The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), on Thursday called on African countries to foster more effective policy and harmonisation in managing climate change.
Richard Munang, Africa regional climate change coordinator at the UNEP said that African countries require unity that allows all ministries and other stakeholders to work together to meet climate action commitments.
“Implementing climate action enterprises cannot be done through one sector alone without input from all the leading productive line ministries and sectors.’’
He said that the ministry of environment should be in charge of leading the progress since the governments have policies in place.
The UNEP official noted that climate action must become an added tool in our countries’ economic development plans since prioritising climate action is an investment for direct and indirect realisation of socially and economically inclusive development.
Munang urged African governments to find the alternative financing model since it has already been agreed upon through high-level policy provisions instead of relying on traditional public assistance alone.
“We must desist from reliance on international public finance alone and embrace more innovative approaches that balance public and private, domestic and international sources.’’
He noted that even though climate change is global, the poor are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects because they lack the resources to quickly recover from its effects.
Munang said that efforts to combat climate change must align with accelerating socioe-conomic growth to build resilient populations in the continent.
“The work of every government and every sector of the economy is to build the resilience of citizens to enable them to put food on their table, money in their pockets, a job for every youth and a globally competitive economy.’’
Edited & Vetted By: Hadiza Mohammed/Ese E. Ekama
Ramaphosa urges UN to take decisive action against racism
South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has urged the United Nations to spare no effort at ending racism and other forms of prejudice.
Ramaphosa, who is the Chairman of the African Union, made the call in his pre-recorded video statement to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
It is the UNGA General Debate since the death of African American, George Floyd, in police custody on May 25 sparked protests in the United States and around the world.
“The year 2020 will be remembered for the massive groundswell to push back the frontiers of racism under the umbrella of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“As a country that has known too well the anguish of institutionalised racism, South Africa supports the demands for swift action against racism, whether committed by individuals, companies, officials or the state.
“South Africa calls on the United Nations to spare no effort to end prejudice and intolerance in all its forms and wherever it may be found.
“In the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” he told the virtual world gathering.
Ramaphosa also expressed the commitment of his country and the AU to the pursuit of global peace and security.
“As African countries we will continue with our effort to ‘silence the guns’ once and for all through conflict resolution and peace-building.
“Cooperation between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council has contributed to improved peace and security in the Darfur region of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic.
“It is imperative that this collaboration is institutionalised and that the financing of AU peacekeeping operations is addressed and resolved.
“South Africa is currently serving its second year as an elected non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
“We have used our tenure to promote international peace and security by advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue,” he added.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
UN commends FG on improvement of humanitarian access in North-East
The United Nations has commended the Federal Government’s efforts at improving humanitarian support in the North-East region of the country, saying the Buhari Administration “has taken important steps to improve access to people in need.”
A statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the commendation came amidst international concerns on the activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the region.
Lately, some international humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have expressed worry on their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in parts of the North-East because of security concerns, especially in some remote areas of Borno.
“In a bid to reverse the trend and ensure effective access to vital food supplies, the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, escalated the matter to the Presidency.
“The President then mandated the Vice President to work with the Committee, Governors in the region and relevant MDAs, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with international NGOs and multilateral agencies operating in the region.
“The Vice President then held series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and INGOs.
“This intervention by the Presidency has led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supports the activities of the INGOs and offers a more secured access to the areas in question,’’ the presidential aide maintained.
In reaction to this intervention and new arrangement, Adesina quoted the United Nations Secretariat in a briefing last week by the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock to the UN Security Council to have said:
“I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the Government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further.”
Lowcock had indicated earlier that “In North-East Nigeria, as we told you…violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.”
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
At UNGA, AU chairman solicits ‘comprehensive stimulus package’ for Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on Tuesday solicited a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa to enable its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa made the appeal in his pre-recorded video statement to the virtual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union (AU), he also called for suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debts.
The South African president said although the continent had responded “swiftly and effectively” to the pandemic, it would “inevitably set back our developmental aspirations”.
He said: “The resources we have had to redirect to fighting the pandemic has set back our efforts to provide housing, health care, water and sanitation and education to our people.
“When the Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in July, 2020, he called on the nations of the world to forge a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal.
“He said we must create equal opportunities for all, that we must advance a more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system, that debt architecture must be reformed, and that there should be greater access to affordable credit for developing countries.
“It is in the spirit of this New Global Deal, that we call on the international community and our international partners to support the rollout of a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa.
“This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19 but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies.”
He, however, acknowledged joint efforts by the G20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the UN to address debt sustainability in developing countries.
He noted that pandemic had underscored the urgency with which the world strive to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ramaphosa reiterated the AU’s call for the lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan to enable their governments to adequately respond to the pandemic.
According to him, relieving both countries of sanctions will also ensure no one is left behind as the world races against time to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Zeroing in on SDG 1, poverty education, the AU chairman noted that the purpose of the UN would remain a mirage until global poverty was eradicated.
He called for expansion of economic opportunities to all our people, especially young people, women and the vulnerable.
Ramaphosa further urged decisive action to rid the continent of corruption, which he said is “robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right”.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
King of Jordan, Abdullah seeks end to Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Tuesday that the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was through the two-state solution in accordance with international law and the United Nations (UN) resolutions.
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the one conflict that started with the UN’s formation and that continues to fester to this very day,” Abdullah told the United Nations General Assembly.
He added that the only way for a just and lasting peace “is an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the 1976 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in mutual peace and security.
“We cannot resolve this conflict without working to preserve Jerusalem for all humanity as a unifying city of peace.”
He called on the UN not to rest “as long as injustice and lack of peace persist anywhere in the world.
“The UN must not rest, we must not rest,” he added.
According to him, the coronavirus has exposed the cracks in the global system.
He called for rethinking the role of the UN and other multilateral organisations “to become more impactful in dealing with challenges old and new, be they pandemics or regional conflicts.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim