‘The world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us,’ Holy See tells UN Assembly
“It is worth recalling here Pope Francis’ words: ‘a society without proximity, where gratuity and affection without compensation – between strangers as well – is disappearing, is a perverse society’,” said Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary of relations with States of the Holy See, addressing the UN Assembly’s annual debate.
“The same dehumanization occurs when people are reduced to the crimes they may have committed, the country to which they belong or to their productive capacity,” he added.
Archbishop Gallagher noted the importance of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to be adopted later this year in Marrakech, and said that together with the Global Compact on Refugee, they provide vital protection for those forced to flee their homes for a number of reasons and whose fundamental human rights are at most risk.
“The Holy See hopes that the Global Compacts will serve as useful tools for good migration management at every level and a common resource for achieving our shared responsibility in front of the plight of refugees, as well as reference points for international cooperation in the management of migration and the care for refugees,” he said.
The senior Holy See official also drew attention to the suffering of civilians in amidst myriad conflicts around the globe and urged States to honour their ‘responsibility to protect’, and highlighted importance of reconciliation and peacebuilding to resolve conflicts.
“Forgiveness is not opposed to justice, but it is rather its fulfilment, since it leads to the healing of the wounds that fester in human hearts while acknowledging the evil that has been committed,” he added, urging all religions to assist in the reconciliation efforts.
The Archbishop called for promoting equality in rights as well as the full and equal participation of women and men in society. He also outlined the challenges posed by poverty as well as from the impacts of climate change, urging “all efforts” towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In that context, he expressed Holy See’s hope that the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-24), to be held in Katowice, Poland, will help reinvigorate action in support of the Paris Agreement.
Concluding his address, Archbishop Gallagher quoted Pope Francis: “intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.”
“While care for our common home benefits us, it is also a gift to future generations, sparing them from paying the price of environmental deterioration and ensuring that they are able to enjoy its beauty, wonder, and manifold endowment,” he said.
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UN system mobilizing to support Indonesia, following earthquake and tsunami disaster
The update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) follows the 7.4 magnitude tremor which struck Central Sulawesi at 5.02pm local time last Friday.
The quake subsequently caused a tsunami that hit coastal areas in Palu City and Donggala which has left more than 48,000 people sheltering in some 200 displacement sites.
On Twitter, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said on Monday that he had been “following the unfolding tragedy.”
The Pacific’s Ring of Fire is the most active seismic zone on the planet and requires special attention when it comes to disaster risk management – Mami Mizutori, Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction
“Our hearts go out to all affected by the earthquake and tsunami. My deepest condolences to all who have lost family and friends,” he said, adding that the UN system was “mobilizing to support government-led rescue and relief efforts as needed.”
Before the Sulawesi disaster, on 7 August the Indonesian island of Lombok was rocked by a magnitude 7 earthquake, which left hundreds dead.
That quake left about 80 per cent of buildings either damaged or totally destroyed in the north of the island, which is home to around 200,000 people.
In addition to national search and rescue teams now in Sulawesi, the relief effort includes the armed forces, police and government officials, the OCHA update said.
The UN agency added that the Government of Indonesia “welcomed specific offers” of international assistance that are in line with current needs, which according to the national disaster management agency (BNPB), include food, shelter materials, fuel and generators, clean water and medical assistance.
“The humanitarian community working in Indonesia is deeply saddened by the loss of life and the injuries following the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi,” the OCHA statement said. “Humanitarian agencies are in close communication with the Government to more fully understand the situation in the affected areas and stand ready to support, however is required.”
Delivery of aid is ongoing but landslides and damage to essential infrastructure is hampering access.
This includes the damage to the runway at Palu airport, which is slowing the movement of equipment and personnel.
I have been following the unfolding tragedy in Indonesia; our hearts go out to all affected by the earthquake tsunami. My deepest condolences to all who have lost family and friends. The UN system is mobilizing to support government-led rescue and relief efforts as needed.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 1, 2018
Messages of support from the UN Secretary-General were echoed by his Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori: “The earthquake and tsunami are a reminder that the Pacific’s Ring of Fire is the most active seismic zone on the planet and requires special attention when it comes to disaster risk management,” she said. “About 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur there and the risk of an associated tsunami is extremely high which is why early warnings are so important along with public awareness raising and evacuation drills.”
According to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, Indonesia has suffered more deaths from tsunamis than any other country.
This is the sixth fatal tsunami to strike the country since the huge 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami claimed approximately 226,000 lives across 12 countries, the vast majority in Indonesia.
Earthquakes and tsunamis are responsible for more deaths than extreme weather events, having claimed an estimated 747,234 lives over the last 20 years, according to a new UNISDR report.
It will be released next week to coincide with International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13 October.
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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.
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