UN chief urges world leaders to step up efforts to tackle climate crisis

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UNITED NATIONS, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – September 15, 2022): As many heads of state and government, including Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, prepare to come to New York for the general debate of the new general, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged them to bring hope to a fractured world and redouble their efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, the UN chief promised to address the many problems facing the planet, in his address next week to the General Assembly, which will also contain concrete recommendations for durable solutions and a call to action.

He began by recalling the devastation he witnessed during his recent trip to flood-hit Pakistan, which he described as a window into a “future of permanent and pervasive climate chaos on an unimaginable scale”.

In generally uncompromising language, he castigated the global response to the climate crisis as inadequate, unfair and, at bottom, a betrayal. “Whether it’s Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, the small islands or the least developed countries, the world’s most vulnerable who have done nothing to cause this crisis are paying a horrific price. for decades of big emitter intransigence”.

He wondered aloud if the reaction would be different if a third of the G20 countries, rather than Pakistan, were currently under water.

All countries must cut emissions every year — with the G20, as the biggest emitter, leading the way, Guterres told correspondents in New York — until global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degree above pre-industrial levels.

Returning to the example of Pakistan, António Guterres insisted that the country, and other climate hotspots, need flood-resistant infrastructure now, arguing that at least half of all climate finance must be devoted to adaptation and climate resilience.

This funding, he said, must come from major economies.

“Turn the temperature down now,” he said. “Don’t flood the world today, don’t drown it tomorrow.” The UN chief hailed the success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed food and fertilizer supplies to finally leave Ukraine’s war-torn ports, and played a role in reducing world food prices, which reached record levels after the Russian invasion.

However, there is still a real risk of multiple famines this year, warned António Guterres.

World hunger was already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, and has never recovered.

Many countries are facing a crisis in the cost of living, which hits the poorest people and communities hardest, and the rights of women and girls around the world are being reversed.

The Secretary-General stressed that at a time of high geopolitical tensions, failure to act to stem the climate crisis will have serious repercussions, such as mass migration and increased instability.

António Guterres criticized the actions of populist politicians who, he said, show “shocking disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable in our world”, pitting people against each other, employing discrimination, disinformation and hate speech.

“This year’s general debate must aim to give hope”, concluded António Guterres. “This hope can only come from the dialogue and debate that are the beating heart of the United Nations.”

The UN chief told reporters in a lengthy and detailed question-and-answer session after his scripted remarks that he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin just before speaking to correspondents in New York.

“We had the opportunity to discuss the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its possible expansion. We discussed the obstacles that still exist with regard to Russian food and fertilizer exports.” He said there was a risk of a “market crisis” if more Russian fertilizer is not able to reach countries that urgently need future agricultural production, adding that it was “absolutely essential “to remove barriers to fertilizer exports.

He said the two leaders also discussed the issue of Ukrainian prisoners of war, as well as the UN Fact-Finding Mission, which is investigating an incident in Olenivka on July 29 that resulted in the death. of 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war and dozens of wounded. After.

The UN chief said President Putin had indicated that the UN team would have access to the area where the attack took place. “There will be no obstacles from the Russian side” to go where the investigators choose to go, “and that is a very important aspect,” he added.

Asked about the possibilities of helping broker a comprehensive peace agreement, Guterres said it was important to be realistic.

“It would be naive to think that we are close. My good offices are ready, but I have no illusions that at present the chances of a peace agreement are slim. So, Obviously, I continue my contacts with both parties and I hope that one day it will be possible to move to a higher level of discussion.”

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