Category: SDGs

World leaders take major step to restore and protect forests at COP26.

A pivotal pledge to save and restore our planet’s forests was officially announced on the second day of the COP26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow.

With that deal came a long list of commitments from public and private sector actors to combat climate change, curb biodiversity destruction and hunger, and to protect indigenous peoples’ rights.

A film narrated by Sir David Attenborough played on the screens at the COP26:

By destroying forests, we are harming biodiversity and our lives

Forests provide fresh water, clean the air we breathe, inspire spiritual value, and provide us with food

Our challenge now must be to halt deforestation and beginning to restore forests.

It is a huge undertaking, and every country will need their own table approach.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson came to the podium to announce that at least 110 countries representing 85 per cent of the planet’s forests had signed the pivotal COP26 Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.

Protecting our forest is not only a course of action for tackling climate change but also for a more prosperous future,” he said.

Boris Johnson highlighted that China, Russia and Brazil have also joined the promise, which he believed could be also a ‘parallel’ opportunity for job creation.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and well as Brazil’s, Jair Bolsonaro, appeared in a pre-recorded message supporting the pledge, among other leaders absent from the COP.

“Signing the Declaration is the easy part.

It is essential that it is implemented now for people and the planet,” UN chief António Guterres urged on his official twitter account, according UN News.

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United Nations chief to COP26: “enough of treating nature like a toilet”.

As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community.

We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating.

It was a grey and windy morning, as dozens of world leaders arrived at the Scottish Event Campus, of the key United Nations climate conference, in the city of Glasgow.

Since 6.30am, long lines of people gathered at the gates to get their accreditations, and pass through tight security, which included presenting proof of negative COVID-19 tests.

Journalists from all over the world set to work side by side in the event halls, armed with a host of microphones, cameras, lights and recording equipment.

The stage was set to hear from Heads of State as COP26 got underway, including the co-host:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson, of the United Kingdom,
  • US President Joe Biden,
  • French President Emmanuel Macron,
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
  • and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

We want the Heads of State to be real leaders, and for them to ignite change and step up during COP26”, Juan Pablo Sierra, a young climate activist from NGO United for Climate Action, told UN News just before the ceremony started.

The UN chief called for greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030; an effort that should be led by developed countries.

G20 countries have a particular responsibility as they represent around 80 per cent of emissions”, he said, making clear however, that emerging economies must also go the extra mile.

We need maximum ambition, from all countries on all fronts to make Glasgow a success”, he added, according UN News.

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Joe Biden to meet Pope Francis in Rome ahead of G20 and COP26.

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Rome for an audience with Pope Francis ahead of the G20 summit of world leaders and after that the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Pope Francis and Joe Biden will discuss tackling COVID-19, climate change and poverty in talks which are a chance for the US president to set the tone for a crucial week.

Joe Biden, only the second Catholic President of the USA after John F Kennedy, spoke of the moment’s significance last month.

I happen to be a practicing Catholic and one of the things I like about my pope today is he’s all about renewal and forgiveness, that’s what that’s what he’s about.

And I look forward to, I hope I get to see him in the not-too-distant future,” Joe Biden said in September.

The coming two weeks of global leaders meeting to save the world begins with a one-on-one between the leader of the planet’s biggest religious denomination and its most powerful superpower…

The G20 Summit will take place 30 and 31 October in Rome.

The United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.

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UN Secretary-General: sustainable transport key to green energy shift.

With global transport at a crossroads, government leaders, industry experts, and civil society groups are meeting in Beijing, China.

The leaders gather for a UN conference to chart the way forward to a more sustainable future for the sector, and greater climate action overall. 

The three-day UN Sustainable Transport Conference, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transportation can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development. 

It is taking place just weeks before the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland

In his remarks to the opening, UN Secretary-General António Guterres underlined what is at stake. 

“The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation,” he said.  

The move to sustainable transport could deliver savings of $70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.   

Better access to roads could help Africa to become self-sufficient in food, and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by the end of the decade. 

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the door for action is closing, he warned. 

Transport, which accounts for more than one quarter of global greenhouse gases, is key to getting on track.

We must decarbonize all means of transport, in order to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 globally“, according UN News.

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UN chief urges lifesaving transformation of food systems.

