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UN officials optimistic of Paris climate accord’s entry into force by year’s end

29 September 2016 – Senior United Nations officials today announced that the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change signed by world leaders this past April is closer to entering into force, as India – a country that produces more than four per cent of global emissions – plans to submit its ratification at the end of the week.

“It’s a very, very interesting period,” said David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, at a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York this afternoon, during which he told reporters that India will submit its ratification on 2 October, the birthdate of Mahatma Gandhi.

“As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his speeches at various points last week, we are tantalizingly close to the Paris Agreement entering into force,” he added.

Adopted in Paris by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a conference known as COP21 this past December, the Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future, as well as to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. Specifically, it seeks to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The pact – which was signed in New York on 22 April by 175 countries at the largest, single-day signing ceremony in history – will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left), UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and President François Hollande of France (right), celebrate historic adoption of Paris Agreement. Photo: UNFCCC

During the UN General Assembly’s general debate this past week, 32 more countries deposited their instruments of ratification for the Agreement, bringing the total to 61 countries that have formally joined the pact, and officially crossing one of the two thresholds required to bring it into force.

Those 61 countries together represent 47.79 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Following the announcement regarding India, formal approval from countries representing slightly more than three per cent in global emissions is still needed.

In early September, the world’s two largest emitters, China and the United States, joined the Agreement.

At the briefing today, Mr. Nabarro expressed confidence that the Agreement will enter into force at some point this year, highlighting that at least 14 other countries, representing at least 12 per cent of global emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact.

“There’s a kind of race going on now, for countries to come in there and make sure that they are part of the ratification community – to show that they are part of wanting to get the Agreement into force,” he said.

“We think we’re going to have the speediest entry into force for any agreement that requires such a large number of ratifications. And that’s why I’ve got a smile, because it’s really good news,” he added.

The Special Adviser also praised Mr. Ban for the high-level event on the Agreement’s entry into force that was held at UN Headquarters on 21 September.

“It showed us that the momentum for climate action, linked with the momentum for action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is really strong, and it’s growing. And there’s a really deepening understanding that we cannot afford to postpone action on climate change,” Mr. Nabarro said.

Selwin Hart, Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, addresses a press briefing on climate change and sustainable development. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Also speaking today was Selwin Hart, Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, who encouraged all countries to ratify the Agreement as soon as possible.

“These are truly exciting times,” he said, adding that the Agreement’s entry into force would raise hope regarding climate change, especially in the most vulnerable countries.

“With the speedy and early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, this has sent a clear signal to the real economy that governments are serious, and that governments will implement the goals of the Agreement,” he said.

Mr. Hart highlighted that coming from a small island developing State, the Agreement is a “really big step forward.”

“It matters for the survival of small island developing States, for African countries, for least developed countries, and also for vulnerable communities even in advanced economies,” he stressed.

He also noted that tomorrow, European environmental ministers will decide how the European Union (EU) and its members will advance their ratification of the Agreement. Expressing hope that the EU countries will agree to deposit their instruments of ratification on an accelerated timeline – and possibly during the first week of October – he said that the Agreement could enter into force in time for the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC, which will take place from 7 to 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55166

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UN officials optimistic of Paris climate accord’s entry into force by year’s end

29 September 2016 – Senior United Nations officials today announced that the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change signed by world leaders this past April is closer to entering into force, as India – a country that produces more than four per cent of global emissions – plans to submit its ratification at the end of the week.

“It’s a very, very interesting period,” said David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, at a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York this afternoon, during which he told reporters that India will submit its ratification on 2 October, the birthdate of Mahatma Gandhi.

“As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his speeches at various points last week, we are tantalizingly close to the Paris Agreement entering into force,” he added.

Adopted in Paris by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a conference known as COP21 this past December, the Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future, as well as to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. Specifically, it seeks to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The pact – which was signed in New York on 22 April by 175 countries at the largest, single-day signing ceremony in history – will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left), UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and President François Hollande of France (right), celebrate historic adoption of Paris Agreement. Photo: UNFCCC

During the UN General Assembly’s general debate this past week, 32 more countries deposited their instruments of ratification for the Agreement, bringing the total to 61 countries that have formally joined the pact, and officially crossing one of the two thresholds required to bring it into force.

Those 61 countries together represent 47.79 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Following the announcement regarding India, formal approval from countries representing slightly more than three per cent in global emissions is still needed.

In early September, the world’s two largest emitters, China and the United States, joined the Agreement.

At the briefing today, Mr. Nabarro expressed confidence that the Agreement will enter into force at some point this year, highlighting that at least 14 other countries, representing at least 12 per cent of global emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact.

“There’s a kind of race going on now, for countries to come in there and make sure that they are part of the ratification community – to show that they are part of wanting to get the Agreement into force,” he said.

“We think we’re going to have the speediest entry into force for any agreement that requires such a large number of ratifications. And that’s why I’ve got a smile, because it’s really good news,” he added.

The Special Adviser also praised Mr. Ban for the high-level event on the Agreement’s entry into force that was held at UN Headquarters on 21 September.

“It showed us that the momentum for climate action, linked with the momentum for action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is really strong, and it’s growing. And there’s a really deepening understanding that we cannot afford to postpone action on climate change,” Mr. Nabarro said.

Selwin Hart, Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, addresses a press briefing on climate change and sustainable development. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Also speaking today was Selwin Hart, Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, who encouraged all countries to ratify the Agreement as soon as possible.

“These are truly exciting times,” he said, adding that the Agreement’s entry into force would raise hope regarding climate change, especially in the most vulnerable countries.

“With the speedy and early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, this has sent a clear signal to the real economy that governments are serious, and that governments will implement the goals of the Agreement,” he said.

Mr. Hart highlighted that coming from a small island developing State, the Agreement is a “really big step forward.”

“It matters for the survival of small island developing States, for African countries, for least developed countries, and also for vulnerable communities even in advanced economies,” he stressed.

He also noted that tomorrow, European environmental ministers will decide how the European Union (EU) and its members will advance their ratification of the Agreement. Expressing hope that the EU countries will agree to deposit their instruments of ratification on an accelerated timeline – and possibly during the first week of October – he said that the Agreement could enter into force in time for the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC, which will take place from 7 to 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55166

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UN highlights agriculture’s potential to help address climate change and antimicrobial resistance

26 September 2016 – The role of agriculture should go beyond just generating food to help address global challenges such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance, the head of United Nations agriculture agency stressed today.

“Agriculture is at the very heart” of a recent series of ground-breaking international agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva told ministers, and representatives of government, private sector and civil society attending the biannual meeting of the agency’s Committee on Agriculture, according to a FAO news release

“Sustainable agriculture is paramount to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, to sustain natural resources, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, to achieve healthier food systems and to build resilience against crises and natural disasters,” he said.

While past developments in agriculture have led to major improvements in productivity, he continued, “progress has been uneven” and that “greater emphasis must be placed on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability.”

The Director-General pointed to growing international recognition that agriculture can play a transformative role in addressing the impacts of climate change.

Countries are set to gather for the next Conference of States Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), informally known as ‘COP 22,’ in Morocco in November to put into motion their pledges on climate change, and FAO “stands ready to assist governments, especially of developing countries to have access to international resources that are available to finance these actions,” he said.

Mr. Graziano da Silva also noted that the “role of agriculture goes beyond generating food and income,” referring to FAO’s recent commitment at the UN General Assembly to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to curb antimicrobial resistance.

“We at FAO believe that antibiotics and other antimicrobials should be used in agriculture to cure diseases and to alleviate suffering. Only under strict circumstances they could be used to prevent an imminent threat of infection,” he said.

Mr. Graziano da Silva told the Committee’s opening session today that in 2014-15, FAO supported 245 initiatives in 89 countries to promote sustainable agricultural production practices based on participatory approaches.

