or PDF formats.

(L-R) Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC; António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly; and Movses Abelian, Assistant Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management

Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, opened the event

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, addressed the opening session

Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

(L-R) Howard Bamsey, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund; Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment Energy and Marine Affairs, in charge of international relations on Climate, France; and Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI), during a panel on stocktaking on climate

Session I on ‘Implementing Solutions’

Session II on ‘2020 as Opportunity’

Andrew Steer, President and CEO, WRI, summarized the morning panel during the wrap-up session at the end of the day

CoverageAbout | 23 Mar
Specific funding for coverage of the High-Level SDG Action Event: Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda,
has been provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the European Union, the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)), the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2017 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES).