UN SG and Dia Mirza
UNFCCC/Kiara Worth
04 December 2023

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and SDG Advocate Dia Mirza call for urgent climate action, global cooperation and youth empowerment

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and SDG Advocate Dia Mirza call for urgent climate action, global cooperation and youth empowerment.

At COP28, Dia Mirza, the UN Secretary-General’s Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador, engaged in a dynamic conversation with UN Secretary-General António Guterres about the pressing need for climate action. 

Their conversation covered key issues, including the current status in our collective fight against the climate crisis, the challenges hindering progress, the importance of heightened ambition and credible action, and the need for global cooperation. 

“Climate change is the existential threat of our generation,” the Secretary-General said, pointing to the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on vulnerable communities despite their minimal contributions to climate change. He stressed the urgency for action, including the importance of financial support for these nations and the necessity for developed countries to fulfill their commitments. 

They also addressed the role of social media in galvanizing urgent climate action as Ms. Mirza shared the challenges she faces as an advocate but highlighted the immense support and innovative ideas coming from young people worldwide. 

“My interactions with young people all over the world involve understanding and adopting the science, educating and informing themselves, and, of course, using all of their strength and resources to educate and inform everyone else around,” she added. 

Echoing that sentiment, the Secretary-General expressed hope in the younger generation's global perspective and determination to tackle climate change. He said, “Young people are more cosmopolitan now with a much stronger sense that they are also citizens of the world and not only of their country, and that is the main reason why I'm hopeful because my generation has failed." 

Their conversation emphasized the need for COP28 to result in commitments from governments to align with the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement, phase out fossil fuels, prioritize the transition to renewable energy and ensure energy access for all, and deliver climate justice. They concluded optimistically, recognizing the potential for positive change driven by the younger, more globally conscious generation. 

Watch the full interview [HERE]