The Committee meets every two years to assess the current state of affairs in world agriculture and provide guidance to FAO on its program of work.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55134

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At UN, Kyrgyz Minister cites ‘tangible blows’ to country’s economy due to climate change

24 September 2016 – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly today, Erlan Abdyldavev, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan, expressed support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which contain a number of targets that are priorities for his country, including poverty reduction, high-quality education, health care, economic growth and environmental protection.

In this regard, he announced that he had signed the Paris Agreement yesterday. “In Kyrgyzstan, rising global temperatures are already causing natural disasters,” he said and enumerated the many environmental stresses the country faces. He called for international support to help his country adapt to climate change. Particularly concerning is the rapid rate of glacial melting, shrinking biodiversity and uranium mining sites, which, despite having been addressed under General Assembly resolution 68/218, now require a high-level international meeting.

Turning to issues of security and stability, he expressed concern about tensions in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ukraine, and noted that terrorism, extremism and religious intolerance afflict his country, as they do so many others. Observing that the “confrontational position of some countries” is hindering the international community’s ability to tackle those threats, he called for world Powers to set aside their disputes and undertake joint efforts to counter threats to international security

He went on to note there needs to be a General Assembly resolution on inter-religious dialogue and cooperation for peace. Concerned about his country’s electricity shortage, he called for Central Asia to reach a common understanding on the rational use of energy resources and an expeditious resolution of border disputes. He added his voice to others calling for Security Council reform, and welcomed recent procedural changes in the election of the Secretary-General.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55110

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At UN, Tonga shares experiences on preserving marine diversity, tackling non-communicable diseases

24 September 2016 – As the United Nations General Assembly continued its annual high-level debate today, Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, the Prime Minister of Tonga, continued his country’s strong advocacy for the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s oceans and their natural resources.

“Tonga attaches great importance to Sustainable Development Goal 14 and believes it can be attained through set targets and indicators,” he said, adding that Tonga looked forward to the upcoming UN conference Goal 14 as an opportunity to see where the international community stands on the Organization’s efforts to preserve this precious resource, by, among others, build on existing successful partnerships and stimulate innovative and concrete new partnerships to advance the implementation of the Goal.

Regarding the exploitation of biological diversity, he said that regulation of areas beyond national jurisdictions was yet to be realized. In accordance with the 2014 decision of Pacific Island Forum leaders, Tonga supported the ongoing process of preparatory meetings.

He went on to say that Tonga pays close attention to the interaction of the ocean with climate matters, noting that it has signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. “We cannot face the challenges of climate change alone,” he emphasized.

Calling attention to his country’s “clear and unambiguous” links to international peace and security, he called upon the Special Representative on Climate and Security, as well as the UN Security Council, to raise the issue in the necessary platforms.

“Tonga is the third most vulnerable country in the world to the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said, stressing that their seriousness could not be underestimated.

Noting that the maintenance of international peace and security would be determined by the issue of disarmament, he said the proliferation of weapons in all their forms not only threatened international peace and security, but demonstrated the sheer waste of financial resources. Those funds might be better spent on international sustainable development initiatives and improving people’s lives, he pointed out.

Mr. Pohiva also laid out his country’s efforts to address the spread of non-communicable diseases. In that regard, it partnered with the wider Pacific community to host a special conference on the issue. At that meeting, delegations noted the rampant spread of non-communicable diseases throughout the region and considered actions to put a stop to it.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55104

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At UN, Kyrgyz Minster cites ‘tangible blows’ to country’s economy due to climate change

24 September 2016 – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly today, Erlan Abdyldavev, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan, expressed support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which contain a number of targets that are priorities for his country, including poverty reduction, high-quality education, health care, economic growth and environmental protection.

In this regard, he announced that he had signed the Paris Agreement yesterday. “In Kyrgyzstan, rising global temperatures are already causing natural disasters,” he said and enumerated the many environmental stresses the country faces. He called for international support to help his country adapt to climate change. Particularly concerning is the rapid rate of glacial melting, shrinking biodiversity and uranium mining sites, which, despite having been addressed under General Assembly resolution 68/218, now require a high-level international meeting.

