This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
When disaster strikes, developing countries are still too vulnerable
Many developing nations remain unprotected against disaster, even though it is accepted that building community resilience has many benefits beyond saving lives and livelihoods.
That’s the message from the UN Secretary-General, who on Wednesday – the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – urged greater international solidarity for the many countries that are unable to protect themselves.
“Weak governance, growing poverty, biodiversity loss, collapsing ecosystems and unplanned rapid urbanization are all interconnected drivers of disaster risk,” said António Guterres.
Just 24 hours’ advance warning of a storm or heatwave could reduce damage by 30 per cent, he said, before insisting that providing help for Small Island Developing States was a “question of survival”, as they faced warming oceans, rising seas, and intensifying storms.
Echoing that message, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction issued new data on Wednesday showing just how little has been invested in protection measures, globally.
For every $100 spent on disaster-related development aid, only 50 cents have gone towards protecting communities from the impact of catastrophe, the UN office said.
It added that out of the $133 billion dollars spent on disaster-related activities between 2010 and 2019, only $5.5 billion was spent on preventing or reducing the risk of an emergency.
China pledges $230 billion to global biodiversity fund
China has pledged about $230 billion to support biodiversity in developing countries, it’s been announced.
The development came at the UN Biodiversity Conference, which closed on Wednesday.
The meeting culminated in the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, where States Parties committed to implementing an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to put biodiversity on a path to recovery “by 2030 at the latest”.
Key elements of the accord include phasing out and redirecting harmful subsidies and recognizing the full and effective participation of local communities in helping to monitor and review biodiversity progress.
Countries are expected to adopt the proposed global biodiversity framework in May 2022, following further formal negotiations next January.
UN rights committee finds Paraguay did not respect indigenous rights
To Paraguay now, and a UN rights committee ruling on Wednesday that the authorities failed to protect indigenous people’s land from “toxic contamination” linked to commercial farming.
In its decision, the UN Human Rights Committee detailed how the intensive use of banned pesticides to produce soybeans had killed livestock and affected harvests of people belonging to the Campo Agua’e indigenous community, in the eastern district of Curuguaty.
The area’s hunting, fishing and foraging resources had also been impacted, the UN panel said, adding that waterways had been contaminated, harming people’s health.
The disappearance of these natural resources had also led to the loss of traditional knowledge, the UN human rights panel said, adding that ceremonial baptisms were no longer possible because the raw materials no longer existed.
“By halting such ceremonies, children are denied a rite crucial to strengthening their cultural identity,” the Human Rights Committee said, noting that its decision comes more than 12 years after the indigenous community filed a criminal complaint in Paraguay, where investigations “have not progressed in any meaningful way”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.