Ban expresses condolences following deadly earthquake in north-west China
23 July 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his deepest condolences following the earthquake that struck China’s north-west Gansu province and resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.
“Our thoughts are with the families of victims and wounded people,” Mr. Ban said yesterday during an event held at the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations.
“I am sure that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and help of people, there will be speedy recovery of those who are injured. I sincerely hope that the people of China will be able to overcome this very tragic [incident].”
The death toll has reportedly risen to over 90 from the 6.6-magnitude quake that occurred early Monday morning near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, while more than 1,000 people are said to be injured.
According to a situation report issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), tens of thousands of houses have either collapsed or suffered damage, local roads have been badly damaged, and power and communications have been cut off.
“Secondary disasters such as landslides continued to occur, leading to disastrous impacts,” stated the report, adding that heavy rain is forecast for the quake-hit areas and people have been advised to avoid steep mountains due to possible landslides and aftershocks.
Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45479&Cr=quake&Cr1=Back to Top
General Assembly sets up new UN forum to boost sustainable development efforts
9 July 2013 The General Assembly today established a new High-level Political Forum, which will replace the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, to boost efforts to tackle global economic, social and environmental challenges.
In a resolution adopted by consensus, the 193-member Assembly emphasized the need for an improved and more effective institutional framework for sustainable development, and decided that the Forum should provide “a dynamic platform for regular dialogue and for stocktaking and agenda-setting to advance that process.”
The decision follows up on a key recommendation of ‘The Future We Want,’ the outcome document of last year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20.
“Establishing the Forum marks a major step forward in implementing ‘The Future We Want’,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The Forum can provide the political leadership and action-oriented recommendations we need to follow up on all the Rio recommendations and meet urgent global economic, social and environmental challenges. “Countries must do their utmost to realize the Forum’s potential.”
The Forum will convene annually at the ministerial level under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and it will, every four years, bring together heads of State to provide added momentum for sustainable development. Its first meeting will be held in September, during the Assembly’s forthcoming 68th session.
The new body is tasked with providing political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development; reviewing progress in the implementation of related commitments; and enhancing integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
“We are simply not doing enough to meet the fundamental challenges of our time: to end extreme poverty in this generation and significantly narrow the global gap between rich and poor, without inflicting irreparable damage to the environmental basis for our survival,” said General Assembly President Vuk Jeremiæ.
“The new Forum must be more than just a meeting place – it must be the place where countries and civil society generate the momentum for change.”
The Forum will replace the Commission on Sustainable Development, which was formed after the 1992 Earth Summit and helped to generate action on a range of issues that led to international agreements or treaties.
Governments and civil society actors, however, came to share a belief in recent years that a higher-profile body was needed to guide sustainable development towards ‘the future we want.’
The Assembly recommended that ECOSOC abolish the Commission upon the conclusion of its 20th session – whose timing, agenda and duration was postponed from May, pending progress on the format and organizational modalities of the Forum.Back to Top
UN chief praises EU proposal to temporarily curb oversupply of emission allowances
5 July 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed a move by the European Parliament to support the proposal to backload permits from the European Union’s carbon market.
“The vote sends a clear signal that the European Union remains committed to carbon pricing,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said in a statement.
On 3 July, EU politicians in Strasbourg voted 344-311 in favour of temporarily removing a maximum of 900 million permits, out a total surplus of around 1.7 billion, from trade. The move is meant to drive up carbon prices which have been at a record low.
According to today’s statement, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the UN chief hopes more structural reforms will now follow in order to strengthen the EU’s carbon market “as a driver for innovation and energy efficient solutions.”
The Secretary-General added that the EU’s carbon market is an inspiration to the development of similar markets in China, Australia, South Korea and the United States.
“Europe must continue its fight against climate change,” Mr. Ban said. “An effective and well-functioning carbon market is a key tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.”
Ensuring environmental sustainability is one of the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a deadline of 2015.
In addition, the UN is now working with partners on a post-2015 sustainable development that will build on the progress made by the MDGs.Back to Top
In Shanghai, UN posters raise awareness of wildlife protection among metro travellers
1 July 2013 Large-screen displays and posters of endangered animal species are being displayed at metro stations in Shanghai, China, as part of a United Nations-backed campaign to send a message to millions of travellers about the damage caused by demand for illegal wildlife products.
One of the powerful images shows an elephant in black and white, with the quote “Buying Illegal Ivory is Killing Me,” along with basic data on illegal poaching and how this is affecting animal species around the world.
“Public awareness was a key factor behind the reduction in the demand for ivory in North America and Europe in the 20th century, and it can play its part in reducing the illegal wildlifThe fact is that many consumers in places like Asia are simply unaware that products like illegally sourced ivory and rhino horn come at a terrible price to the species and communities concerned.e trade today as demand moves to emerging markets,” said the Director of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Division of Communications and Public Information, Nick Nuttall.
“The fact is that many consumers in places like Asia are simply unaware that products like illegally sourced ivory and rhino horn come at a terrible price to the species and communities concerned.”
Demand for illegal ivory remains highest in Asia, particularly China, which has led to spike in elephant killings in Africa, which are now at their highest levels in around a decade. Data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) monitoring programme shows that 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2011. This figure is believed to be a significant underestimation.
The surge in killings is threatening the future of some elephant populations and the livelihoods of millions of people linked to tourism, UNEP said in a news release.
As part of their strategy to address the issue, UNEP and CITES partnered with Shanghai authorities to put up posters in the city’s metro network – one of the busiest in the world, which carried almost 2.3 billion passengers last year.
“This exhibition is about education and awareness-raising on the reality behind many of the carvings and materials sourced from the wild animals concerned, which in turn can catalyze the power of the consumer to change the future at this crucial juncture,” said Mr. Nuttall.
Li Bingbing visits with baby elephant orphans at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, meets the brave force on the frontline at Kenya Wildlife Service and raising awareness with World Experts at UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya. Photos: UNEP
Actress Li Bingbing, one of China’s most-popular celebrities and a rising Hollywood star, who is also a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, has urged greater effort by governments and consumers to combat illegal wildlife trade.
Speaking during a visit to Kenya in May, Ms. Li said citizens and the business community in Asia can play a crucial role in preventing the illegal killing of elephants in Africa by saying ‘no’ to ivory products.
“The current poaching crisis raises major concerns about the survival of elephants and rhinos here in Kenya,” she said. “But there are also other, far-reaching impacts. Illegal killings of elephants are being linked to organized crime and the funding of armed militia groups. Many consumers in Asia do not realize that by buying ivory, they are playing a role in the illegal wildlife trade and its serious consequences.”
Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45317&Cr=UNEP&Cr1=Back to Top