Developed countries must provide bold financial support for the countries of the Global South as custodians of the world's natural wealth, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said here on Tuesday. Addressing a ceremonial opening of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Guterres said that international financial institutions and multilateral development banks must align their portfolios with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. "We cannot expect developing countries to shoulder the burden alone," he said. Read: Peace is the only practical way to a better, fairer world for all: UN Chief The secretary-general also called for the implementation of national plans that would divert subsidies and tax breaks away from activities that can destroy nature, as well as the recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. He argued that the private sector should recognize that profit and protection go hand-in-hand. "It is up to us to accept responsibility for the damage we have caused, and take action to fix it. The deluded dreams of billionaires aside, there is no Planet B," said the secretary-general.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments to increase funding by 50 per cent to women’s rights organizations and movements by 2026. He said violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world. "Let’s take a stand and raise our voices in support of women’s rights. Let’s proudly declare: We are all feminists," he said in a message marking the International Day for the elimination of violence against women. Every 11 minutes, a woman or girl is killed by an intimate partner or family member — and we know that other stresses, from the COVID-19 pandemic to economic turmoil, inevitably lead to even more physical and verbal abuse, Guterres said. Read: UN chief Antonio Guterres greets people on Nowruz Women and girls also face rampant online violence, from misogynistic hate speech, to sexual harassment, image abuse and grooming by predators, he said. "This discrimination, violence and abuse targeting half of humanity comes at a steep cost. It limits women’s and girls’ participation in all walks of life, denies their basic rights and freedoms, and blocks the equal economic recovery and sustainable growth our world needs," said the UN chief. Now is the time for transformative action that ends violence against women and girls, he said. This means governments designing, funding and implementing national action plans to tackle this scourge, Guterres said. "It means involving grassroots and civil society groups at every stage of decision-making. It means ensuring that laws are implemented and respected, so survivors see their rights to justice and support upheld. Read: “Prejudice, racism and rising hate speech”: UN chief describes world It means supporting public campaigns that challenge patriarchal norms and reject misogyny and violence," said the UN chief. "And as this year’s theme — “UNITE: Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” — reminds us, it means standing with activists around the world who are calling for change and supporting survivors of violence," he said.
With the world on “a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,'' the United Nations chief on Monday told dozens of leaders to ”cooperate or perish," singling out the two biggest polluting countries, China and the United States. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wasn't alone in preaching with tones of fire and brimstone to try to shake up the world's sense of urgency at this year’s annual U.N. climate conference. “Choose life over death,” former U.S. Vice President Al Gore urged. “It is not time for moral cowardice.” Some of the strongest pleas for action came from leaders of poor nations that caused little of the pollution but often get a larger share of the weather-related damage. Several called on developed nations for reparations, which in climate negotiations is called “loss and damage." “Africa should not pay for crimes they have not committed,” Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera said, adding that rich nations were to blame for the climate problem. Also read: COP27: World leaders to discuss Earth’s biggest challenge, but observers don’t expect much “Climate change is directly threatening our people’s lives, health and future,” Kenyan President William K. Ruto said of the African continent, which he said is looking at $50 billion a year in climate change damage by 2050. Ruto said Kenya is choosing to not use many of its “dirty energy” resources even though it could help the poor nation financially, and has instead opted for cleaner fuels. Loss and damage “is our daily experience and the living nightmare of millions of Kenyans and hundreds of millions of Africans,” Ruto said. Seychelles President Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan said, “Like other islands, our contribution in the destruction of the planet is minimal. Yet we suffer the most.” He called on wealthier countries to assist in repairing the damage. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called for a massive overhaul of international development loans and a 10% tax on fossil fuel companies, which she said made “$200 billion in profits in the last three months.” “I don’t need to repeat the horror and the devastation wrecked upon this Earth over the course of the last 12 months since we met in Glasgow,” Mottley said. “Whether the apocalyptic floods in Pakistan or the heat waves from Europe to China or indeed in the last few days in my own region, the devastation caused in Belize by Tropical Storm Lisa or the torrential floods a few days ago in St. Lucia.” Also read: Amnesty warns COP27 could be dominated by jailed Egyptian-British activist's hunger strike Ahead of this year’s conference, known as COP27, leaders and experts have been ringing alarm bells that time is running out to avert catastrophic rises in temperature. But the warnings may not have the impact of past meetings because of multiple other challenges pulling leaders’ attention — from midterm elections in the U.S. to the Russia-Ukraine war. “In the fight for life on Earth, no one is a bystander,” said Jordan's King Abdullah. “Every contribution counts. COP27 has brought us together to link forces and stand our ground. We are at the beginning of a long, challenging and urgent transformation.” More than 100 world leaders will speak over the next days at the gathering in Egypt, most from developing countries demanding greater accountability from the richest, most polluting nations. Much of their focus will be on telling their stories of devastation by climate disasters, including a speech Tuesday by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of Pakistan, where summer floods caused at least $40 billion in damage and displaced millions of people. “Climate change will never stop without our intervention," the summit’s host, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, said. El-Sissi, who also called for an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, was gentle compared to a fiery U.N. chief Guterres, who said the world “is on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” He called for a new pact between rich and poor countries to make deeper cuts in emissions with financial help and phasing out coal by rich nations by 2030 and elsewhere by 2040. He called on the United States and China — the two biggest economies — to work together on climate, something they used to do until the last few years. “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres said. “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact — or a Collective Suicide Pact.” But bad timing and world events hang over the gathering. Most of the leaders are meeting Monday and Tuesday, just as the United States has a potentially policy-shifting midterm election. Then the leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations will have their powerful-only club confab in Bali in Indonesia days later. Leaders of China and India — both among the biggest emitters — appear to be skipping the climate talks, although underlings are here negotiating. U.S. President Joe Biden is coming days later than most other leaders on his way to Bali. “There are big climate summits and little climate summits and this was never expected to be a big one,” said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, a former U.S. negotiator. United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was initially going to skip the negotiations, but public pressure and predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans to come changed his mind. King Charles III, a longtime environment advocate, won’t attend because of his new role. And Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine created energy chaos that reverberates in the world of climate negotiations, won’t be here. Many European leaders who spoke Monday singled out Russia as the cause of the current energy and food crises, saying the war in Ukraine showed shifting to renewable energy was a matter of national security. “We always want more” leaders, United Nations climate chief Simon Stiell told a Sunday news conference. “But I believe there is sufficient (leadership) right now for us to have a very productive outcome.” In addition to the leaders' speeches, the negotiations include “innovative’’ roundtable discussions that “we are confident, will generate some very powerful insights,” Stiell said. Still, “the historical polluters who caused climate change are not showing up,’’ said Mohammed Adow of Power Shift Africa. “Africa is the least responsible, the most vulnerable to the issue of climate change and it is a continent that is stepping up and providing leadership.” “The South is actually stepping up,” Adow told The Associated Press. “The North that historically caused the problem is failing.’’ For the first time, developing nations succeeded in getting onto the summit agenda the issue of “loss and damage” — demands that emitting countries pay for damage caused by climate-induced disasters. Nigeria’s Environment Minister Mohammed Abdullahi called for wealthy nations to show “positive and affirmative” commitments to help countries hardest hit by climate change. “Our priority is to be aggressive when it comes to climate funding to mitigate the challenges of loss and damage,” he said. Leaders of poorer nations, joined by French President Emmanuel Macron, talked about the issue as one of justice and fairness. “Our part of the world has to choose between life and death,’’ Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan said.