Turning to issues of security and stability, he expressed concern about tensions in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ukraine, and noted that terrorism, extremism and religious intolerance afflict his country, as they do so many others. Observing that the “confrontational position of some countries” is hindering the international community’s ability to tackle those threats, he called for world Powers to set aside their disputes and undertake joint efforts to counter threats to international security

He went on to note there needs to be a General Assembly resolution on inter-religious dialogue and cooperation for peace. Concerned about his country’s electricity shortage, he called for Central Asia to reach a common understanding on the rational use of energy resources and an expeditious resolution of border disputes. He added his voice to others calling for Security Council reform, and welcomed recent procedural changes in the election of the Secretary-General.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55110

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‘This is no longer a time for promises,’ African leaders tell UN, urging action on Global Goals

22 September 2016 – While the current session of the United Nations General Assembly has opened in a context marked by turmoil, Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon said this morning there are nevertheless some “bright spots and glimmers of hope,” including the adoption by Member States of landmark agreements on climate change, development financing and sustainable development.

Welcoming the decision to focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the theme of this year’s general debate, President Biya said that under that ambitious framework, “our common goals is to eradicate poverty and leave no one behind. This is a challenge we have set for ourselves and which we must take up together […] to answer the calls of both our people and history.

At the same time, he recalled that the international community had in the past adopted similarly promising agendas and action plans that had raised the world’s hopes, only to see the multilateral system fail to meet expectations when the agreed actions were only partially implemented.

“Let us get organized and make sure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fair better; since the Agenda is transformational, let us rally to meet our ambitions” Mr. Biya continued, urging constant political will that does not “wax and wane” with changing circumstances; the mobilization of sufficient resources; and ensuring the requisite solidarity.

In this way, the international could achieve the Global Goals which will lead to ‘the world we want,’” he said, emphasizing: “This is no longer a time for promises; this is the time for commitment; this is a time for action.”

Noting that wider efforts to achieve the Global Goals would indeed meet serious obstacles, President Biya cited terrorism as a specific challenge for his county. Indeed, it is in “a veritable war” against the scourge.

Combatting terrorism, he said, requires “a collective response, collective determination and collective action,” in line with the targets of SDG 16, which focuses on the promotion and advent of peaceful and inclusive societies, and should serve as a guide for helping to strengthen Cameroon and the wide region by assisting with building capacity at all levels to effectively fight to confront Boko Haram and combat other criminal activity.

“The outcomes of previous agendas and programmes have shown us the urgent need to find wherewithal to achieve our ambitions. If we decide, here and now, to effectively and concretely mobilize our immense resources, and if we decide to devote them to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, then [they] will truly become the push to transform today’s world into [one] of peace and shared prosperity,” Mr. Biya concluded.

President Patrice Athanase Guillaume Talon of Benin addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

In his remarks, Patrice Athanase Guillaume Talon, the President of Benin, also welcomed the theme of the general debate, saying the subject of SDG implementation is timely and necessary. Indeed, the world has always managed to mobilize and organize itself when confronted with immense challenges or faced with global threats, such as climate change.

“Our world, as open as it is today, will more than ever suffer from the consequences of poverty, in particular the migration movements, unruly and destabilizing as they are, if nothing is done. Mass poverty has now become a major threat to humanity,” he said that with the same determination that led the world to adopt the Paris Agreement on climate change, “it has become urgent to put in place a global programme to eradicate mass poverty.”

With this in mind, Mr. Talon called on the most developed countries and the development finance institutions to implement a strong collective action plan with a view to eradicating poverty, which he said is dangerously side-lining most African countries.

“The international community has the capacity and has recently proved so when preventing Greece and Ukraine from collapsing. Efforts made to that end did not ruin the countries or the institutions that mobilized themselves for this rescue operation,” he said, stressing that quickly and efficiently eradicating poverty and underdevelopment in Africa world require “the same will but not necessarily more means.”

