New Zealand youth ‘in frontline’ of fight against climate change: UN chief
Young people in the South Pacific are leading the fight against global warming, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, as he continued to spotlight the issue ahead of the Climate Action Summit that he’s convened in September in New York.
Speaking in New Zealand to young Māoris and people of the Pacific Islands, Mr. Guterres expressed his gratitude to them for highlighting the importance of limiting global temperate increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
The UN chief also recognized the important role played by ‘Generation Zero’, a New Zealand-based youth-led organization that provides solutions to cutting carbon pollution through smarter transport, and independence from fossil fuels.
Mr. Guterres insisted that three steps would make a major difference to addressing climate change: a carbon tax as opposed to a salary levy, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and stopping the construction of new coal plants by 2020.
Climate change ‘a threat to our human rights’, says Australian minority community
In a related development, indigenous Australians are to ask the UN Human Rights Committee to investigate its claim that the Government is doing too little to limit climate change.
According to reports, Torres Strait islanders in the north of the country say that global warming is a threat to their survival, thanks to rising seas, tidal surges and coastal erosion.
They maintain that the lack of action by the authorities is a threat to their human rights.
As part of their claim, the group is calling for the UN panel – which is one of 10 human rights committees that meet regularly throughout the year in Geneva – to call for Australia to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.
Condemnation for deadly attack on church in Burkina Faso
An attack by gunmen on a church in Burkina Faso that left six people dead, reportedly including a priest, has prompted widespread condemnation from senior UN officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres.
According to media, the attack took place in the town of Dablo, situated in a region that has seen a spike in violence in recent months. The church was burned to the ground, along with other buildings including a health centre.
In a statement, Mr. Guterres urged “all citizens of Burkina Faso to stand firmly with one another across communities and not to succumb to efforts to sow discord and breed further violence”.
Just last week, three top UN humanitarian officials from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger warned of an “unprecedented” rise in “sophisticated armed attacks in the Sahel”, which are putting the future of a “whole generation” at stake.
Violence is spreading in Mali and Niger, as well as Burkina Faso, and risks spilling over into other West African countries.
This has led to a five-fold rise in the displacement of the local population in the last 12 months, who have seen more than 330,000 people leave their homes, in addition to 100,000 refugees.
Conflict escalation in Gaza possible ‘at any time’ amid growing despair and depression: UNRWA
Gaza is a place that’s “collapsing socially” amid growing and serious humanitarian needs that are making an escalation of conflict there more likely “at any time”.
That’s the message from UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency, which said on Monday that the enclave is seeing increasing despair and depression among the two million people who live there – 70 per cent of whom are refugees.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, said that 12 years of blockade by Israel had left people with little hope.
More than half of those of working age in Gaza are unemployed with little perspective of a job, he said, while 80 per cent of refugees live below the poverty line and depend on food handouts.
“For the first time in my year-and-a-half there, I had three people talking to me separately about noticeably increasing drug abuse, increasing suicide attempts and prostitution and they put this down to the place is collapsing socially, in socio-economic terms and one can see it and of course against a background like that escalation is possible at any time.”
The UN official added that the recent missile exchanges between Gaza and Israel had been more intense than during the 2014 conflict, before warning that UNRWA urgently needs between $40 and $50 million to fund essential humanitarian work in the second half of the year.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.