This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
US commitment to rejoin key climate deal welcomed by UN’s Guterres
US President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement only hours after taking office has been hailed by UN chief António Guterres.
The development reverses the US announcement in June 2017 that it would pull out of the agreement to try to reduce global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by limiting harmful carbon emissions.
“With all countries fully engaged, we have a real opportunity to prevent climate catastrophe & embark on transformative Climate Action,” Mr. Guterres said in a tweet on Thursday.
US plans to re-engage with World Health Organization
The UN chief has also welcomed Mr. Biden’s announcement that the US is to re-engage with the World Health Organization, WHO.
It comes, after the previous US administration gave notice last July that it intended to leave the UN agency.
That decision would have taken effect in July 2021, as the formal withdrawal requires a year’s notice.
The US is the largest donor to the UN health agency, contributing almost $893 million to its 2018-2019 programmes.
In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres said that supporting the WHO was “absolutely critical” to the world’s effort for a better coordinated response against COVID-19.
The UN chief also urged global solidarity to defeat the coronavirus.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences”, he said.
Top US medical adviser announces intention to resume major role in global health
Staying with the World Health Organization, the United States’ top medical official said on Thursday that the US would now join the agency’s global initiative to help poorer nations overcome COVID-19, in addition to a raft of new measures in support of access to universal healthcare, such as abortion services.
Addressing the WHO’s Executive Board Meeting, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to the new US President, said that Mr. Biden intended to issue a directive within hours so that the country can become part of the COVAX platform to advance multilateral efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
Speaking one year ago “to the day” since the United States confirmed its first case of COVID-19 infection, Dr. Fauci noted that global infections had now surpassed 90 million.
This was a “devastating number that continues to grow”, he said, while paying tribute to the scientists, public health officials and frontline healthcare workers, and community health staff who had worked “heroically” to fight the virus.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.