Top news for Monday include: the celebration of International Mother Earth Day, efforts by the UN to push for a political solution to the Libyan crisis, the opening of the annual Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Security Council's condemnation of the Sri Lanka attacks, and an upcoming UN high-level mission to Bangladesh to highlight the humanitarian needs of Rohingya refugees settled there.
‘Do everything in your power to tackle climate change’ UN chief urges on Mother Earth Day
Marking International Mother Earth Day, the UN on Monday debated how best to build “an equitable and sustainable future” for all, through enhanced education and climate action, on the road to a key international summit on the issue due to take place in September.
Billed officially as an Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature, the UN General Assembly session involved Member States and top officials discussing the need to take urgent action against the pace of global warming, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, to keep carbon dioxide emissions to well-below two degrees Celsius.
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UN continues diplomatic push for political solution to end Libya fighting
The UN Special Representative for Libya and Head of the UN Mission in the country, UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé, is continuing his efforts to try and de-escalate military action in and around the capital, Tripoli.
The commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army began an offensive to try and take the Libyan capital from forces backing the UN-recognized Government, more than two weeks ago.
Here’s UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, briefing correspondents in New York on Monday on Mr. Salame’s progress.
“Earlier today, he met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Khamis Jhinaoui in Tunis, with whom he discussed developments related to the clashes in southern Tripoli. Both asserted that the UN-facilitated political process is the ideal and only way to solve the Libyan crisis.”
According to the UN office coordinating humanitarian affairs (OCHA), thousands of civilians, refugees and migrants remain trapped in conflict-affected areas, unable to flee either because of fighting or detention.
In a statement released on Monday, OCHA said that medical teams were working relentlessly to evacuate and care for people wounded in the conflict.
Through the Tripoli flash appeal, the humanitarian community has urgently called for US$10.2 million to continue providing life-saving relief, adding that “humanitarian needs in Libya are rapidly increasing, while funding levels remain low”.
Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage
Traditional knowledge is at the core of indigenous identity, culture and heritage around the world, the chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said at the annual event’s opening day on Monday, stressing that it “must be protected”.
Anne Nuorgam, who is a member of Finland’s Saami Parliament and head of the Saami Council’s Human Rights Unit, described the Forum as an opportunity to share innovations and practices, developed in indigenous communities “over centuries and millennia”.
Indigenous peoples make up less than six per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest on earth, according to the Forum. They live in some 90 countries, represent 5,000 different cultures and speak the overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages.
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UN Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ Sri Lanka attacks
The members of the UN Security Council condemned “in the strongest terms the series of heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks” that took place in several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, which resulted in nearly 300 killed and hundreds more wounded.
They expressed their “deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Sri Lanka” and wished “a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured”.
Reaffirming that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” they underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.
The Security Council urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Sri Lanka and all other relevant authorities in this regard.
The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
Rohingya refugee crisis: UN Humanitarian top officials to visit Bangladesh
Three top United Nations officials will visit Bangladesh later this week, to highlight the need for supporting the humanitarian needs of almost a million Rohingya refugees now living in the country.
The UN announced the visit of High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi; the Director General of the migration agency, IOM, António Vitorino; and the UN relief chief, Mark Lowcock, head of OCHA, in a statement released on Monday.
In the capital Dhaka, the delegation will hold talks with senior government officials, and then travel to Cox’s Bazar to meet with refugees, assess preparations underway ahead of the monsoon season and visit UN support projects.
The aim of the visit is to highlight the need to continue strong international support, while solutions can be found for the safe, dignified return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.