The virtual forum, initiated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, was attended by heads of state and government, heads of international organizations, representatives of business and expert communities.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed the opinion that the post-COVID recovery gives a unique opportunity to put environmental protection at the forefront of international agenda.
The President said that for Kazakhstan, its commitment to develop a decarbonized economy has no alternative. According to him, Kazakhstan is the first country in the Commonwealth of Independent States to have ratified the Paris Agreement and was a pioneer in adopting an active climate policy aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Head of State recalled Kazakhstan’s intention to achieve carbon neutrality by the year of 2060, which was announced by him during the Climate Ambition Summit last December.
President Tokayev drew attention to the fact that Kazakhstan remains one of the world’s most energy-intensive countries, with the extractive sector accounting for 50% of industrial manufacturing. Almost 70 percent of electricity generation still depends on coal.
In this regard, the Head of State called “greening” of the extractive industry is both a paramount challenge and absolute priority for Kazakhstan’s sustainable development. According to the President, Kazakhstan is now working on the Low-Carbon Development Concept until 2050.
“To reduce Kazakhstan’s energy balance dependency on coal combustion, the National Electricity Development Project will be developed to address the following key priorities: gas, water, and renewable energy development. On top of that Kazakhstan will plant as many as 2 billion trees in the next five years,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted.
President Tokayev quoted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stated that if the world wants to rebuild back better, it cannot revert to the old normal. In this context, Kazakhstan President called for strengthening inclusive multilateralism to ensure that no country is left behind and that the 2030 SDG Agenda is implemented to the fullest extent.
“With smart policies and investments, we can chart a path to the greener global economy. To achieve that, it is important to mobilize adequate financial resources, from both private and public sectors. We welcome the coordinated multilateral efforts in the “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” framework,” the President underscored.
Addressing the virtual roundtable participants, President Tokayev stressed that a stronger and greener recovery is integral to the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
The Head of State is convinced that 2021 offers an opportunity to decelerate rapid climate change and ecological degradation.
“It is crucial that a noble cause of saving the environment is not used as a barrier to trade and investment. I confirm Kazakhstan’s firm commitment to this ambitious endeavor,” the President concluded.