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Tackling climate change is ‘global responsibility of our time,’ Dominica Foreign Minister tells UN Assembly

Noting that poverty, inequality and violence are also shared responsibilities, she maintained that “their modem-day manifestations are wrapped up in climate change.”

Saying that it arises from activities that support and reflect inequalities, she emphasized that “it is the poor who suffer most.”

“Much violence stems directly from climate-change-induced scarcity of things, like water, or productive lands,” she elaborated, citing climate change as “the main symptom of our world’s broken economy, society and humanity.”

Ms. Baron noted that the global community has neither agreed on an implementation plan for the commitments made in Paris in 2015, nor mobilized the agreed-upon $100 billion annually to assist the most vulnerable in adapting and mitigating against harmful climate change effects.

“While we have failed to live up to these commitments, arctic ice shelves continue to melt at an alarming rate,” she explained. “The oceans continue to get warmer; hurricanes and storms continue to develop and threaten our countries, drought becomes more severe and flooding more pronounced.”

The Foreign Minister warned against perpetual pontification on the subject while punishing rains wreck lives and livelihoods – but urged instead to use our collective efforts to arrest it.

“It is no secret that the lack of motivation by some countries to take the required actions, is rooted in this economic truth: that those who gain most from the activities that create climate change, remain the most removed from its dire consequences,” Ms. Baron underscored.

Last year, she said that Hurricane Maria unleashed 180 miles per-hour winds that brought Dominica to its knees. Immediately afterwards, “our people, raised their battered and wounded selves and began the daunting task of search and rescue, clearing roadways and quickly moved thereafter into a rebuilding mode.”

After international experts completed Dominica’s post-disaster needs assessment, they concluded that in a few hours, a single hurricane “caused loss and damage equivalent to 226 per cent of our country s GDP [gross domestic product],” while “a mere two years prior, a tropical storm, had wiped out the equivalent of 90 per cent” of it.

The cost of building a resilient nation, “comes with a price tag far in excess of what small developing States, like Dominica, are able to meet singlehandedly,” she flagged.

“As I speak to you this minute, dangerous storms are gathering in the western Atlantic,” she said. “As climate change warms the seas and feeds the rainstorms, the risk of future loss and damage grow.”

Arguing that climate change is not “a freak of nature,” but man-made, she encouraged the global leader to let history record what was done, not was said; what efforts were made to globally end climate change and to reduce local vulnerabilities.

“We, together, must grasp this moment,” concluded the Foreign Minister.

Full statement available here.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/09/1021792

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Pacific Islands on the front line of climate change: UN chief

The meeting, at UN Headquarters in New York, comes shortly after the organization’s annual summit, in Nauru on 3-6 September, which reaffirmed in an official communiqué known as the Boe Declaration, that “climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.”

Mr. Guterres said that, with COP24 (the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) coming up in November, and the UN Climate Summit scheduled for September 2019, the world needs to urgently step up action, adding that climate change is absolute priority: “I am very concerned. It will be the central concern to ensure countries enhance their ambitions over the next two years. For the moment, unfortunately we are going too slow regarding what we promised in Paris. And what we promised in Paris was not enough.”

The Secretary-General thanked the PIF for including climate change as a security issue at the Nauru summit: the Boe Declaration expands the PIF’s concept of security to include “human security, humanitarian assistance, prioritizing environmental security and regional cooperation in building resilience to disasters and climate change.”

He recognized the efforts of the PIF to prevent conflict, citing the leadership of Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Rick Hou, in taking forward peacebuilding priorities, and congratulating the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government on implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The PIF has taken a robust, regional approach to the implementation of The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the SAMOA Pathway (which outlines action to be taken by Small Island Developing States), an approach appreciated by the Secretary-General.

With several members of the Forum showing improved economic growth, and close to leaving the “Least Developed Countries” socio-economic bracket, the UN Chief stated the UN’s commitment to supporting graduating countries on their sustained path to development and prosperity: “Many countries that graduate continue to face shocks. It is important that the international community, including international financial institutions, continues to recognize this.”

