Category Archives: News

From electric dreams to supercharged reality: the road race to a clean energy future

The global Formula E electric race series, a partner with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP),  has grown in popularity since it launched some seven years ago, attracting the attention of major car manufacturers, changing people’s perceptions of electric vehicles, and bringing the world one step closer to a sustainable transport future.

Transport is believed to be responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and combustion engines are a major cause of poor air quality in urban areas, which is a factor in asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Despite being around for many years, electric vehicles remain a small part of the overall car market. However, with growing concern about climate change, and some eye-catching commitments from governments and car manufacturers, which include plans to ban or end the production of combustion engines within the next few decades, that could be about to change.

Formula E is so far the only sport to be certified net zero carbon since its inception, and those associated with the championship are committed to combatting the climate crisis by accelerating the adoption to electric vehicles.  More

Secretary-General’s message on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

“Victims’ Voices Lead the Way”

In the midst of a global pandemic, accompanied by rising inequalities and economic devastation, the voices of human trafficking survivors and victims risk being drowned out.

But listening to their stories is more crucial than ever as the COVID-19 crisis increases fragilities and drives up desperation. As many as 124 million more people have been pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, leaving many millions vulnerable to trafficking.

Children are at great and growing risk: they represent one-third of victims globally — a share that has tripled in the last 15 years. Half of victims in low-income countries are children, most of whom are trafficked for forced labour. Criminals everywhere are using technology to identify, control and exploit vulnerable people. Children are increasingly targeted through online platforms for sexual exploitation, forced marriage and other forms of abuse. Continue reading

Food systems transformation a ‘silver lining’ in COVID crisis: UN deputy chief

A sustainable and prosperous planet can only be achieved through working together and in solidarity, the UN Deputy Secretary-General said on Wednesday at the end of a major global food security meeting.

More than 500 delegates from 108 countries attended in-person, while thousands more joined virtually. Participants included government officials, smallholder farmers, producers, indigenous people, women and youth.

“This meeting has shown us that there’s a silver lining to this COVID crisis: Food systems are a priority area for transformative investments, that can lead the transitions that we need to make,” said Ms. Amina Mohammed during her closing press conference at the Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome, Italy. More

Securing our greener future

For the first time ever, the UN Development Programme Small Grants Programme in Solomon Islands handed over the certificate of afforestation project completion to its grantee, Isi Akson Theatre Art Trust (Inc).

With the outstanding goal to plant over 5,000 trees, the reforestation project had received the financial support from the UNDP Small Grants Programme (SGP) back in 2013, to restore biodiversity and create sustainable livelihoods in the Kolokisu community.

Addressing members of the Kolokisu community and speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Hon Francis Sade, Premier of Guadalcanal Province, commended the project team for its great accomplishments “I welcome this great milestone in Isi Akson Kolokisu Afforestation that reduces emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, build ecosystem resilience and also enhance the lives of communities that nurture the forests.” More

Myanmar: Rights expert calls for ‘COVID ceasefire’, urges UN action

The UN independent expert on the human rights situation in Myanmar on Tuesday called for a “COVID ceasefire” for the country, as infections and deaths soar even as the military junta escalates attacks against healthcare workers. 

Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said junta forces have engaged in at least 260 attacks against medical personnel and facilities, resulting in at least 18 deaths.  Meanwhile, over 600 health care professionals are currently eluding outstanding arrest warrants, and at least 67 have been detained.

He urged the Security Council and Member States “to use all the tools of the UN”, including adopting resolutions, to demand Myanmar’s military rulers, known officially as the State Administrative Council (SAC), stop all attacks, particularly against healthcare professionals. More

COVID-19: Education replaced by shuttered schools, violence, teenage pregnancy

A culture of “safety, friends and food” at school has been replaced by “anxiety, violence, and teenage pregnancy”, with remote learning out of reach for millions, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Tuesday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “more than 600 million children in countries not on academic break are still affected by school closures”, James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson at a press conference at UN Geneva.

