UN chief highlights three priorities for climate action

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday underlined “three top priorities” in climate action in the context of climate and security.

Much bolder climate action is needed ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November – with the Group of 20 largest economies leading the way – to maintain international peace and security, Guterres said.

“Our window of opportunity to prevent the worst climate impacts is closing quickly. No region is immune. Forest fires, floods, droughts and other extreme weather events affect all continents,” he said. he declared during a high-level public debate of the Security Council on climate and security. .

The effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility and past or current conflicts. It is clear that climate change and mismanagement of the environment are risk multipliers. When adaptive capacities are limited and there is a heavy dependence on dwindling natural resources and ecosystem services, such as water and fertile land, grievances and tensions can explode, complicating issues. efforts to prevent conflict and keep the peace, he warned.

The threats are clear and present. But it is not too late to act to ensure that climate action contributes to international peace and security, he said, highlighting three priorities for climate action.

The first priority is an unambiguous commitment and credible actions by all countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. He urged all UN Member States to be more ambitious in their nationally determined contributions by the time of the convening of COP26 and to translate their commitments into concrete and immediate actions so that global emissions of greenhouse gases can be reduced by 45% by 2030.

The second priority is a breakthrough in adaptation and resilience to face the already disastrous impacts of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. The third priority is to make climate adaptation and peacebuilding mutually reinforcing, he said.

It is essential that at least 50% of global climate finance commit to building resilience and supporting adaptation, said Guterres. “This need is urgent, as the increasing climate impacts remind us daily.”

The annual costs of adaptation in developing countries are estimated at US $ 70 billion, and the costs are expected to reach US $ 300 billion per year by 2030. Huge gaps remain in adaptation financing for developing countries, he said.

“We simply cannot meet our common climate goals – nor realize the hope for lasting peace and security – if resilience and adaptation continue to be the forgotten half of the climate equation. neglect seriously endangers our collective efforts on the crucial road to COP26 in November, “he warned.

Developed countries must keep their pledge to provide – before COP26 – $ 100 billion in climate finance per year to the developing world. And they must ensure that it reaches the populations most affected. Grant financing is essential, as the loans will add to the already overwhelming debt burden in the most climate-vulnerable countries, he said.

Climate adaptation and peacebuilding can and should be mutually reinforcing, said Guterres.

For example, in the Lake Chad region, dialogue platforms for the cooperative management of natural resources, supported by the Peacebuilding Fund, have promoted reforestation and improved access to sustainable livelihoods. In West and Central Africa, cross-border projects have enabled dialogue and fostered more transparent management of scarce natural resources, a factor for peace, he said.

“As climate change impacts water resources around the world, we must harness water for peace, learning from the lessons of the past. war in the Balkans in the 1990s, ”he said.

In all of these efforts, women are essential agents of change. The Security Council has long recognized and seeks to strengthen the role of women in peacekeeping. Women and girls face serious risks from climate change and conflict, and their meaningful participation and leadership is producing more sustainable results that benefit more people, he said.

The United Nations is integrating climate risks into its political analysis as well as into conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives, he said.

The Climate Security Mechanism helps field missions, country teams and regional and subregional organizations analyze and address climate-related security risks and develop integrated and timely responses. The work is gaining ground in countries and regions where the Security Council has recognized that climate and ecological change undermine stability.

The United Nations Regional Office for West Africa and the Sahel has launched a new initiative on peace, climate change and environmental degradation, which will help the Economic Community of West African States , as well as other regional bodies and national and local governments, to harmonize their efforts. to reduce climate-related security risks in the sub-region, he said.

In South Sudan, 95 percent of the population depends on agriculture or pastoralism and is therefore affected by drought and out-of-season flooding. The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the country is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Organization for Migration to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, did -he declares.

“We are all part of the solution. Let us all work together to mitigate and adapt to climate change in order to build peaceful and resilient societies,” he said.

The public debate is a milestone for Ireland, which holds the presidency of the Security Council for the month of September. Scheduled to coincide with the high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly, the debate brought together two heads of state, a head of government and several ministers. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin chaired the debate.


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