He also commended action by Forum States to end gender-based violence in the Pacific – strengthening women’s political and economic participation and deepening women’s rights – and continuing efforts to expand opportunities for young people in the region.

The Secretary-General concluded by thanking Pacific Island leaders for their support in the ongoing UN reform effort, promising to continue seeking their inputs and perspectives, and making a personal commitment to work with them for a safer, more secure and prosperous future for the people of the Pacific region.

Forum leaders welcomed the Secretary-General’s leadership on climate change, calling for the appointment of a Special Adviser on Climate Change and Security, to strengthen the global focus on climate change as a security risk.

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On Day four of UN Assembly debate, leaders from vulnerable island States turn out in force to plead for climate action

Island States have spoken on previous days, but on Friday a total of 10 island leaders took turns explaining to world Heads of State and Government not only the catastrophic impacts of climate change caused by centuries of industrial pollution from northern nations, but the disadvantages they face in the financial domain as soon as they improve the lot of their people.

A jumble of acronyms, but little action      

As soon as a country graduates from the status of low income country – or least developed country (LDC) in UN parlance – with an annual per capita gross national income (GNI) below $1,005, to middle-income country (MIC), with a GNI between $1,005 and $12,235, it loses access to concessionary financing, as St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet explained, noting the acronyms weighing down his Caribbean State.

“I stand before you today as a leader of a small Island developing State – a SIDS, which is also a middle- income country – a MIC,’ he said.

“The world acknowledges our ‘acronyms,’ but little or nothing changes… We continue to struggle under the weight of international frameworks that do not provide an enabling environment for my country to chart an effective sustainable development path, or even to be able to take control of our own destiny.”

Paris Accord can help turn the tide to fund climate action

From the Pacific island nation of Samoa, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said it was a moral imperative for the world to act decisively and collectively, calling for full implementation of the Paris climate accord that seeks to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

“Climate change poses the single greatest threat especially to small Island developing states like Samoa, not through our doing or choice,” he said, alluding to the fact those most vulnerable to climate change’s impact are those who contributed least to global warming.

“The Pacific region is already facing the destructive impacts of climate change and disasters – cyclones, floods, droughts. Sea level rise and ocean acidification are taking their toll on the health and the wellbeing of our peoples, environment and economies. Disaster-related economic losses in Pacific island countries as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) are higher than almost anywhere else in the world,” he added.

“The United Nations remains our last best hope to provide the political will and the necessary commitment to turn the tide against climate change.”

From the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth of Mauritius took a global view of the issue.

“As we have seen in California, the Carolinas, the Philippines, China, Europe and elsewhere, the frequency of extreme weather events demonstrates that the impacts of climate change can affect every country on every continent. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires are becoming deadlier,” he warned.

“Without a renewed global commitment to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects we will fail to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, and endanger our planet as well as our own survival.”

On cue, Tropical Storm Kirk barrels down on the Caribbean   

Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis of the Bahamas highlighted the enormous dangers facing the Caribbean islands, with economies dependent on tourism under dire threat. 

“We see this in rising sea levels, the loss of coral reefs, the increased volume of acid in our oceans, and more severe and frequent hurricanes and typhoons,” he said.

“Tourism is the world’s largest industry. It is also the lifeblood of the Bahamian economy. Millions of tourists travel to the Bahamas annually because of our beautiful turquoise waters and biodiversity,” he added, stressing the vital importance of the sustainable use of the world’s seas and oceans free from pollution, especially of plastics.

We see this in rising sea levels, the loss of coral reefs, and more severe and frequent hurricanes and typhoons – Prime Minister Hubert of the Bahamas

For fellow Caribbean leader, Prime Minister Timothy Harris of St. Kitts and Nevis, it was the unfairness of island States paying for the sins of polluters from elsewhere. “Climate change is largely the consequence of actions of more developed countries, their carbon emissions and harmful lifestyles. Yet SIDS pay an unfair price ­– a price so high that, for many of us, climate change presents an existential threat.”

