Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Special Envoy to the High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy

Ministers, secretary-general, excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

The Sustainable Development Goals unit all countries behind a very ambitious 2030 Agenda. It makes all countries, developing countries, we all strive to achieve that Agenda. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, likewise, is very ambitious and very necessary. Today, we are lagging behind, we are already seeing dramatic and accelerating effects of climate change, all over the world, and we are seeing a dramatic drop of biodiversity.

Chinese leadership is essential to the 2030 Agenda, to the climate action agenda, to the biodiversity agenda. Chinese solutions are equally essential in green energy, green transportation, green finance, green trade, if we are to achieve our shared global ambitions. And with that Chinese leadership and Chinese solutions, the BRI has huge potential to bring those solutions to the world. Indeed, the BRI should become a massive roll-out of green infrastructure investment.

We must acknowledge that this is not truly happening so far. There is worrying carbon footprint, and there are also concerns about transparency and economic sustainability. That’s why the initiative to establish the BRI Green Development Coalition is so important. And it is why that it is so important and reassuring to hear the commitment expressed by Chinese ministers and secretary-general today. Because what China is demonstrating at home based on its concept of ecological civilization is also that it’s not only that large scale green solutions are the environmentally right thing to do, it’s also making economic sense. The green solutions are increasingly the economically reasonable solutions and therefore the smart path of development. And if these solutions are universalized, are shared, are basis for, or objects for experience sharing between the BRI countries, then the BRI can be a huge contribution to the SDGs and to the Paris Agreement. The world needs that urgently, so let’s get down to work. Thank you very much.

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