Author Archives: cigisurrao

Sustainable transport key to green energy shift: UN Secretary-General

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

Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day

World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet — it is a call to action to achieve food security around the world.

Today, almost 40 per cent of humanity — three billion people — cannot afford a healthy diet.

Hunger is on the rise.

So too are undernourishment and obesity.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have made a bad situation even worse.

The pandemic has left an additional 140 million people unable 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. Continue reading

Diversity, a ‘source of strength’, UN chief tells Security Council

Inclusion is fundamental to rebuild societies in the wake of war and achieve durable peace, UN Secretary-General told world leaders, ambassadors and prominent global citizens meeting in the Security Council on Tuesday. 

The UN chief addressed an open debate on diversity, state-building and the search for peace, organized by Kenya, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.

“For countries emerging from the horrors of conflict and looking to a better future – indeed for all countries – diversity must not be seen as a threat.  It is a source of strength,” the Secretary-General said.

Pacific civil society and illustrators becoming public finance management experts

More than 50 civil society organization (CSO) representatives and illustrators from Fiji, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are on their way to being experts as they proceed into the second phase of the ‘Almost Experts’ mentorship program that will be virtually launched on 13 October 2021 at 11 a.m. (Fiji Time).

The programme is provided by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) through the Strengthening of Public Finance Management and Governance in the Pacific Project (PFM Project).

The PFM project aims to strengthen oversight over public financial management in the Pacific region, though improving the budgetary scrutiny, public financial oversight and accountability capacities of parliaments, SAIs and civil society within the region, aligning with international public financial oversight and accountability standards, and fostering citizen engagement and oversight. More

Finance Ministers hold key to COP26 success: UN Secretary-General

The COP26 climate change conference must be “a turning point” if countries are to limit global temperature rise in line with the Paris Agreement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday. 

Addressing members of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, he highlighted their critical role as the conference date fast approaches.

“As Ministers of Finance, you hold the key to success for COP26 and beyond,” he said in a video message to their latest meeting, held from Washington, DC. “Your decisions and actions in the coming weeks will determine whether the global economic recovery will be low-carbon, resilient and inclusive or whether it will lock-in fossil fuel-intensive investments with high risks of stranded assets,” he added.

The UN chief further called for ministers to support development of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, aimed at helping Small Island Developing States to access concessional financing.  More

With clock ticking, sustainable transport key to Global Goals

From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest, according to a new UN multi-agency report launched on Tuesday.

The “clock is ticking on our 2030 timeline” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Liu Zhenmin, said in the foreword of Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Development.

Describing the upcoming Conference as “a landmark moment for stakeholders from across the world”, the head of DESA described it as an opportunity “to discuss challenges and opportunities, good practices and solutions”.

The report was prepared by DESA in collaboration with an extensive network of UN agencies, will present substantive background to discussions and options for the way forward. More

Afghanistan: World must act on ‘make or break moment’ – UN chief

Amidst a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, on Monday UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to take action during a “make or break” moment for the country.

“If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price”, Mr. Guterres told journalists in New York, ahead of Tuesday, when G20 leading industrialized nations will meet to discuss the country embroiled in crisis.

Currently, at least 18 million people, or about half of the country’s population are affected.

“Without food, without jobs, without their rights protected, we will see more and more Afghans fleeing their homes in search of a better life. The flow of illicit drugs, criminal and terrorist networks will also likely increase”, Mr. Guterres warned.

For him, “this will not only badly affect Afghanistan itself, but also the region and the rest of the world”. More

‘The time for action’ to support most fragile States: Guterres

From COVID-19 to the climate crisis and growing inequality, Secretary-General António Guterres underscored, at a financial meeting on Thursday, the importance of greater commitment and cooperation for a “more peaceful and prosperous future”.

The pandemic has forced more than 100 million people into poverty and more than four billion have little or no social support, healthcare or income protection “when they so urgently need it”, he informed the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank event.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at a real risk of failure. Solidarity is missing in action and a sense of injustice is spreading – creating a breeding ground for violence and conflict”, the UN chief said in his keynote speech.

People living in fragile and conflict-affected States are suffering most of all. We must fulfil the commitments we have made to change course”, he added. More

WHO: Global health community prescribes climate action for COVID recovery

Ambitious national climate commitments are crucial for States to sustain a healthy, green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new UN health agency report launched on Monday in the lead-up to the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Based on a growing body of research confirming numerous and inseparable links between climate and health, the World Health Organization’s (WHOCOP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health spells out that transformational action in every sector, from energy, transport and nature to food systems and finance is needed to protect people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the intimate and delicate links between humans, animals and our environment”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people”.

Although achieving the Paris Agreement on climate change would improve air quality, diet and physical activity – saving millions of lives a year – most climate decision-making processes currently do not account for these health co-benefits and their economic valuation.  More

COVID-19: Global vaccine plan aims to end ‘two-track pandemic’

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday unveiled an $8 billion pathway out of the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to make vaccines accessible to everyone, everywhere.

The Global COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy aims to inoculate 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of the year, and 70 percent by the middle of 2022.

WHO had previously pressed governments to vaccinate 10 per cent of the world’s people by the end of last month.  However, more than 55 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, missed the target.

In remarks to the virtual launch, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has been strongly advocating for a global plan, urged nations to unite and make it a success.

“Without a coordinated, equitable approach, a reduction of cases in any one country will not be sustained over time. For everyone’s sake, we must urgently bring all countries to a high level of vaccination coverage,” he said, speaking from New York. More