He too criticized the financial quirk that punished middle-income countries for their progress. “We reiterate our calls for the international community to address with urgency the sterile measure of per capita income now employed,” he said.

“The international community cannot on the one hand claim to help SIDS while in the same vein classify us as middle- and high-income countries based on archaic financial models that ultimately deny access to critical developmental assistance and hinder investment financing.”

It was a theme taken up by fellow Caribbean leader, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados. “Barbados, the Caribbean and other small islands have had to confront the reality that our percentage in trade of goods and services is miniscule, but we are bound by the same rules that apply to those who dominate and can distort global trade,” she said.

“Small States like mine were shepherded out of agriculture and told that services were the route we should use for development. My country, for example, tried financial services pursuant to double taxation treaties, utilizing due diligence, operating a clean jurisdiction that is not a tax haven and complying with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) requirements.

“Now we are being told our tax practices are harmful and unfair competition to those who still enjoy the bulk of the revenues in global trade and service.”

As if pre-planned to highlight climate change’s devastating effects, Tropical Storm Kirk churned past her country even as she addressed the Assembly, and she left UN Headquarters to return home.

[We] strongly urge the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses to take urgent actions in reducing this harmful emission. Reduce now or regret later – Prime Minister Houenipwela of Solomon Islands

But before she departed, Mrs. Motley, the island nation’s first woman Prime Minister, used the podium to make a fervent appeal for recognition of women’s role in humanity’s progress.

“This United Nations must show leadership in recognizing the talents and contributions of women to human civilization and progress,” she told the Assembly, explain that women have value and give much, whether they labour over smoking wood fires; whether [they] are trapped in poverty because of a lack of opportunity, equality and respect; whether they lead countries; whether they stay at home to care for families; or whether they come to the UN.”

Reduce now or regret later

In the exponentially vaster Pacific region, Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama laid out the human toll. “I meet thousands of Fijian women, men and children every year who have suffered from the latest wave of climate-related impacts; the cyclones, the flooding, the prolonged droughts, and the steadily rising seas, he said.

“I meet with the farmers whose crops have been washed away, the teachers and students who have lost their schools and the families whose homes have been destroyed. They want their Prime Minister to demand that the world take action on their behalf.”

Fellow Pacific Islander, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas of Vanuatu demanded that the industrial world step up to plate with the aid they pledged for climate mitigation. “The Governments of the industrialized countries promised to release $100 billion a year in climate funds for vulnerable countries by 2020,” he said.

“We demand that the highest priority be accorded to these pledges and a concrete road plan to mobilize and constitute the promised funds be put in place in the shortest possible time, because climate change is raging fiercely.”               

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Ricky Nelson Houenipwela also called for collective global leadership in climate change action and appropriate financial support.

“Solomon Islands joins other Pacific island States in strongly urging the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses to take urgent actions in reducing this harmful emission. Reduce now or regret later,” he warned.

Through their focus was on the potential climatic catastrophe looming over them, this is not to say that the island speakers ignored other world crises including conflict, security and development that figured in the speeches of scores of other world leaders who mounted the podium on day four.

 

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/09/1021572

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At UN, St. Vincent and Grenadines’ Prime Minister eschews ‘illiberal intolerance,’ calls for global cooperation; multilateralism

Every year, in September, global leaders and change-makers gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for two weeks, to discuss the burning issues of our time and set the global agenda for the year ahead. The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened this week and the body’s annual high-level segment – formally known as the ‘general debate’ – begins on Tuesday, 25 September, where every country’s leader gets to address the world.

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At UN, Jamaica urges partnerships to tackle climate impacts, economic fragility in small islands

Every year, in September, global leaders and change-makers gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for two weeks, to discuss the burning issues of our time and set the global agenda for the year ahead. The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened this week and the body’s annual high-level segment – formally known as the ‘general debate’ – begins on Tuesday, 25 September, where every country’s leader gets to address the world.