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that the planet is heading toward irreversible “climate chaos” and urged global leaders at the upcoming climate summit in Egypt to put the world back on track to cut emissions, keep promises on climate financing and help developing countries speed their transition to renewable energy. The U.N. chief said the 27th annual Conference of the 198 Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — better known as COP27 — “must be the place to rebuild trust and re-establish the ambition needed to avoid driving our planet over the climate cliff.” He said the most important outcome of COP27, which begins Nov. 6 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, is to have “a clear political will to reduce emissions faster.” That requires a historical pact between richer developed countries and emerging economies, Guterres said. “And if that pact doesn’t take place, we will be doomed.” In the pact, the secretary-general said, wealthier countries must provide financial and technical assistance – along with support from multilateral development banks and technology companies – to help emerging economies speed their renewable energy transition. Guterres said that in the last few weeks, reports have painted “a clear and bleak picture” of global-warming greenhouse gas emissions still growing at record levels instead of going down 45% by 2030 as scientists say must happen. The landmark Paris agreement adopted in 2015 to address climate change called for global temperatures to rise a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Guterres said greenhouse gas emissions are now on course to rise by 10%, and temperatures are on course to rise by as much as 2.8 degrees Celsius under present policies by the end of the century. Read more: Climate Change: Int’l community must act with fund and solutions to help most vulnerable nations “And that means our planet is on course for reaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible and forever bake in catastrophic temperature rise,” the secretary-general warned. He said the 1.5 degree goal “is in intensive care” and “in high danger,” but it’s still possible to meet it. “And my objective in Egypt is to make sure that we gather enough political will to make this possibility really moving forward,” the U.N. chief said. “COP27 must be the place to close the ambition gap, the credibility gap and the solidarity gap,” Guterres said. “It must put us back on track to cutting emissions, boosting climate resilience and adaptation, keeping the promise on climate finance and addressing loss and damage from climate change.” Rich countries, especially the United States, have emitted far more than their share of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, data shows. Poor nations like Pakistan, where recent floods left a third of the country under water, have been hurt far more than their share of global carbon emissions. Loss and damage has been talked about for years, but richer nations have often balked at negotiating details about paying for past climate disasters, like Pakistan’s flooding this summer. “Loss and damage have been the always-postponed issue,” Guterres said. “There is no more time to postpone it. We must recognize loss and damage and we must create an institutional framework to deal with it.” Read more: UN, ADB to support Bangladesh's fight against climate change The secretary-general said Thursday that “getting concrete results on loss and damage is the litmus test of the commitment of the governments to close all of these gaps.” “COP27 must lay the foundations for much faster, bolder climate action now and in this crucial decade, when the global climate fight will be won or lost,” Guterres said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep shock at the death of three peacekeepers from Bangladesh following the detonation of an explosive ordnance against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. “The Secretary-General is deeply saddened,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said in a statement on Wednesday. One peacekeeper remains in critical condition. The Secretary-General expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and to the government and the people of Bangladesh. “He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.” The Secretary-General recalled that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. Read: UN in Bangladesh condoles tragic deaths of peacekeepers in CAR He called on the Central African authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack, so that they can be brought to justice swiftly. The Secretary-General called upon the Central African authorities to lift the restriction on night flights that negatively impacts the safety and security of peacekeepers who take considerable risks daily to support national authorities. The Secretary-General reaffirmed the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and government of the Central African Republic.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sought more urgent action and greater investment to provide affordable housing to all – alongside access to electricity, water, sanitation, transport, and other basic services. "A cascade of challenges – from climate chaos and conflicts to COVID-19 – is hitting the most vulnerable populations the hardest," he said, adding that rapid and unplanned urbanization is exacerbating many of these challenges. In a message marking the World Habitat Day on Monday, the UN chief said over one billion people live in overcrowded settlements with inadequate housing – and that number is rising every day. Read: “Prejudice, racism and rising hate speech”: UN chief describes world Each year, World Habitat Day focuses attention on the state of human settlements. This year’s theme – ‘Mind the Gap. Leave No One and No Place Behind’ – puts the spotlight on widening inequalities in living conditions across the world. "To leave no one behind is