The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Welcoming remarks by Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNOPS at the Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
You all know why we are here today, and there is no need for me to labour the point. We need climate action now.
You will hear these words echoed across the room over the coming days.
Much as we have heard over the last five to ten years, in many cases longer.
Climate action is a broad term. Beneath that statement are many considerations.
How can we do this in a fair way?
How can we join the dots between climate and all of the SDGs?
How can this lead to implementation? - these are the questions.
As the head of the country team here in Copenhagen, I represent UN City, and around 1,800 colleagues working hard every day towards delivering on the SDGs.
The building we are in today is an example of what we can do to tackle climate change.
Above me, more than 1,400 solar panels are absorbing energy from the sun (if it’s shining) producing nearly 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year.
The sea water that surrounds the island we are on, is pumped into the building’s cooling system.
Rain water — and we are not short of rain here — is collected and used for irrigation.
Even the elevators are designed to recover energy as they help our colleagues move around the building.
All of these designs allow the building to use up 55 per cent less energy than other buildings of similar size - making this one of the sustainable buildings in Scandinavia. So we are in the right location for the event over the coming days.
As head of UNOPS, I can speak to another side of our challenge.
That of implementation, and partnerships. We may be headquartered here - but most of our work is in places like Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan and Haiti, working on the ground, implementing projects.
As the only self-financing member of the UN family, our success lies our ability to strike lasting partnerships with experts and organizations all around the world. In short, we only work in partnerships.
Our partners demand, and rightly so, that we are able to help them build more resilient infrastructure to help tackle issues relating to climate change.
Across this room we all know we cannot achieve the SDGs or Goal 13 working alone.
We must work together.
We are all citizens of this earth.
We all have a stake in its success and a responsibility to ensure its survival - as our own depends on that too.
This is one of the greatest challenges humankind has ever faced. A monumental project that has the greatest number of beneficiaries - all of us. So today, in a room full of ideas and innovation, we can continue and begin to build these partnerships. So that we can, together, begin to make a greater difference to challenges that face us.
I wish you a great conference.