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UN’s Guterres on climate change: ‘We need to do more and we need to do it quicker’

The world risks crossing the point of no return on climate change, with disastrous consequences for people across the planet and the natural systems that sustain them, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday, calling for more leadership and greater ambition for climate action, to reverse course.

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At UN, Pacific Island leaders warn climate change poses dire security threat to their fragile countries and marine resources

“In contributing towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its landmark Goals (SDGs), including the internationally agreed blueprint for the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS), the SAMOA Pathway, Tonga has made both accords an integral part of its national planning processes,” he said on Wednesday.

He emphasized the importance of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which he pointed out will review the SAMOA Pathway in 2019.

“Climate change continues to pose significant security threats to us as island States,” he said, noting with concern “the devastating impacts of climate change on our marine environment.”

He welcomed the establishment at the initiation of German and Nauru of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security “to further highlight the nexus between the threats of climate change with threats to international peace and security.”

He stressed that despite the effects of sea level rise, Tonga’s territorial boundaries, established under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, should remain unchanged.

“Our Sovereignty must not be compromised by climate change and we welcome the work of the International Law Commission on this critically important and timely issue for consideration of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly,” he said, referring to the Assembly’s standing body that deals with legal issues.

He was looking forward to the 24th Session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December to address the adverse impacts of climate change and the need for innovation in adaptation for small island developing States.

“Finally,” he said, “sustainable development, whether it be, [among others], through good health and well-being, climate action, life below water, or affordable and clean energy, can only be realized through international peace and security.”

“We continue to look to the Security Council to protect the innocent from threats to international peace and security in whatever form, be they traditional threats such as armed conflict, or newer threats like climate change, to ensure no one is left behind,” concluded King Tupou VI.

Full statement available here.

 

Also addressing the Assembly, Kiribati President Taneti Maamau proudly reaffirmed that his country is continuing to maintain 11 per cent of its exclusive economic zone in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) – comprising over 400,000 sq. km of ocean – calling it “a powerful and effective tool for the rejuvenation of tuna fisheries and other marine organisms and a source of resilient coral species called super corals.”

“It has the potential to become the most powerful source of marine life enrichment and provides solutions for many of the problems facing humanity,” which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is addressing, he said.

Underscoring Kiribati’s strong commitment to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), he noted that “by closing off the area to commercial fishing, we have sacrificed a substantial amount of income from fishing licenses every year, estimated at about 10 per cent of our annual fishing revenue,” averaging $10 million annually.

Full statement available here.

Meanwhile, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru, linked climate change to the country’s economic well-being, stating that while consumption-based economic growth has “destroyed the health of our oceans and the safety of our climate,” a liberalized global financial system has diminished opportunities for small domestic enterprises, rendering small island developing States to score extremely high on economic vulnerability indexes.

“These are not new observations, he said, noting “We have been grappling with these challenges for decades. But in the face of climate change, developing effective strategies for dealing with them has become much more urgent.”

He reiterated his call to the Security Council in July for a Special Representative on Climate and Security, saying “we are already seeing dangerous impacts on our countries and communities, with the most vulnerable among us bearing the greatest burden.”

“A Special Representative, supported by a well-resourced staff, is needed to help us start managing climate risks more effectively,” he argued, calling it “a critical gap in the UN system that must be filled immediately.”

Full statement available here.

 

 

For his part, Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr., President of Palau, called climate change one of his country’s core priorities and “the greatest challenge of our generation.”

Citing the havoc wreaked on the Philippines from Super Typhoon Mangkhut, he called an “urgent global priority” the importance of building the resilience of vulnerable countries to climate change impacts.