the core pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," Guterres said. This means making cities work for women and children and closing existing gaps: between the haves and the have-nots; within and between urban and rural areas; and within and between developed and developing regions, he added. "On World Habitat Day, let us pledge to live up to our shared responsibility to one another," Guterres said. Inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements are crucial – and local action is key, he mentioned. Read: Peace is the only practical way to a better, fairer world for all: UN Chief Cities, towns, and communities can spearhead innovative solutions to address inequalities, ensure adequate shelter for all, tackle the climate crisis and drive a green and inclusive pandemic recovery, he said. This includes, Guterres said, pursuing people-centered policies, promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production, and prioritizing green and resilient infrastructure.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said without a free press, democracy cannot survive and without freedom of expression, there is no freedom. "On Democracy Day and every day, let us join forces to secure freedom and protect the rights of all people, everywhere," he said in a message marking the International Day of Democracy that falls on September 15. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy. "Yet across the world, democracy is backsliding," said the UN chief, adding that civic space is shrinking. He said distrust and disinformation are growing, and polarization is undermining democratic institutions. READ: Overseas aid cuts imperil SDGs: UN chief "Now is the time to raise the alarm. Now is the time to reaffirm that democracy, development, and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing," Guterres said. Now is the time to stand up for the democratic principles of equality, inclusion, and solidarity, he said. "This year, we focus on a cornerstone of democratic societies – free, independent, and pluralistic media," Guterres said. Attempts to silence journalists are growing more brazen by the day – from verbal assault to online surveillance and legal harassment – especially against women journalists, he mentioned. Media workers face censorship, detention, physical violence, and even killings – often with impunity, said the UN chief. "Such dark paths inevitably lead to instability, injustice and worse," he mentioned
UN acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al- Nashif has said it will be vital for the government of Bangladesh to ensure freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and for security forces to refrain from using "excessive force" against protests in the "polarising environment" ahead of the next elections. Nashif said this while delivering a statement on global update at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday. During the first ever visit by a High Commissioner to Bangladesh last month, as well as to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the former High Commissioner discussed a full range of concerns with the authorities and offered OHCHR’s support to review restrictive laws governing on-line expression. Also read: EVMs to be used in maximum 150 constituencies in next national polls: EC At that time, she encouraged the establishment of an "independent, specialised mechanism" to investigate allegations of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, by law enforcement agencies, particularly by the Rapid Action Battalion. "Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and victims’ families should not face reprisals or sanctions for their advocacy work," said Nashif. Also read: UK ready to send independent observers to Bangladesh national polls: Envoy
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the world to help Pakistan after arriving in the country Friday to see climate-induced devastation from months of deadly record floods that have left half a million people living in tents under the open sky. His trip comes less than two weeks after Guterres appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to help those affected by the monsoon rains and floods that have caused at least $10 billion in damages and 1,391 deaths. International aid is arriving, including the first planeload of what the U.S. has pledged will be $30 million in assistance. “I have arrived in Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here. I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe," he said on Twitter before dawn. Last week, the U.N. chief issued a stern warning about the effects of climate change. “Let’s stop sleepwalking toward the destruction of our planet by climate change,” he said in a video message to a ceremony in Islamabad at the time. “Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.” Also read: Over 6.4 million in 'dire need' after unprecedented Pakistan floods Pakistan's Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb in a statement thanked the U.N. chief for visiting Pakistan at a time when, she said, one-third of Pakistan is underwater. She said she wants the visit to help elevate the crisis for flood victims to the global level. “The visit will also help in realizing the consequences of the deadly effects of climate change," said, urging the international community to step up efforts to help poor countries affected by floods and natural disasters. Aurangzeb said Guterres will receive a briefing from Pakistani officials about damages caused