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European Union  |  September 18, 2023 17:51:00, updated

Statement by President von der Leyen at the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit

Statement by the President at the 2023 SDGs Summit

Madam President,



My generation was raised with the idea that our children and grandchildren would be better off than us. But a cascade of crises has now set back progress towards our Sustainable Development Goals. First, the pandemic. Then Russia's war of aggression, with its devastating impact for global food and energy security. All of this with the knock-on effects of a boiling planet.

Against this backdrop, developing countries do need more resources to pull people out of poverty and to transition towards a clean and equal economy. This is why I welcome the Secretary-General's SDG Stimulus Plan. In 2022, Europe elevated its development aid to EUR 93 billion, an increase of 30% over the previous year. Today, we account for over 40% of global assistance. We know our obligations. But public funding alone is not enough. We must explore all avenues to attract new funding towards developing countries. And first and foremost, there is the reform of the MDBs – without any question. But let me focus on two ways in which we are answering the Secretary-General's call.

First, we have to unlock private capital. With our Global Gateway investment plan, Europe is investing EUR 300 billion in developing economies in the next five years – in renewable energy, stronger health systems, quality education, green transport and of course digital solutions. This is about equipping our partners with the resources, technologies, and skills to move up the value chains, to create jobs for their citizens, and to protect the environment. We are doing so by using a portion of our public budget to de-risk private investments. And we are taking this further. We are also supporting developing and emerging economies to create their own green bond markets in order to attract even more fresh capital towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

My second point is carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is one of the most efficient and effective climate policies. Carbon pricing fosters innovation by the private sector, it makes polluters pay a fair price on carbon and their carbon emissions, while cutting emissions. And the revenues can support the clean transition in developing countries. Let me give you a few figures. Last year alone, Europe's carbon pricing system raised EUR 38 billion. And we are re-investing 100% of it in climate action. But if you look at the global greenhouse gas emissions, only 20% are covered by carbon pricing. Just imagine the global impact, in terms of new revenues – while cutting greenhouse gas emissions – if more countries adopted this strategy and would introduce carbon pricing and dedicate a fair share of their revenues to developing countries and emerging markets.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must double-down on our efforts and have the courage of creative solutions. Let us work together to restore the promise that tomorrow will be better than today for all people on this planet.

Thank you very much.


European Commission College members in New York, USA for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)


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