President Remengesau shared Palau’s Climate Change Policy Framework to prepare and minimize disaster risks and mitigate climate change by working towards low carbon emission through clean energy initiatives as it continues to work with partners in building capacity and mainstreaming climate change into its national planning and budgeting process.

“Earlier this year, we took a big step forward by passing a law which modernized our electricity sector to enable a rapid transition to renewable energy,” he said. “And now we have the enabling framework to trigger investments in transforming our economy towards harnessing the power of the sun.”

Full statement available here.

 

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Nigerian President calls for global action on climate change, Lake Chad crisis

“Most crises usually have a variety of festering causes and effects,” he explained.

“It is the failure to address them early and effectively that lead to out-of-control conflicts,” he argued, noting that solutions include collective national and international actions.

Speaking about the fight against international and local terrorism, “Boko Haram and Al Shabaab come to mind.”

“Terrorist insurgencies, particularly in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, are partly fueled by local factors and dynamics, but have been increasingly powered by the international Jihadi Movement, namely runaway fighters from Iraq and Syria, and arms from the disintegration of Libya,” he told the Assembly.

On a brighter note, he drew inspiration from “the remarkable leadership” of Ethiopia and Eritrea to restore peace between them.

According to Mr. Buhari, their “remarkable show of Statesmanship” has galvanized neighbouring countries, including Djibouti and Somalia to push for peace in the subregion.

He noted that a topical consequence of global conflict is the irregular migration of affected people from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa to Europe.

“Irregular migration entails huge avoidable loss of human lives, puts strains on services in host countries and communities, and fuels anti-immigrant and racist sentiments in Europe,” he stated.

Against that backdrop, Nigeria welcomed “the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the first-ever Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” and look forward to its adoption in Marrakech later this year – “to protect the rights of migrants worldwide, while addressing the concerns of countries of ‘origin,’ ‘transit,’ or ‘destination’.”

Calling migration “a constant in human affairs,” he stated that Africa was grateful to the countries that treated migrants with compassion and humanity, “notably Germany, Italy and France.”

Mr. Buhari also cited climate change, “one of the greatest challenges of our time,” as another reason for irregular migration, noting that it has “drastically shrunk Lake Chad” and was “parching” otherwise fertile, arable lands.

“The Lake was a major source of livelihood to more than 45 million inhabitants of the region,” he said, explaining that its shrinking has taken jobs, rendered people poor and vulnerable, and exposed to extremists and terrorist elements.

This instability has also intensified internal displacements, leading to intense economic competition, especially between farmers and herdsmen.

Mr. Buhari called for rededicated international engagement to address the root causes of conflicts in the region.

“What is required is continuous and robust UN cooperation with national Governments and sub-regional and regional organizations, such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, to enhance capacity in conflict prevention, conflict management and peace building,” the President concluded.

Full statement available here.

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Climate change and multilateralism figure high on first day of UN General Assembly debate

“Peru is one of the most vulnerable countries,” Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra Cornejo said. “Our great biodiversity is the principal natural capital on which we rely and thus climate change and extreme climatic events like droughts and deluges put us in a particularly vulnerable position.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto highlighted the importance of implementing the UN’s Paris climate accord, which seeks to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change by keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above industrial levels by the end of the century.

President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands, a low-lying Pacific atoll nation little more than one metre above sea level, which is threatened with annihilation by rising oceans, called for urgent implementation of the Paris accord.

“The future of the Marshall Islands hangs in the balance,” she warned. “But it is not just us, even if, as an atoll nation, we are the most vulnerable. We are joined not only by other small island developing States, but many other countries who face serious challenges posed by climate impacts.”

Seychelles President Danny Faure warned that peace and prosperity cannot be disassociated from the effects of climate change and its existential threat to the world as a whole. “Neglecting the effects of climate change will pass on to the next generation a world beyond repair,” he said. 

Speaking from the opposite spectrum of low-lying island States, President Sooronbay Jeenbekov of the high mountain Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, warned that climate change is having an increasing impact on the glaciers and water resources in his country, contributing to the growth of natural disasters.