Acknowledging that African countries will of course need to take their part of responsibility by doing more for political stability and above all, good governance, he noted that Benin is taking relevant action in that regard. “One can add to this nearly half a century of political stability, as well as a mature democracy; all these elements give Benin the capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, provided the country receives adequate support,” he concluded.

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

For his part, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso, said that achieving real sustainable development requires the international community to eradicate poverty and fight inequality. His country had developed a national plan to integrate the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. In Burkina Faso’s endeavour to efficiently implement those goals, his Government knew that it could count on the active solidarity of all.

Terrorist attacks and unprecedented violence have manifested as a worldwide scourge, he said, and continued by acknowledging the memories of all victims of terrorism. “Our fight will only bear fruit if we destroy the rear-guard and manage to cut the supply source of terrorism,” he continued. That should be done parallel to managing the root causes of terrorism: injustice, exclusivism and poverty.

Peace, security and development are monumental challenges for the world, and Africa in particular, he said. His Government welcomed the progress made in the region, although hotbeds and flashpoints remain.

The security situation in northern Mali continues to cause great concern, requiring a strengthened mandate for UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) and the implementation of the rapid intervention force of the Group of Five Sahel, known as the G-5 Sahel. South Sudan and Somalia are other countries that had to “close the chapter on violence”. Furthermore, his country reiterated its appeal for a political solution to the conflict in Western Sahara.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55028

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‘This is no longer a time for promises,’ Cameroon President tells UN, urging action on Global Goals

22 September 2016 – While the current session of the United Nations General Assembly has opened in a context marked by turmoil, Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon said this morning there are nevertheless some “bright spots and glimmers of hope,” including the adoption by Member States of landmark agreements on climate change, development financing and sustainable development.

Welcoming the decision to focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the theme of this year’s general debate, President Biya said that under that ambitious framework, “our common goals is to eradicate poverty and leave no one behind. This is a challenge we have set for ourselves and which we must take up together […] to answer the calls of both our people and history.

At the same time, he recalled that the international community had in the past adopted similarly promising agendas and action plans that had raised the world’s hopes, only to see the multilateral system fail to meet expectations when the agreed actions were only partially implemented.

“Let us get organized and make sure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fair better; since the Agenda is transformational, let us rally to meet our ambitions” Mr. Biya continued, urging constant political will that does not “wax and wane” with changing circumstances; the mobilization of sufficient resources; and ensuring the requisite solidarity.

In this way, the international could achieve the Global Goals which will lead to ‘the world we want,’” he said, emphasizing: “This is no longer a time for promises; this is the time for commitment; this is a time for action.”

Noting that wider efforts to achieve the Global Goals would indeed meet serious obstacles, President Biya cited terrorism as a specific challenge for his county. Indeed, it is in “a veritable war” against the scourge.

Combatting terrorism, he said, requires “a collective response, collective determination and collective action,” in line with the targets of SDG 16, which focuses on the promotion and advent of peaceful and inclusive societies, and should serve as a guide for helping to strengthen Cameroon and the wide region by assisting with building capacity at all levels to effectively fight to confront Boko Haram and combat other criminal activity.

“The outcomes of previous agendas and programmes have shown us the urgent need to find wherewithal to achieve our ambitions. If we decide, here and now, to effectively and concretely mobilize our immense resources, and if we decide to devote them to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, then [they] will truly become the push to transform today’s world into [one] of peace and shared prosperity,” Mr. Biya concluded.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55028

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‘There is no time to waste’ Ban says, as Paris climate accord crosses first threshold for entry into force

21 September 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today that more than 55 countries have formally joined the Paris Agreement on climate change signed by world leaders this past April, officially crossing one of the two thresholds required to bring into force the landmark pact that seeks to put the world on a path towards low-carbon growth and a more sustainable future.

“I am confident that, by the time I leave office, the Paris Agreement will have entered into force,” the UN chief said in remarks following a high-level event on the Agreement’s entry into force at UN Headquarters in New York this morning. “This will be a major achievement for multilateralism.”

At the meeting, 31 additional countries deposited their instruments of ratification for the Agreement, bringing the total to 60 countries that together represent more than 47.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Adopted in Paris by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a conference known as COP21 this past December, the Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. Specifically, it seeks to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The pact – which was signed in New York on 22 April by 175 countries at the largest, single-day signing ceremony in history – will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification. Following today’s meeting, formal approval from countries representing 7.5 per cent in global emissions is still needed.

In early September, the world’s two largest emitters, China and the United States, joined the Agreement.

Noting that he is heartened by the “tremendous support” for bringing the Agreement into force in 2016, the Secretary-General said that a “diverse group” of world leaders have committed to ratify and deposit their legal instruments this year. That group includes Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the European Union, France, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Poland and the Republic of Korea.

“Now, this means we will cross the final barrier for entry into force of the Paris Agreement,” Mr. Ban stressed, appealing to all leaders to accelerate their domestic procedures to join the Agreement this year.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expresses confidence that the Paris Agreement will enter into force before he leaves office at the end of the year. Credit: UN News Centre

“When this year ends, I hope we can all look back with pride, knowing that, together, we seized the opportunity to act for the common good, for a sustainable future and the protection of our common home,” he added.

Nine months since the Paris climate conference

At the start of today’s meeting, the Secretary-General also praised the 29 countries – accounting for 40 per cent of global emissions – that had previously formally joined the Agreement since the signing ceremony, congratulating them for their continued efforts to push forward the pact’s entry into force.

Today will take us one step closer to bringing the Paris Agreement into force this year

“There is no time to waste. Today will take us one step closer to bringing the Paris Agreement into force this year,” the UN chief stressed.

Hailing the unprecedented and continued global momentum behind the Agreement, Mr. Ban called on world leaders to capitalize on that momentum to ensure the pact’s entry into force and limit climate risks for a healthy planet.

“The remarkable support for this Agreement reflects the urgency and magnitude of the challenge. Emissions continue to rise. So does the global thermostat – and the risks,” the UN chief said.

Paris Agreement on climate change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulates Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China, for the ratification of the Paris Agreement since its opening for signature on 22 April 2016.
High-level Event on the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Paris Agreement on climate change

United States Secretary of State John Kerry (foreground) addresses the High-level Event on the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement, convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the margins of the General Assembly’s general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Paris Agreement on climate change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) speaks to journalists, following the High-level Event on the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement on climate change. At his side is Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UN Photo/JC McIlwaine


“Climate impacts are increasing. No nation or community is immune, but the vulnerable are feeling the effects first and worst,” he added.

He also thanked the countries that deposited their instruments of ratification today, as well as those world leaders who have submitted recorded video messages committing to join the Agreement before the end of the year.

“I commend this collective display of leadership. Only through such solidarity can we limit climate risks and build a world of peace, dignity and prosperity for all on a healthy planet,” Mr. Ban said.

In remarks to the media following the high-level meeting this morning, the UN chief highlighted that just nine months have passed since the Paris climate conference.

“This is testament to the urgency of the crisis we have,” Mr. Ban reiterated, adding that, with the Paris Agreement, “we have a real chance to reduce global emissions and build climate resilience.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54997

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As ‘environment powerhouse,’ Brazil to join Paris climate accord, President tells UN Assembly

20 September 2016 – Following the tradition of being the first Head of State to address the annual United Nations General Assembly’s annual general debate, the President of Brazil today pledged that his country will formally join the Paris Agreement on climate change by depositing its instrument of ratification at a special event tomorrow with the UN Secretary-General.

“As the world’s most biodiverse country and displaying one of the world’s cleanest energy matrices, Brazil is an environment powerhouse with an uncompromising commitment to the environment,” Michel Temer told the Assembly in an address that also covered a wide range of issues, including protracted conflicts, multilateralism, nuclear proliferation, the refugee crisis, development, and democracy.