World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of what we eat to everyone on the planet, but also “a call to action to achieve food security around the world”, the United Nations chief said in his message marking the World Food Day on Friday.

Commemorated annually on 15 October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that currently, almost 40 per cent of humanity, some three billion people, can’t afford to eat healthily.

And as hunger, undernourishment, and obesity are on the rise, the economic impacts of COVID-19 “have made a bad situation even worse”, he said.

Noting that the pandemic has left an additional 140 million peopleunable to access the food they need”.

At the same time, the way we produce, consume and waste food is taking a heavy toll on our planet.

It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment, and costing us trillions of dollars a year”, warned the UN chief.

Reference this year’s theme that the power to change is in our hands, he spelled out that “our actions are our future”.

Last month, the world took part in the landmark UN Food Systems Summit, which set the stage to transform food systems everywhere to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The UN chief recalled that during the summit: “countries made bold commitments to make healthy diets more affordable and accessible and to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step”.

We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices, for ourselves, and our planet”, said the UN Secretary-General.

In our food systems, there is hope”, according UN News.

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UN chief calls for bold action to end ‘suicidal war with nature’

With more than a million species at risk of extinction, countries must work now to achieve a sustainable future for people and the planet.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres told leaders attending the UN Biodiversity Conference, which opened on Monday from Kunming, China.

“We are losing our suicidal war against nature,” Antonio Guterres said in a video message to the meeting, which is mainly being held virtually.

The UN chief warned that “humanity’s reckless interference with nature” will have permanent consequences

Ecosystem collapse looming 

The rate of species loss is tens to hundreds of times higher than the average of the past 10 million years, and accelerating.

Over a million species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates are at risk, many within decades,” he said. 

“Ecosystem collapse could cost almost three trillion US dollars annually by 2030.

Its greatest impact will be on some of the poorest and most highly indebted countries,” he added. 

‘Ceasefire’ with nature 

The conference, known as COP15, will develop a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade. 

COP15 is our chance to call a ceasefire,” said the UN Secretary-General.

Together with COP26 on climate, it should lay the foundations for a permanent peace agreement”, according UN News.

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United Nations: “Artificial Intelligence can help halve road deaths by 2030”.

Countries and investors need to step up the development and use of Artificial Intelligence to keep roads safe for everyone, three UN Special Envoys said on Thursday, leading a new AI for Road Safety initiative. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a call for action to halve the annual rate of road deaths globally and ensure access to safe, affordable and sustainable transport for everyone by 2030

According to the newly launched initiative, faster progress on Artificial Intelligence is vital to make this happen, especially in low and middle-income countries, where the most lives are lost on the roads each year. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.3 million people die annually as a result of road traffic crashes. 

Between 20 and 50 million more suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability. 

Artificial Intelligence can help in different ways:

  • including better collection and analysis of crash data
  • enhancing road infrastructure
  • increasing the efficiency of post-crash response
  • and inspiring innovation in the regulatory frameworks.  

This approach requires equitable access to data and the ethical use of algorithms, which many countries currently lack, leaving them unable to identify road safety solutions, according UN News.

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United Nations calls for ‘digital equality’ for all, young or old.

Marking the International Day of Older Persons this Friday, the United Nations is driving home the message that “digital equality” online, needs to be inclusive of everybody, regardless of age.  

In his message, the UN Secretary-General said that as each individual faces the challenge of navigating the world’s growing reliance on technology, “perhaps no population could benefit more from support, than older persons.”

For António Guterres, these technologies can help older citizens stay connected with loved ones, attend a religious service or take a stance. 

All of these actions and many more are increasingly carried out online, especially as individuals and communities grapple with restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Older persons have often been left more isolated during the pandemic and they are also at greater risk of suffering from the rising threat of cybercrime.

While taking all possible measures to hold to account those unscrupulous criminals preying on older persons, we must also work to strengthen the digital skills of the elderly as an important defence, and means to improve their well-being,” Mr. Guterres said.  

For him, older persons are far more than a vulnerable group: “They are a source of knowledge, experience and rich contributions to our collective progress.” 

The UN Secretary-General also argued that, when older persons can access and use new technology, they will be better equipped to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

He concluded asking for more inclusive policies, strategies and actions to achieve digital equality for people of all ages, according UN News.  

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