Neglecting the effects of climate change will pass on to the next generation a world beyond repair – Seychelles President Danny Faure

Many leaders recounted the problems and achievements of their own countries. But they also highlighted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to eliminate a host of social ills in an environmentally friendly way by 2030,  and underscored the UN’s prime role in attaining the global partnership needed to combat climate change and resolve a slew of other problems, including the current worldwide migration crisis.

A discordant note came from United States President Donald Trump, who rejected the ideology of globalism, opposed the new Global Compact on Migration, scheduled to be adopted in Morocco in December, and complained that the US’s trading partners had taken advantage of it, explaining his policy of unilaterally imposing billions of dollars in import tariffs.

Delivering a sound argument against this position was Swiss President Alain Berset, who bemoaned the “tendency at the moment” to seek answers to such problems as globalization, inequality, conflict, extremism, migration and climate change “in nationalist isolation and in a growing mistrust with regard to cooperation between States.”

“We are witnessing a real crisis in multilateralism – paradoxically at the very moment when we are trying to forge the main pillars of the global governance of the future,” he said. “The United Nations is indispensable and ideally placed to tackle contemporary challenges, especially the fight against inequality.”

He also decried “policies relying on trade protectionism and selfish interests” that undermine trade and prosperity, and reiterated his countries support for the [International Criminal Court] as “this unique international cooperative effort in favour of the victims of the most serious crimes.” 

The defense of multilateralism must begin here … The UN and its members need to show their will to act together, not past each other – Finnish President Sauli Niinistö

Brazil’s President Michel Temer also made the case against protectionism. “Protectionism may even sound seductive, but it is through openness and integration that harmony, growth and progress can be achieved,” he said. He also underlined the importance of adopting the he Global Compact for Migration.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö also championed multilateralism. “Unfortunately, there is now reason to be worried for all of us who believe in the benefits of multilateralism,” he said. “The international system we have built together is visibly under pressure. Its capability and credibility are questioned. We can no longer take the rules-based order for granted. It is our common responsibility to actively defend and develop it.”

He called the UN “the core” of the multilateral system. “Therefore, the defense of multilateralism must begin here,” he said. “The UN and its members need to show their will to act together, not past each other.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also robustly defended multilateralism. “We must resist any and all efforts to undermine the multilateral approach to international trade, which is essential to the promotion of stability and predictability in the global economy,” he declared.

Many speakers declared their support for the Global Compact on Migration. “We look forward to its adoption in Marrakech later this year,” Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said, noting that irregular migration is not a consequence of conflicts alone, but of the effects of climate change and lack of opportunities at home, calling climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

While stressing the importance of multilateralism, Rwandan President Paul Kagame highlighted the need for “real multilateralism, where it has too often been lacking.

“The current two-track system of global governance is unsustainable,” he said. “A few get to be the ones to define the norms by which others shall be judged. But standards that do not apply to everyone equally are not universal. Addressing this imbalance in the very foundation of our system is what will give shape to a revival of multilateral cooperation, and renew the legitimacy of the international institutions, that are so crucial to our planet’s future.” 

Every nation is important and we all have something to offer – Malawi’s President Arthur Peter Mutharika

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno Garces gave a personal dimension to the value of UN compacts, treaties and conventions, sharing his personal story of suffering an assault 20 years ago that cost him the mobility of his legs. “I see the world from the height of the heart,” he said, referring to his stature in a wheelchair.

“This is not just my story, but that of one billion people in the world,” he added, calling the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and its optional protocol, “the best guarantee that, together, we will develop a commitment.”  

But it was Malawi’s President Arthur Peter Mutharika who perhaps best captured the true essence of the UN. “Every nation is important and we all have something to offer,” he declared. “There are no minorities here. There are no small nations here. There are only nations in the United Nations.”