He said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the greatest UN endeavour in favour of development, stressing that turning it into reality will require more than the sum of national efforts. Supporting developing countries will be crucial to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Prosperity and well-being today should not impair the future of mankind. Economic growth should be socially balanced and environmentally friendly,” he said. “We live in the same Planet. There is no plan B. We must take ambitious measures under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”

On terrorism and war, Mr. Temer pointed out that those who sow conflict have reinvented themselves, but multilateral institutions have yet to do so, while underscoring the need for the reform of the UN Security Council.

“Our discussions and negotiations must not be confined to these rooms and corridors. They must also be projected into the markets of Kabul, the streets of Paris, the ruins of Aleppo,” he said. “The United Nations cannot merely amount to an observation post for the condemnation of global scourges. It should be a source of effective solutions.”

He indicated that these solutions are needed to address the situations, including the war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and lack of progress in nuclear disarmament.

But “not all news is bad” for diplomacy, he said, citing the Iranian nuclear issue, the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), as well as the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

This year, Brazil and Argentina celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, he noted, adding that the Agency is the world’s only bi-national organization responsible for applying nuclear safeguards, inspiring regional and global efforts towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

He warned against protectionism in trade, for which development depends on. “Protectionism is a perverse barrier to development. It subtracts jobs and makes men, women and families around the world – including in Brazil – fall victim to unemployment and despair,” he said.

On the refugees and migrants crisis, he said that “Brazil is the work of immigrants, men and women from all continents,” vehemently reject all forms of racism, xenophobia and other expressions of intolerance. To the extent of its capacities, Brazil gives shelter to refugees and migrants.

He also highlighted that the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games held in Rio proved that nations can come together in an atmosphere of peace and harmony, and that for the first time ever, a delegation of refugees competed in the Games. “Through sport, we can further peace, fight against exclusion and combat prejudice,” he said.

This was Mr. Temer’s first attendance in the General Debate, as his predecessor Dilma Rousseff, who addressed the Assembly last year, has been impeached.

“Brazil experienced a long and complex process – conducted and with rules established by the Brazilian National Congress and by the Supreme Court – which led to an impeachment,” he said. “Such a process took place in absolute respect to the constitutional order. Impeaching a President is certainly not a trivial matter in a democratic regime. But there is no democracy without rule of law – without rules applicable to all, including the most powerful. This is what Brazil is showing the world.”

He added that a cleansing process of its political system is under way, noting that Brazil has an independent Judiciary Branch, an active Public Prosecution Office, and Executive and Legislative bodies that do their jobs. “The wills of individuals do not prevail over the strength of institutions, nor over the watchful eye of a plural society and a press that is completely free,” he said.

Mr. Temer is among the many leaders who will address the general debate of 71st General Assembly. The high-level segment of the Assembly opened this year with the adoption yesterday of the New York Declaration, the outcome of the first-ever UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54963

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Guyana emerging as a ‘green State,’ President tells UN Assembly

20 September 2016 – Underscoring the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the President of Guyana highlighted that his country will continue to pursue a ‘green’ economy and will be a reliable and cooperative partner in international efforts to protect the earth’s environment.

“[Guyana] realizes that the establishment of a ‘green state’ is consistent with building climate resilience while mitigating the effects of climate change,” President David Granger said in his address this morning.

“Guyana promises to work towards the [2030] Agenda’s goals (SDGs), particularly, by contributing to limiting increases in global temperatures; and to work towards a ‘green path’ of development that is in accord with the [Paris] Agreement’s nationally-determined commitments,” he added.

Making specific reference to the importance of Goal 13 that calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact as well as the Paris Agreement’s obligation to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, the President informed the General Assembly that Guyana is developing a comprehensive Emissions Reduction Programme as part of its responsibility to contribute to global solutions to the threat of climate change.

