UN chief calls on world leaders to declare ‘state of climate emergency’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 14, 2020   •   612

In his opening remarks at the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday (December 12), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a worldwide declaration of “state of climate emergency.” 

Such a declaration, Guterres said, is to address the impact of global warming.

The Secretary General noted that currently the world is 1.2 degrees hotter than before the industrial revolution. 

“If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century. Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?,” he said.

“That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached,” he added.

The central objective of the UN in 2021, he said, will be to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.

The UN official said global economic policies and finance must be aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thus, it is time to put a price on carbon and phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies.

He also suggested ending the construction of new coal power plants and shifting the tax burden from income to carbon, from taxpayers to polluters.

Also, Guterres calls on nations to make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory and to integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions.

On a positive note, the Secretary General commended several countries who have started to reduce carbon emissions while some 38 countries have already declared the state of climate emergency realizing the urgency.

“I urge everyone to show ambition, stop the assault on our planet,” he said.

“Do what we need to guarantee the future of our children and grandchildren,” he said.

More people are experiencing severe hunger in Democratic Republic of the Congo — UN

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 7, 2021

The United Nations has raised concerns after the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a record-high level of acute hunger.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), 27.3 million people face “acute” food insecurity. There are also around seven million people who are suffering from “emergency” levels of acute hunger.

One of the factors, according to the UN, is a slump in the country’s economy as well as the effects brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Militia violence also persisted in the area for decades.

Aristide Ongone Obame, FAO Representative in DRC said social and political stability are “essential to strengthen food security and boost the resilience of vulnerable populations”.

There is also a need to boost livestock and the growing of more food.

“The main agricultural season is around the corner and there is no time to waste,” he said. -AAC

UN condemns ‘escalating violence’ after 18 died in Myanmar anti-coup protest

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 1, 2021

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), more commonly known as the United Nations Human Rights Office, has condemned the ‘escalating violence’ in Myanmar after 18 were killed during an anti-coup protest on Sunday (February 28).

In a statement, Secretary-General António Guterres said he is “deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries.”

“The use of lethal force against peaceful protestors and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable,” he added.

Guterres also urged the international community “to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression.” -AAC

UN warns against harsh treatment of protesters in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 16, 2021

The United Nations (UN) has warned Myanmar’s military for its harsh treatment of protesters, saying that the “world is watching closely.”

In a press briefing, UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener has called on the Myanmar military to refrain from using violence and respect human rights.

“The right of peaceful assembly must fully be respected, and that demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals. She has conveyed to the Myanmar military that the world is watching closely, and any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences,” she said.

Protests across Myanmar have grown after the military takeover on February 1 where top political leaders were arrested.

Several of the high officials detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.  

There are also reports that the military use excessive force against the demonstrators.

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), as of February 12, more than 350 political and state officials, activists, and civil society members have been taken into custody. Several members of the media, monks, and students were also detained

“Several face criminal charges on dubious grounds, and most have received no form of due process or permitted legal representation, family visitations or communication,” according to the UN.

Burgener also reiterated UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s statement and called for a visit to Myanmar under agreeable conditions. -AAC

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