LEADERS SUMMIT ON CLIMATE
The Secretary-General thanks President Biden for convening today’s Leaders’ Summit. The commitments and actions announced, provide a much-needed boost to our collective efforts to address the climate crisis ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year.
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of new and enhanced national determined contributions including by the United States of America, Canada, and Japan, the commitment of Brazil to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as the announcement by the Republic of Korea that it will end all external financing of coal and submit a more ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution this year. The leadership of all major emitters will be critical to securing success at Glasgow. It is now urgent that all countries – especially other major emitters – present their 2030 climate plans well before COP26.
The upcoming Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals Summit and the Summit of G7 Leaders will be crucial moments for leaders to deliver vital climate finance commitments especially on the $100 billion goal in support of developing countries climate action promised over a decade ago. The world will be watching carefully, particularly those already experiencing severe climate impacts and the ongoing economic crisis. Delivering on finance and adaptation is a prerequisite for success, and the Secretary-General is encouraged by the announcements made today by President Biden.
Today’s Summit shows the tide is turning for climate action, but there is still a long way to go. To avert a permanent climate catastrophe, we must now urgently build on the momentum delivered today, in this make-or-break year for people and planet, the Secretary-General said.
He adds that he is looking forward to convening leaders in September to make that final push towards COP26.
The Secretary-General spoke at the Climate Leaders Summit earlier today. He said that we need a green planet, but the world is on red alert. He called on leaders to take action by putting a price on carbon, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, ramping up investments in renewable energy and green infrastructure, as well as stopping the financing of coal, and ensuring a just transition for affected people and communities.
He underscored that the pandemic cannot be used to continue polluting the planet, adding that we cannot burden future generations with a mountain of debt on a broken planet.
Today is International Mother Earth Day and in his message, the Secretary-General said we must end our war on nature and nurse it back to health. That means bold climate action, stronger steps to protect biodiversity and reducing pollution by building circular economies that drive down waste. He added that these steps will safeguard our only home and create millions of new jobs.
On a related note, today also marks the entry into force of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as the Escazú Agreement.
The Agreement is Latin America and the Caribbean’s first regional environmental treaty. It is also the first such treaty to include specific provisions for the protection and promotion of human rights defenders in environmental matters.
In his message, the Secretary-General said the Escazú Agreement’s entry into force provides hope and inspiration and sets the stage for sustainable and resilient recovery. He commends Latin American and Caribbean States that have ratified the treaty and urges all countries to join them as soon as possible.
Our Mission in Afghanistan said today that the UN envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, has concluded several days of consultations in Doha with Afghan parties and international partners. They discussed the best way forward to strengthen and add impetus to intra-Afghan peace negotiations.
The UN Mission said there will be no pause in work to support Afghan peace negotiations. We are continuing our engagement with both Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Taliban representatives, to maintain a focus on peace efforts and the path to a just and durable peace settlement.
The Mission notes that the Istanbul Conference postponement provides another opportunity for the Afghan parties to demonstrate progress in the current Doha Afghan peace negotiations framework.
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that La Niña weather patterns that may result in drought are compounding food insecurity in the country. According to the latest figures from the Integrated Phase Classification Food Security analysis, one third of Afghanistan’s estimated population of 40 million people, and that is more than 14 million human beings, are now facing acute food insecurity due to conflict, COVID-19, high food prices and rampant unemployment.
Out of this number, 4.2 million people are facing emergency food insecurity levels requiring an urgent response to save lives and protect livelihoods.
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that while this represents a slight improvement in the food security situation, the full impact of low rainfall at the start of this year will be clearer later this year.
In 2021, we along with our humanitarian partners in Afghanistan need $1.3 billion to help 15.7 million of the 18.4 million people in need. Only 9 per cent of the funding has been received so far forcing some aid agencies to consider cutting back or even discontinuing critical activities.
The World Food Programme said today that it will launch a new operation to reach up to two million vulnerable people in poor townships in the country’s main cities and other areas where people have recently been uprooted.
WFP says the triple impact of pre-existing poverty, COVID-19 and the current political crisis have led to hunger and desperation rising sharply in Myanmar.
WFP estimates that, within the next six months, up to 3.4 million more people will be hungry.
Despite the volatile situation, WFP has maintained its humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people and other vulnerable populations impacted by the long-running conflict in parts of Myanmar. In March, WFP reached 374,000 people in southern Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and northern Shan states.
