This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Guterres makes urgent call to enact post-COVID sustainable recovery
The world is at a “make or break” moment because of the COVID pandemic, but countries face even greater problems unless they take steps urgently to protect the climate.
That’s the message UN Secretary-General António Guterres has given to the Interparliamentary Union (IPU).
“As bad as COVID-19 is, climate disruption has the potential to cause even greater damage and upheaval,” he told delegates at the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament on Wednesday.
With more than 21 million cases and 770,000 deaths from the new coronavirus, the UN chief warned that infections are accelerating in some places.
Even before the virus hit, Mr. Guterres noted that there were numerous global problems, from rising inequality and worsening environmental degradation, to shrinking civic space and poor public health care, rooted in governance failures and a lack of opportunities.
To address this, he urged countries to consider promoting six climate-positive actions that could “rescue, rebuild and reset” their economies.
These included the need “to stop wasting money on fossil fuel subsidies and the funding of coal”, and ensuring that bailouts of industry, aviation and shipping are conditional on their being in line with the goals of the Paris climate Agreement.
Net-zero emissions need to be achieved before 2050, Mr. Guterres insisted, with 45 per cent cuts necessary by 2030.
New sea tragedy underscores need to scale up rescue in the Mediterranean: UN
The UN has called for search and rescue to be scaled up in the Mediterranean Sea after another deadly shipwreck of the coast of Libya, that is believed to be the worst this year.
Forty-five people died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea when their boat sank after its engine exploded off the coast of western Libya three days ago, according to UN migration agency IOM and UN refugee agency UNHCR.
More than 300 migrants and refugees have perished trying to sail from Libya to Europe this year, but the actual number of fatalities is likely much higher.
Without a dedicated, European Union-led rescue operation, more lives will be lost in the Mediterranean, the agencies warned.
In their appeal to EU countries, they also urged States to offer a predictable port of safety to commercial vessels that carried out sea rescues.
No-one should be returned to Libya either, the agencies stressed, because of the risks associated with the ongoing conflict, severe human rights violations and arbitrary detention.
Libya’s COVID-19 cases see 15-fold spike in under two months – ICRC
Staying with Libya, COVID-19 cases there have increased more than 15-fold in less than two months, spiking from 571 in June to more than 9,000 today.
In an alert on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross also said that more than half a million people need health care assistance.
The warning comes as conflict, the new coronavirus and economic collapse threaten to plunge hundreds of thousands of civilians deeper into chaos, the Red Cross noted.
Neighbourhoods located on former battle lines in Tripoli have been badly scarred and families have little if anything to return to, said Red Cross President, Peter Maurer.
During his visit he spoke to Khalifa Haftar, head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) in Benghazi.
He then went to Tripoli to meet Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the Presidential Council and Prime Minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord of Libya (GNA).
Daniel Johnson, UN News.