I’m grateful for the significant input we have received to address the issue of recovering better from the Covid-19 pandemic. Particular thanks go to the Deputy Secretary General, Canada and Jamaica for leading this process, and to our co-leads Rwanda, Fiji and the EU for your excellent collaboration.
The pandemic has painfully exposed our vulnerabilities. Whilst we remain committed to tackling its immediate impacts, we must also seize this opportunity to create greener, healthier, more inclusive and resilient economies and societies, and to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement.
The UK has been proud to co-lead the Recovering Better for Sustainability discussion group. From governments to the private sector to civil society, we are all responsible and must work together in the spirit of global solidarity, to drive the changes we want to see.
From the hundreds of policy ideas suggested to us, we have prioritised truly transformational actions. I would like to use this opportunity to identify a few of our key priorities.
We need a recovery that enables climate-resilient growth, protects our biodiversity and promotes sustainable ways of living. It is therefore critical that member states deliver updated and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions, integrate these within their recovery plans, and commit to aligning their spending with the objectives of the Paris agreement. The UK is committed to taking forward all these actions.
It is more important now than ever before that we also prioritise building strong and resilient health systems, underpinned by universal health coverage, that deliver better health for everyone and are resilient to threats. The UK is supporting countries to do this by addressing both the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic, having already committed £774m to tackling COVID-19.
We have championed an inclusive recovery, stressing support for the most vulnerable to build fairer societies and ensure no one is left behind. Girls’ education is a vital component of this work with the UK already working to ensure girls and vulnerable children continue to learn whilst schools are closed and are supported to safely get back to school and catch-up on lost learning.
These are some of our key priorities, but I urge you to review the recommendations in full as we owe it to future generations to build back better and accelerate progress in this Decade of Action.
The UK will continue to drive forward this ambition through our presidencies of COP26 and the G7 next year. We are relying on your support to commit to and deliver the collective action needed for a global recovery.
I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to put these ambitions in to practice.