Speech

UNGA: Statement on transformative action for nature and people

Statement of the Prime Minister at the High Level event at the UNGA to showcase action to protect, conserve, sustainably use and restore nature and close the finance gap.

Dear all,

This summer we’ve witnessed historic floodings in Europe, record-smashing heat waves on the American continent, devastating draught in Africa.

People lost everything they had worked for all their lives. In one hour, their future swept away.

During my visits in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, I’ve witnessed first-hand the devastating consequences of climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation. Fragilizing the future and affecting the lives of millions.

It are all reminders that we need to better balance our relationship with nature and that urgent and transformative action is needed to fight the climate crisis.

That’s why this high-level event, co-hosted by Belgium, is timely.

Belgium, as part of the High Ambition Coalition, is aiming to protect at least thirty percent of the planet’s land.

As a Blue Leader, we’ve put ocean protection at the core of our multilateral agenda, aiming to protect thirty percent of the oceans by 2030 and pushing for a High Seas Treaty.

Within the European agenda for a greener future, we are transforming our food systems and restoring agricultural ecosystems.

Our Beyond Chocolate initiative is just one example. With Beyond Chocolate, we focus on one of your favorite Belgian products, quality chocolate.

We’re bringing together all stakeholders to make the entire production chain more sustainable, from tackling deforestation and child labour to guaranteeing a decent income for cocoa producers.

And, today, with our Beyond Food strategy, we are expanding our efforts to soy, palm oil and coffee.

Another example is the protein shift we are accelerating in Flanders. To make our diet less dependent on animal production and to achieve a more sustainable and circular animal production.

In and around Belgian cities, our regional governments are making space for nature through improving green infrastructure, and restoring natural ecosystems.

With the federal government, we are making the turnaround to green mobility with a radical shift towards green company cars.

And last but not least, Belgium is also stepping up its financial support for climate action globally.

My government is committed to a progressive increase of our contribution to international climate finance and to align it with the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

As a first step this year, Belgium will increase its climate finance with more than 30 percent, from seventy million euro to one hundred million euro annually. And we are committed to increase this further over the next few years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The momentum is growing to turn 2021 and the years to come into years for transformative action for Nature and People.

We need bold changes. And we need them urgently.

Thank you for joining this high-level event and for being part of the change we need.