In the coming months, the number of people WFP assists in Myanmar will nearly triple – from 1.3 million to 3.3 million people. To do this, the agency urgently needs $106 million.
And also on Myanmar, UN Women says the political violence in the country continues to take a deadly toll on women. More than 45 women and girls have reportedly been killed, the agency says since the beginning of the coup.
The UN Mission in Libya today expressed its concern regarding the recent shutdown in oil production at the Marsa al-Hariga plant and indications that other shutdowns may be imminent. The uninterrupted production of oil remains a vital cornerstone to the economic, social and political stability of Libya.
The Mission says it is incumbent on all parties to ensure that the National Oil Corporation remains an independent, technocratic and well-resourced institution and to ensure the transparent and equitable management of resources to combat corruption. It added that Libya is also now emerging from a very costly conflict, and there are multiple urgent needs that should be addressed to improve the quality of life of Libyans throughout the country.
A UN-organized humanitarian convoy today delivered 23 tons of hygiene items to the Donetsk oblast through the Novotroitske crossing point.
This is the second UN convoy through the Novotroitske, the only operational crossing point in the Donetsk oblast, since it reopened for the delivery of humanitarian cargo on 15 April.
The crossing point was closed for humanitarian cargo movement from 24 February to 15 April due to security concerns.
Some 1.67 million people need humanitarian assistance in non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. The elderly, people with disabilities, households headed by women, and children are among the most vulnerable.
Restrictions on humanitarian access to non-government-controlled areas have a direct impact on our capacity to help people in need.
Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke to the Security Council via videoconference and he mentioned the need for holding of credible Palestinian elections is a crucial step towards renewing the legitimacy of national institutions and reestablishing Palestinian national unity. He encourages international support for this effort.
He noted that the UN has engaged regularly with the Palestinian parties and the Central Elections Commission to facilitate preparations for the elections and will continue its support for the election process, adding that he is seriously concerned by the significant rise in active COVID-19 cases in Gaza.
For his part, Rein Paulsen, the Acting Director of OCHA’s Coordination Division, said that cases in Gaza have increased by 150 per cent in April, with 187 deaths. Gaza now has 66 per cent of all active cases in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, despite being only 30 per cent of the population.
Yesterday afternoon, the Special Representative for the Secretary-General for Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, briefed the Council. He said that in the fifth year of implementation of the Peace Agreement, it is essential that all parties remain committed to building on the achievements made, resolve pending challenges, and move forward – with the support of all actors in Colombian society– in solving structural problems, particularly considering the challenges of overcoming the pandemic.
Mr. Ruiz Massieu also called for a cessation of hostilities, to help advance the pandemic recovery efforts, saying that we have seen the positive impact that these gestures can have on the lives of vulnerable communities in conflict-affected regions.
GIRLS IN ICT
Today is the International Girls in ICT Day.
In his message, the Secretary-General said that information and communication technologies have been invaluable during the pandemic. They help us to stay connected, and to keep vital services and businesses going. However, almost half the world is still offline – and most of those who lack access to digital technology are women and girls in developing countries.
He said that making these technologies available to all is an essential part of building back better.
This morning, remarks were delivered on the Secretary-General’s behalf at the General Assembly’s High-level debate on Urban safety, security and good governance. Ghada Waly, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, read a message on his behalf.
The Secretary-General said that a comprehensive urban design and planning approach is essential to crime prevention and the development of safe cities. The solutions start with participatory, accountable and transparent decision-making; reliable delivery of basic public services; and effective rule of law grounded in strong, people-centred institutions.
There is a new UN High-level Advisory Board on economic and social affairs, which will look into the socioeconomic challenges in the wake of the pandemic and propose solutions for a sustainable recovery and they began roundtable discussions today.
The Board is made up of 20 globally renowned intellectual leaders, including Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos and Brazil’s former Minister of Environment, Izabella Mônica Vieira Teixeira.
The roundtable has been convened by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Members of the Board are expected to provide recommendations including on strengthening resilience against future economic, social and climatic shocks.
PRESS ENCOUNTER TODAY
Lastly, following the Security Council Meeting today on the Middle East, there will be a virtual stakeout by current EU members of the Security Council - Ireland, France and Estonia, along with former EU Security Council members Germany and Belgium. They will read out a statement on the Middle East.