United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all countries to stop building new coal power plants in his video message to the East Asia Summit 2020.

“To reach carbon neutrality by 2050, I am calling for all countries to stop building new coal power plants and for partners to stop financing them,” the secretary-general said on Saturday.

“Countries also need to put a price on carbon and end subsidies for fossil fuels. Our response to the COVID-19 crisis must be aligned with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

In all these efforts, you can count on the support of the United Nations system,” the UN chief added.

Guterres noted that efforts must be made to “use the COVID-19 recovery effort to build green climate-resilient economies and work towards carbon neutrality by 2050.”

“This will, incidentally, also drive the job creation that will reduce inequality and address the air pollution that is choking many Asian cities.

I commend the recent decisions of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea committing to net zero emissions,” the secretary-general added.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a regional forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Oceanian regions, based on the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism.

Membership expanded to 18 countries including Russia and the United States in 2011.

Since its establishment, ASEAN has held the central role and leadership in the forum. EAS meetings are held after the annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings, and plays an important role in the regional architecture of Asia-Pacific.

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