Prime minister at the climate summit and the WEF discussion on sustainable development
The prime minister is attending the Climate Action Summit and the 74th meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York between 23 and 27 September.
Today he took part in the Climate Action Summit, called at the initiative of UN secretary-general António Guterres. The slogan of the summit is “A Race We Can Win, A Race We Must Win”. As a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) group “New Leaders for Europe”, Mr Šarec attended a special summit on sustainable development, organised by WEF to coincide with the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. The PM addressed those attending the panel discussion titled “A Green New Deal for Europe – Europe as the global leader in the area of climate change and green growth”.
During the discussion involving selected European leaders, Mr Šarec stressed the urgency of the requirement for all countries to take decisive action to control global warming and promote the transition to a low-carbon society, which would create opportunities for new, green jobs, and set out the economic opportunities and challenges occasioned by the transition.
Implementing the principles of sustainable development, promoting the circular economy as an important aspect of tackling the challenge of climate change and adhering to the highest social and environmental standards will therefore be among our priorities. The EU must be capable of ensuring a high quality of life for everyone, but this objective can only be achieved by balancing economic, social and environmental development. We must move beyond the “throwaway” society, respect the limits and capacities of our planet, and create good conditions and opportunities for current and future generations. The EU has to achieve the objective set, build upon it and disseminate it throughout the world. Mr Šarec assured those present that, as prime minister, he would continue to endeavour to ensure that the Slovenian government showed high ambition when adopting the necessary measures, and pointed out some of the steps Slovenia was already taking.
He highlighted the fact that nature conservation and a high-quality environment were values cherished by Slovenian society. Slovenia was therefore in the process of laying stable long-term foundations for its climate policy up to 2050 titled “Slovenia and a healthy planet”, which is based on commitments from the Paris Agreement, current scientific findings, particularly those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Europe’s strategic long-term vision for a successful, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy. The principal objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For this, there must be a transition to sustainable economic and social development based on renewable sources, sustainable production and consumption within the limits of the planet’s capacity, and radical changes to the way we think and live.
The draft Climate Policy Act, which is currently undergoing a public consultation process, provides for the achievement of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and mechanisms for the long-term implementation of climate policy in all sectors. It contains an intention to establish a climate council as a special Slovenian government advisory body and declare a national climate day. It also envisages the preparation and adoption of a long-term climate strategy, a national energy and climate plan, and other sectoral development documents.
As he further emphasised, leaders and politicians are among those who bear the greatest responsibility, so one must constantly be aware that the guidelines adopted by the climate and sustainable development summits taking place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly will have an important bearing on future national and global politics.
The aim of the climate summit is to strengthen ambitions and speed up action to implement and achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. A further aim of the summit is to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon society and give a strong political incentive to enhanced measures by all stakeholders in the fight against climate change, from heads of government to the private sector, civil society, young people’s advocates and others. Slovenia undertook substantive preparations for the summit within four national coalitions. Within the “Youth engagement and public mobilisation” coalition, led jointly by Ireland and the Marshall Islands, Slovenia’s UN Youth Delegate Patrik Bole is part of the prime minister’s delegation involved in efforts to support and ensure the mobilisation of young people. On Saturday 21 September, he took part in the UN Youth Climate Summit, aimed at strengthening the involvement of young people in the planning of climate measures to secure sustainable solutions for current and future generations. Mr Šarec and the youth delegate signed an undertaking to involve young people in the planning of climate policies.
Slovenia has also joined the “Social and political drivers” initiative led by Spain and Peru, which aims to boost air quality in pursuit of better quality of life and human health, as well as the “Infrastructure, cities and local government” initiative led by Kenya and Turkey, supported by UN-Habitat and announced at the meeting of the UN-Habitat meeting in May 2019, and the coalition led by China and New Zealand, “Nature-based solutions”, which highlights the link between climate change and the provision of nature-friendly solutions and sustainable alternatives.
The summit will end with the adoption of conclusions by the Secretary-General presenting the measures, initiatives and further efforts towards progress, ensuring accountability and making it easier to implement the summit’s proposals for the fight against climate change.
Work will continue under the auspices of the UN and particularly within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The next annual climate change conference, COP25 (UNFCCC), will take place in Chile in December. At the conference, world leaders taking part in the high-level segment at the start of the conference, as well as the responsible ministers, will have to agree on new measures in pursuit of achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.