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UNEP head shares thoughts on new SDGs, climate finance with EU environment ministers

The UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner has shared his thoughts on implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the 28 EU Ministers of the Environment, as well as provided food for thought on how the bloc may best support climate finance.


In a speech delivered at their Informal Council meeting in Luxembourg on 22 July, Mr Steiner told the ministers that EU leadership on sustainable development and climate change is now needed more than ever.


Reflecting on the “astonishing” progress made on development so far, Mr Steiner noted that current resource extraction levels are exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet, meaning resource efficiency will be key to achieving the kind of transformation foreseen in the post-2015 agenda.


An integrated approach to solving economic, social and environmental problems is now needed, he affirmed, with environment included in the poverty agenda so that no one is left behind.


Welcoming a number of specific commitments included in the draft SDGs as addressing environmental issues, the UNEP chief stressed that 2015 offers an unprecedented opportunity for securing future wellbeing.


In a further intervention made during the informal Council meeting, Mr Steiner described climate change as an investment and financing challenge of unprecedented scale. Yet UNEP has started to provide answers on the amount of financing needed to deliver low-carbon energy systems and climate resilience for example, he underlined.


Meanwhile, public finance can only provide a portion of the quantity required, he explained, with an overhaul of common business practices needed in the private sector together with government policies to drive demand for green finance.


Mr Steiner’s intervention before the ministers on the new SDGs can be read in full by clicking here. The Executive Director’s speech on climate finance can be read here.


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