Simon Stiell Closing Speech: Don't Leave the Hardest Work to the Eleventh Hour

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Colleagues, in Dubai, we came together. We overcame differences. Even though it was hard.

I have committed to you all that I will be an honest and neutral broker.

In that spirit, I can say that we’ve taken modest steps forward, here in Bonn.

But we took a detour on the road to Baku. Too many issues were left unresolved. Too many items are still on the table.

On the positive side: 

We streamlined content going into the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance. Clear options and substantive framework of a draft decision must be finalised before we get to COP29.

We are taking steps forward towards adaptation indicators that are forward-looking, effective, and scientifically sound.

We made some progress towards a better functioning international carbon market, but still have a way to go to get this over the line.

We worked together for transparency and supported each other in planning stronger NDCs.

But we have left ourselves with a vast amount to do between now and the end of the COP.

I urge you: don’t leave the hardest work to the eleventh hour.  Business-as-usual is a recipe for failure, on climate finance, and on many other fronts, in humanity’s climate fight.

We must uphold the science. And one thing is absolutely clear - success requires getting more serious about bridging divides and moving quickly from streamlining to specifics.

We can’t keep pushing this year’s issues off into the next year. The costs of the climate crisis - for every nation’s people and economy - are only getting worse.

On finance, we need more progress outside of our process. The G7 meeting this week is no time for resting on laurels. Advanced economies have multiple levers to pull, including as shareholders in development banks.

But all nations have a role, particularly inside the process.

To make the most of these opportunities, we need to separate the technical from the political.

In parallel, we must accelerate and prepare to elevate, if we are to land a deal in Baku.

Time is short. We must make progress at all levels - heads of delegations must now redouble efforts, to present ministers and leaders with viable options well before COP. 

I urge all governments to step up efforts on stronger national climate plans: 

NDCs - that cover every sector and all greenhouse gases, and that unlock more finance.

National Adaptation Plans - that protect everyone - especially the most vulnerable.

Biennial Transparency Reports - that shine a light on global climate progress and where more action is needed.

Social equity, including gender equality, must be at the heart of all of these plans, and everything that we do. 

I want to thank the SB-chairs, Harry Vreuls and Nabeel Munir, and their team of co-facilitators for their diligent work, and for the round-the-clock efforts of so many delegates, and of course the tireless work of my secretariat colleagues.

And my sincere thanks today to my staff members - Kate McBride, Don Cooper, and Laurence Pollier - for their decades of outstanding service to the United Nations, and I wish them well on their upcoming retirement. Thank you.

Colleagues - there’s no two ways about it. These are challenging times.

We’ve left ourselves with a very steep mountain to climb to achieve ambitious outcomes in Baku.

Our process is about finding solutions.

And we can still do it. Whether we do is up to all of you.

The secretariat will be with you on every step of that path forward.

I thank you.  

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