Restoring trust

It is immoral and unreasonable to expect communities that did nothing to cause global heating to pay the price for climate impacts.

Our world faces great trials and tests. Geopolitical divides are growing. Inequalities and injustices are deepening. Cooperation is the only way forward.

Regional organizations like the League of Arab States have a vital role to play in today's world. We must work together to advance the values based on which the United Nations was born. Peace, sustainable development, and human rights.

Allow me to begin with the ongoing suffering in Palestine. The United Nations position is clear: Peace must advance — the occupation must end. Our shared goal remains two States — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security, with Al-Quds/Jerusalem as the capital of both States.

At the same time, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East's financial crisis is undermining the rights and well-being of Palestine refugees. I urge you to generously support UNRWA, a vital pillar of regional stability. And I look forward to continuing our work together to address challenges across the region — from Syria, Lebanon and Yemen… to Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

Instability or conflicts persist and humanitarian needs are growing. Let us keep up our common efforts towards multilateral solutions that meet people's legitimate aspirations for peace, freedom, and justice. As we scan the global landscape, injustices and inequalities run rampant — especially for the countries of the global South.

Across the Arab world, Africa, and beyond, they are being hit from all sides: weakened by conflicts, battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, and pummeled by the climate crisis. Now they face the fallout of the war in Ukraine, soaring food and energy prices, spiraling inflation and crushing debt burdens.

Developing countries everywhere need justice, which means greater support. Governments in roughly half the world — including across the Arab region and Africa — are not getting the financing they need.

I am pushing for a Sustainable Development Goals stimulus — led by the G20 — to boost investment in sustainable development for emerging economies. To increase liquidity. And to speed up debt relief and restructure debt comprehensively, effectively and fairly.

We are also working non-stop with all relevant stakeholders on ending the suspension and on extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative and removing all remaining obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers. This Initiative has been vital to your region and our world. Ships have sailed. Food has flowed. Prices have dropped. This is crucial. It must not stop. After all, every fraction of a food price increase pushes more people and communities further towards poverty, hunger and, in many circumstances, instability.

We must do all we can to ensure the continued success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to provide relief to those in need, including countries in the Middle East and North Africa relying on accessible and affordable food and fertilizers — both from Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The 27th Conference of the Parties in Sharm el-Sheikh is another vital opportunity for restoring trust between developed and developing countries.

Wealthier countries must lead. They must reduce their emissions this decade — in line with keeping global warming to 1.5°C — and fully pivot to renewable energy. They must finally mobilize $100 billion annually to support developing countries (in building) resilience.

Half of all climate finance must flow to adaptation.

I just came from Pakistan, and it broke my heart to see a flooded area that is three times the size of my own country, Portugal.

And we must urgently address the climate impacts that are beyond countries' abilities to adapt. Action on loss and damage is a moral imperative that must be front and center at the 27th Conference of the Parties.

It is immoral and unreasonable to expect communities that did nothing to cause global heating to pay the price for climate impacts.


Excerpts from remarks at the Summit of the League of Arab States on 1 November 2022.

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