This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Climate change conference begins against backdrop of alarming reports
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has opened the COP24 climate summit in Poland with a dramatic appeal to world leaders to take seriously the threat of global warming and avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.
The UN chief called for leaders to focus on a solid plan for stepping up climate action, and more funding as a smart investment in the future of the planet.
The event takes place as several reports from UN agencies show rising CO2 levels, record high temperatures and inadequate action to curb global warming, prompting Mr. Guterres to tell delegates that progress on climate action is currently far too slow:
“We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change. Climate change is running faster than we are, and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late. For many people, regions, even countries, this is already a matter of life and death. And this meeting is the most important meeting on climate change since the Paris Agreement was signed. It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation. We are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption.”
Landmark UN disability report lack of inclusivity
Released on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a landmark UN study on disability and development has shown that, in many societies, people living with disabilities face isolation and discrimination.
The study highlights that more than one billion people live with some form of disability worldwide, and pushes for changes to urban development, in areas such as transport, cultural life and access to public places and services, in ways that positively affect disabled citizens.
To mark the Day, Member States, policy makers, civil society and academic institutions came together at UN headquarters in New York on Monday to present recent disability-inclusive initiatives and take part in a panel on accessible and inclusive urban planning.
UN South Sudan Mission condemns brutal sexual assaults
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has condemned a series of sexual assaults and beatings carried out on women and girls in the Unity region of the country.
The attacks were described as “abhorrent” by David Shearer, the Head of the Mission, who added that they took place in a region controlled by the Government, which hears primary responsibility for the protection of civilians.
UN Peacekeepers were immediately sent to the area to provide a protective presence and a UN human rights team launched an investigation to identify the perpetrators.
The Mission is also urging armed forces in the area to guarantee command and control over their troops to ensure rogue elements within their ranks are not involved in these criminal acts.
Conor Lennon, UN News.