 

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Sustainable farming, ‘key’ to world free of hunger, malnutrition, says UN agriculture chief

Focusing this year on the links between agricultural trade, climate change and food security, Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in the foreword that “ensuring food security for all is both a key function of, and a challenge for agriculture, which faces ever-increasing difficulties.”

“As populations rise, urbanization increases and incomes grow, the agricultural sector will be under mounting pressure to meet the demand for safe and nutritious food,” Mr. da Silva explained.

Climate change will have an increasingly adverse impact on many regions of the world, with those in low latitudes being hit the hardest – FAO chief

He sized up that agriculture must generate decent jobs to support billions of rural people globally, especially in developing countries where hunger and poverty are concentrated.

Turning to the warming planet, he underscored that agriculture is pivotal in helping to sustain the world’s natural resources and biodiversity.

“Climate change will have an increasingly adverse impact on many regions of the world, with those in low latitudes being hit the hardest,” he said.

The report points out that by the middle of this century, higher temperatures, precipitation changes, rising sea levels, extreme weather events and a likely increase in damage due to pests and disease, will all significantly impact agriculture and food security.

Climate change impacts will be affect different places in different ways, with variations across crops and regions. Arid and semi-arid regions will be exposed to even lower rainfall levels and higher temperatures, lowering crop yields.

Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be disproportionately affected, many of which already suffer from poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.

Conversely, countries in temperate, largely more-developed areas, may benefit from warmer weather during their growing season, further exacerbating existing inequalities and widening the development gap.

“Unless we take urgent action to combat climate change, we can expect to see a very different global picture of agriculture in the future,” the FAO chief stressed.

Agricultural trade impact

 

The relationship between agricultural trade and food security is increasingly important in both trade and development agendas, with developing countries requiring international support to cope with climate change.  

While international trade can potentially stabilize markets and reallocate food from surplus to deficit regions, Mr. Graziano da Silva emphasized: “We must ensure that the evolution and expansion of agricultural trade is equitable and works for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition globally.” 

Against the backdrop that the world’s food system overall in 2050 will need to produce almost 50 per cent more, compared to 2012, according to the report, the sector needs to adjust to climate change effects and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while meeting a growing demand.

Producing more with less, while preserving natural resources and enhancing the livelihoods of small-scale family farmers, will be a key challenge for the future.

 “Developing and implementing policies that shift global agricultural production onto a more sustainable path, protect the most vulnerable countries and regions…will be key if we are to see a world free of hunger and malnutrition by 2030,” concluded the Director-General.

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More than 65 million ‘low-carbon jobs’ can be created by 2030: UN-backed Climate Summit urges action ‘to the next level’

Those are some of the opportunities of moving to a low-carbon economy, outlined on Friday, at the close of the Global Climate Action Summit, which took place in San Francisco.

It brought together national, regional and urban leaders from across the world, together with businesses, investors and civil society organizations, in an effort to keep global warming to well-under 2 degrees Celsius, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Committing to take “their collective ambition to the next level”, participants focused on five specific areas.

  • Healthy Energy Systems: An alliance of more than 60 state, regional and city governments pledged to 100 per cent zero-emission targets, together with 23 multinational corporations with revenue of more than $470 billion.
  • Inclusive Economic Growth: 488 companies from 38 countries, adopted emission-reduction goals, in line with the Paris Agreement – 40 per cent up on the number last year.
  • Sustainable Communities: More than 70 big cities are now committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, representing 450 million citizens.
  • Land and Ocean Stewardship: A leaders’ group will head a new alliance linking more than 100 NGOs, pledged to more action on behalf of forest, food and land sustainability.
  • The Investor Agenda: brings together nearly 400 investors, managing $32 trillion of assets, who pledged to scale up the flow of capital into climate action, and a more sustainable, low-carbon economy.

The summit issued a formal “Call to Global Climate Action” saying that “now I the time for all leaders to step up”.

“Only together will we transform our communities and energy systems, create employment opportunities and economic prosperity, protect our oceans and natural environment and complete the transition to a zero-carbon world”.

