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Guterres: Transform the crisis of inadequate infrastructure into a chance for growth, while also preserving nature.
Asia Pacific World News

Guterres: Transform the crisis of inadequate infrastructure into a chance for growth, while also preserving nature.

At the third global summit on China’s Belt and Road program, António Guterres addressed the audience. This initiative has provided financial support and constructed infrastructure such as roads, power plants, bridges, ports, and other facilities in developing nations during the last ten years.

Infrastructure is essential for the functioning of society and its economy. However, many people in developing countries do not have access to basic necessities such as clean water, sanitation, electricity, education, healthcare, and modern transportation systems.

Crisis and opportunity

The current “infrastructure crisis” is happening due to the increasing expenses of daily life, growing disparities, and the effects of climate change. Additionally, efforts towards achieving sustainable development and addressing climate change are regressing.

He encouraged leaders to transform the infrastructure crisis into an opportunity for infrastructure development.

“The Belt and Road Initiative acknowledges the unique chance we have to construct contemporary, environmentally-friendly cities, communities, and transportation and power systems that prioritize resilience and sustainability,” he stated, emphasizing its potential impact in two primary areas of focus.

Support economic sustainability

The initial priority is to enhance economic stability in developing nations through restructuring the existing global financial system, advocating for efficient debt relief measures, and backing a yearly $500 billion Stimulus Plan to increase investments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Last month, the leaders of various countries who were present at the SDG Summit at the UN Headquarters showed their support for these initiatives.

“In this particular setting, the Belt and Road Initiative is extremely significant for developing countries. It has funded over 3,000 projects worldwide, totaling close to $1 trillion,” stated the speaker.

Support the preservation of the environment.

The second area for action concerns advancing environmental sustainability, which will require investments that “embed resilience and adaptation across national and local planning” and help meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. 

According to him, the Belt and Road Initiative is a crucial tool for turning these major investments into a tangible reality.

Green Silk Road

The Secretary-General spoke about this matter during a speech at a prestigious gathering focused on the Green Silk Road initiative. The objective of this initiative is to align Belt and Road projects and investments with the principles of sustainability.

Their size, quantity, and range have the potential to significantly alter various aspects of society such as economies, energy systems, transportation, buildings, and entire industries,” he remarked. “It is crucial that we approach these changes in a manner that safeguards the well-being of future generations.”

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres, called on leaders to implement environmentally friendly infrastructure projects that support both people and ecosystems. He also stressed the importance of breaking away from outdated development models that rely on fossil fuels.

Once more, he identified two crucial areas where investments can contribute to increasing efforts towards sustainability and addressing climate change.

“Providing clean energy access to everyone.”

Initially, he emphasized the importance of implementing “eco-friendly transportation and municipal power systems” that do not harm the environment or jeopardize biodiversity, while also ensuring accessible electricity for everyone.

“We must consider the effects on the environment in all construction and building projects,” he stated. “We require structures, water systems, and power systems that can withstand climate-related events and continue to support communities during times of crisis.”

Abandon fossil fuels

Moreover, any fresh investment in infrastructure must “accelerate a fair and environmentally responsible shift away from harmful fossil fuels towards clean, renewable energy” – his second idea.

Mr. Guterres has suggested a Climate Solidarity Pact that would require major emitters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, his Acceleration Agenda calls on all governments to speed up their energy transitions.

The leader of the United Nations emphasized the importance of fulfilling the promise to provide $100 billion in aid for climate initiatives in developing nations. They also called for a doubling of funding for adaptation efforts by 2025 and the establishment of a fund for addressing losses and damages at the upcoming COP28 climate conference in Dubai.

He also remembered his request to cease the approval of new oil and gas initiatives, eliminate government support for fossil fuels, and phase out coal usage by 2040.

He stated that the Green Silk Road could play a crucial role in expediting a fair, equal, and ethical shift towards sustainable energy. This would involve providing clean and affordable electricity to everyone and following net-zero strategies.