by floods before addressing a news conference along with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Friday. So far, U.N. agencies and several countries have sent nearly 60 planeloads of aid, and authorities say the United Arab Emirates is one of the most generous contributors, as it has sent so far 26 flights carrying aid or flood victims. The United States said it will provide $30 million in assistance to help flood victims. Also read: Aid pours into Pakistan; deaths from floods cross 1,200 mark The floods have touched all of Pakistan and affected more than 3.3 million people. Heritages sites have also been damaged, including Mohenjo Daro, considered one of the best-preserved ancient urban settlements in South Asia. The ruins near the Indus River were discovered in 1922 and to this day, mystery surrounds the disappearance of the civilization that dates back 4,500 years, coinciding with those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Mohenjo Daro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the U.N. heritage agency on Thursday announced an emergency amount of $350,000 to help recover flood-damaged cultural heritage sites. Guterres was received on his arrival by Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and will meet with Prime Minister Sharif and other government and military officials on his visit. Before the U.N. chief's arrival, Sharif told a visiting American diplomat that the world should step up its fight against climate change to avoid more deadly flooding. Derek Chollet, a senior State Department official, was visiting Islamabad to assess damages and arrange for aid. According to the government's statement, Chollet affirmed that the U.S. would stand by Pakistan in the wake of the floods and extend help to help people rebuild. On Friday, the first American planeload carrying aid will arrive in Pakistan, according to Pakistan officials, who say Washington is setting up a humanitarian aid air bridge to deliver much-needed for flood victims, Since June, heavy rains and floods have added new burdens to cash-strapped Pakistan and highlighted the disproportionate effect of climate change on impoverished populations. Experts say Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of the world’s historic emissions blamed for climate change. The U.S. is responsible for 21.5%, China for 16.5% and the EU 15%. The floods in Pakistan have also injured 12,722 people, destroyed thousands of kilometers of roads, toppled bridges and damaged schools and hospitals, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday proclaimed unwavering U.N. commitment to a fully denuclearized North Korea, even as a divided Security Council allows more room for the isolated country to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Meeting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, Guterres said he affirms the U.N.’s “clear commitment to the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and DPRK,” using the initials of North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “There’s a fundamental objective to bring peace, security and stability to the whole region,” he told Yoon, while also praising South Korea’s participation in international peacekeeping efforts and fighting climate change. Guterres, who arrived in South Korea on Thursday, later met with South Korean Foreign Minster Park Jin for discussions that were expected to be centered around the North Korean nuclear threat. Also read: UN chief warns world is one step from 'nuclear annihilation' North Korea has test-fired more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, including its first flights of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as leader Kim Jong Un pushes to advance his nuclear arsenal in the face of what North Korea has called “gangster-like” U.S.-led pressure and sanctions. The unusually fast pace in weapons demonstrations also underscore brinkmanship aimed at forcing Washington to accept the idea of North Korea as a nuclear power and negotiating badly needed sanctions relief and security concessions from a position of strength, experts say. The U.S. and South Korean governments have also said the North is gearing up to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a nuclear warhead designed for its ICBMs. While the Biden administration has said it would push for additional sanctions if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, the prospects for meaningful punitive measures are unclear. China and Russia recently vetoed U.S.-sponsored resolutions at the U.N. Security Council that would have increased sanctions on the North over some of its ballistic missile testing this year, underscoring division between the council’s permanent members that has deepened over Russia’s war on Ukraine. Guterres’ meetings with South Korean officials came a day after North Korea claimed a widely disputed victory over COVID-19 but also blamed rival South Korea for the outbreak, vowing “deadly” retaliation. The North insists its initial infections were caused by leaflets and other objects flown across the border on balloons launched by South Korea's anti-Pyongyang activists, a claim Seoul describes as unscientific and “ridiculous." Also read: UN chief lauds Bangladesh’s socio-economic development North Korea has a history of dialing up pressure on the South when it doesn’t get what it wants from the United States, and there are concerns that North Korea's threat portends a provocation, which might include nuclear or missile tests or even border skirmishes.