In countries such as Uganda, this has led to a “20 per cent spike in the last 15 months in teen pregnancies, or pregnancies of 10-24-year-old girls, who were seeking antenatal care. Across the globe in all continents we’ve seen child helplines, a good precursor to understanding kids who are reporting violence, seeing often triple-digit increases,” said Elder.

In a call for action, UNICEF appealed for five main steps: Schools should reopen as soon as possible; governments and donors must protect the education budget; enrolment should be extended to children who were already out of school pre‑COVID‑19 – by removing financial barriers and loosening registration requirements – and cash transfers to the most vulnerable, must be increased.

“Everything needs to be done to bring an end to the pandemic,” Mr. Elder said, starting with making vaccines available everywhere by sharing excess doses and financing to support the roll-out of vaccines. More

UN climate science talks open amid heatwaves, floods and drought

Negotiations began on Monday to approve a UN science report which will anchor high level summits later this year, charged with boosting climate action worldwide.

The assessment comes as record-breaking heat waves, devastating floods and drought struck across three continents in recent weeks. “This report has been prepared in exceptional circumstances, and this is an unprecedented IPCC approval session,” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair, Hoesung Lee, told the opening session of the meeting.

The report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, by IPCC Working Group I brings together the latest advances in climate science and multiple lines of evidence to provide an up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change.

The meeting is being held remotely from 26 July to 6 August, with the aim of ensuring that the summary for policymakers is accurate, well-balanced and presents the scientific findings clearly.

Subject to the decisions of the panel, the report will be released on 9 August, just weeks ahead of the UN General Assembly opening, a G20 summit, and the 197-nation COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The document is the first part of the Sixth Assessment Report, which will be will be finalised in 2022​​. More

Women entrepreneurs meet in Savai’i to strengthen ethics and compliance

Samoan women entrepreneurs met in Savai’i to share their experiences in strengthening internal business control mechanisms, ethics and compliance in women-owned/managed businesses.

Supported by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, the workshop is part of a series of integrity-strengthening efforts led by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI). The UN-PRAC Project is a joint initiative by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, and the UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office (MCO).

“This initiative in Samoa is part of our commitment to making gender equality a reality. Women’s empowerment and gender equality, including efforts to prevent corruption and promote business integrity in the Pacific, are vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals,” said regional UNDP Anti-Corruption Adviser, Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska.  More

Statement by the Secretary-General on the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Environment, Climate and Energy

The world urgently needs a clear and unambiguous commitment to the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement from all G20 nations. There is no pathway to this goal without the leadership of the G20. This signal is desperately needed by the billions of people already on the frontlines of the climate crisis and by markets, investors and industry who require certainty that a net zero climate resilient future is inevitable.

Science tells us that in order to meet this ambitious, yet achievable goal, the world must achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and cut dangerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 % by 2030 from 2010 levels. But we are way off track.

With less than 100 days left before COP 26, I urge all G20 and other leaders to commit to net zero by mid-century, present more ambitious 2030 national climate plans and deliver on concrete policies and actions aligned with a net zero future including no new coal after 2021, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and agreeing to a minimum international carbon pricing floor as proposed by the IMF. Continue reading

Farmers the ‘lifeblood of our food systems’, deputy UN chief highlights, ahead of key summit

Farmers, especially women and indigenous people, work tirelessly to put food on our tables. UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed met on Saturday women producers at a farmers’ market in Circo Massimo, Rome, ahead of the Food Systems Pre-Summit taking place next week.

Dozens of stalls were set up in the vicinity of the UN event’s venue, where heads of state and delegates will gather from Monday to discuss ways to transform food systems to tackle hunger, poverty, climate change and inequality. UN and government officials toured the market to meet with farmers before paying tribute to producers, particularly women, for their central role in food systems.

“Farmers are the lifeblood of our food systems”, said Ms. Mohammed. “Understanding their needs and the challenges they face helps ensure that emerging solutions are fit for purpose”, she added.

The meeting will set the stage for the culminating global event in September by bringing together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More