This Summit and its Call to Action make an important contribution towards achieving our collective goal: to boost ambition that we need to address climate change – Patricia Espinosa, UN climate change chief

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said the summit had demonstrated “the vast opportunity afforded by climate action. They are betting on green because they understand this is the path to prosperity and peace, on a healthy planet.”

The Call to Action, was presented to the UN’s Special Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, in a symbolic gesture to illustrate that it is future generations who will be most affected by the decisions of the current generation to build a more resilient world.

Accepting the Call to Action on behalf of the United Nations, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, saidThis Summit and its Call to Action make an important contribution towards achieving our collective goal: to boost ambition that we need to address climate change.”

“We must increase climate action and create unstoppable momentum towards COP24 in Poland and the Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit,” she added adding that the summit “will encourage governments worldwide to step up their actions, demonstrating the vital role that states and regions, cities, companies, investors, and civil society are playing to tackle climate change.”

The event took place against a background of accelerating impacts of climate change, evidenced this week through the destructive power of Super Typhoon Mangkhut in South East Asia, and Hurricane Florence, on the east coast of the United States, which killed dozens and caused billions of dollars-worth of destruction.

UN Environment highlighted the vital role of non-Party stakeholders in propelling the global fight against climate change forward, in an excerpt of their Emissions Gap Report, launched at the Summit.

“Climate change is undoubtedly the defining issue of our time, and working together across nations, organizations and communities is the only way that we can tackle this enormous task and seize the huge opportunities,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. 

“We have seen here over the past few days the inspiring amount of work that is already being undertaken by communities around the world to address these issues. If we manage to put our environment first, we can come out on the other end of this formidable challenge and achieve our common goal: a sustainable world for all.”

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/09/1019472

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Now is a ‘pivotal time for climate action’ says UN chief, looking to ozone layer gains

When scientist revealed that chlorofluorocarbons, found mainly in refrigerants and aerosol sprays, were tearing a hole in the ozone layer – a fragile shield of gas that protects the earth and helps preserves life – the world responded with the Montreal Protocol. The landmark 1987 global agreement, heralded the phasing out of the production of ozone-depleting substances.

 “We can draw inspiration from the Montreal Protocol, a shining example of how the world can come together for people and planet,” added the UN chief.

Phasing out ozone-depleting substances has not only helped protect the ozone layer but also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change.

Moreover, it has protected human health and ecosystems by preventing some harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth. “Thanks to this global commitment,” Mr. Guterres stated, “the ozone layer is expected to return to its 1980 levels by mid-century.”

“However,” he continued, “this work is not yet done.”

We can draw inspiration from the Montreal Protocol, a shining example of how the world can come together for people and planet – UN chief

He explained that the landmark Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on 1 January 2019, sets its sights on hydrofluorocarbons; powerful climate-warming gases, still being used in cooling systems throughout the world.

“So far,” Mr. Guterres said, “46 countries have ratified this new instrument,” as he called on all others to show their commitment to a healthier planet and “follow suit.”

“I expect countries to demonstrate significant progress in implementing the Kigali Amendment at the Climate Summit I am convening in September 2019,” the Secretary-General stressed.

For over three decades, the Montreal Protocol has done much more than helped repair the ozone layer.

“It has shown us how environmental governance can respond to science, and how countries can come together to address a shared vulnerability,” said Mr. Guterres.

“I call for that same spirit of common cause and, especially, greater leadership as we strive to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and mobilize the ambitious climate action we so urgently need at this time,” he concluded.

Keep Cool and Carry On

The theme for this year’s Ozone Day, commemorated annually on 16 September, is a “motivational rallying call” urging everyone to protect the ozone layer and climate under the Montreal Protocol.

“The theme has two connotations – that our work of protecting the ozone layer also protects climate, and that the Montreal Protocol is a “cool” treaty, as exemplified by its outstanding success”, says the UN’s official webpage marking the day.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/09/1019342

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