“However,” he stated, “all our efforts – nationally, regionally and globally – the advancement of development in an environment of peace and stability are being challenged by the territorial ambitions of our neighbour, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” referring to an “external assault on Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The President also hailed the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership of the organization and, especially, for his commitment to sustainable development that was illustrated in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement.

In conclusion, he stressed the importance of a collective commitment by the international community to collaborate with small states, including Guyana, to pursue a low-carbon, low-emission path to sustainable development and to constraining the rise in global temperature.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54964

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FEATURE: Two panda cubs, two little girls and the Sustainable Development Goals

20 September 2016 – What do two panda cubs and two Fijian girls have to do with the Sustainable Development Goals?

If you answered “everything,” then you are on the right track, according to conclusions made by top United Nations officials.  

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, form part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was agreed and adopted by world leaders last year, and serve as a global plan for people, peace, prosperity and the planet. Of the 17 SDGs, Goal 13 is centred on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, whereas Goal 15 focusses on protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combating desertification, and halting biodiversity loss.

In January this year, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) designated two pandas to officially become the first-ever Animal Ambassadors for the SDGs, flagging that the bears symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. The pair, both males, had been born last year at the Chengdu Panda Base in China, just as world leaders gathered in New York to adopt the SDGs.

After a global competition which saw thousands of submissions with proposed names from 116 countries, UNDP’s goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh announced on Monday that the search for names had come to an end.

UNDP and China’s Chengdu Panda Base announced two baby panda cubs as the first ever Animal Ambassadors for the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: UNDP

“I’m pleased and proud to announce the names of our panda ambassadors are Qiqi – in English ‘beginning,’ and Diandian, which means ‘moment,’” she said at an event at the 7th Social Good Summit in New York. “Together, the names give the sense of the start of a journey – in this case, our journey together towards 2030 as we work towards achieving the Global Goals.”

“Addressing biodiversity loss is one of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ms. Yeoh added. “At UNDP, we hope that our twin panda Ambassadors will help inspire people to engage with the goals, and raise awareness of our efforts to promote sustainable development around the world.”

Some days before this, two other little individuals – in this case, two little girls, aged 5 and 7 –  stole the show at the opening of the 71st session of the General Assembly. The session’s President Peter Thomson, a Fijian diplomat, had invited his granddaughters Grace and Mirabel to the podium – and promised that he would work to create a better future for them, representing all future generations.

Peter Thomson (foreground centre), President-elect of the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly, flanked by his granddaughters Grace (left) and Mirabel, addresses the Assembly before taking the oath of office. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

“What kind of world will we have bequeathed them and all their brothers and sisters around the world, your own grandchildren and children, born and yet to be born?” Mr. Thomson asked.

“Will it be a world,” he added, “where the projected loss of biodiversity on land and sea severely limits the possibilities of life, where atmospheric levels of CO2 have gone well beyond the 1.5 to 2 degree thresholds, thereby imperilling humanity’s place on this planet?”

In his remarks at the opening, the Assembly President also said that “for integrity’s sake the 71st [GA session] must be the year we witness the wheels turning on the implementation of all 17 SDGs.”

Climate change to the fore

The issue of climate change will come to the fore this week, during the 71st General Assembly’s General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York from 20 to 26 September. The event is the annual meeting of Heads of State and Government at the beginning of the General Assembly session.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left), UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and President François Hollande of France (right), celebrate historic adoption of Paris Agreement. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Leaders from all countries have been encouraged to deposit – at a special event on 21 September – their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was adopted by 195 countries during the conference in Paris last December. The agreement sets out an integrated vision for the future and sets in motion the pathways to an economic and social transformation to achieve it.

The more countries that deposit their instruments at Wednesday’s event in the General Assembly, the stronger the chances of the Paris Agreement coming into force early. The event is also seen as providing an opportunity for nations to publicly commit to joining or ratifying the agreement before the end of 2016.

“The Paris Agreement marks a historic turning point in our common journey towards a secure and sustainable world,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said on the pact, adding that with 28 additional countries, representing 16 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement would cross the necessary threshold to enter into force. 

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54990

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