Global human development – which can be measured as a combination of the world’s education, health and living standards could decline this year for the first time since the concept was introduced in 1990, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned. Concerted action with a focus on equity could still limit the impacts of this unprecedented crisis: closing the digital divide would reduce by more than two-thirds the number of children currently not learning because of school closures. More
Adopting comprehensive auditing, oversight, accountability and reporting mechanisms to monitor the disbursement process is one of the key recommendations to prevent corruption in the Pacific during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to a new advisory note from the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project. More
United Nations agencies are working together to provide vital support to Pacific Island countries as they rally to combat COVID-19 outbreaks across the region. More
Youth are leading the charge against climate change in Pacific island countries that are especially vulnerable to its damaging effects. In Fiji, Vanuatu and Tuvalu, the tropical environment faces cyclones and other threats. Young people respond with an urgent call for the world to act.
Watch LIVE the Climate Action Summit 2019
Starting 21 September – 23 September on UN WebTV: http://webtv.un.org
In the lead up to the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019, to raise ambition and increase climate action, UNIC Canberra in partnership with Australian National University (ANU) Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the Pacific Missions in Canberra organised a public lecture called “UN Climate Action Summit 2019: A Pacific Youth Talanoa for greater ambition on climate change”, on 2 September 2019 at Kambri Cinema, ANU.
The Vice-Chancellor and the President and Chief Executive Officer of ANU, Prof Brian Schmidt, delivered the welcome remarks and expressed his solidarity with the UN Secretary General and with the Pacific neighbours in their call to governments around the world to increase their ambition on climate change. Prof Schmidt noted that ANU researchers, economists and several interdisciplinary teams were working to explore mechanisms for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which would not only help tackle climate change, but also create new economic opportunities, support regional communities, improve health outcomes and protect biodiversity.
Nai Jit Lam, UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative delivered the introductory remarks and highlighted that concrete climate action outcomes can be achieved through partnerships and greater political will, together with the intelligence and passion of our youth.
Fiji’s Emergency Medical team (FEMAT) is now ready for International Deployment becoming the first team in the Pacific accredited with this unique capability.
As a result, disaster and other medical emergency situations have gained significant assistance thanks to the partnership between the World Health Organisation and the governments of Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.
With 11 disasters and 26 outbreaks during 2018 in the Pacific alone, this mobile and self-sufficient team with its medical expertise, infrastructure and supplies will save lives in Fiji, the Pacific and elsewhere internationally.
UNIC Canberra spoke to Sean Casey, WHO Pacific Health Cluster Coordinator, who was in Vanuatu this week, and started by asking him about the nature of the teams.
17 May 2019
I want to express my very deep solidarity and admiration in relation to the people and the government of Tuvalu.
You are on the frontline of the war on climate change because climate change is striking in Tuvalu in a more dramatic way than anywhere else in the world.
I have enormous admiration for how you have decided to resist and you are implementing a programme of adaptation and resilience that is something that the whole world should admire and support. But it’s necessary that governments that are still causing the problems that affect Tuvalu understand that they need to change. They need to change their energy policies, their transportation policies, the way they manage their cities, the way they are using fossil fuels so that the impact of climate change on Tuvalu can be stopped. Climate change cannot be stopped in Tuvalu it has to be stopped in the rest of the world.
We will be fighting during our Summit in New York to make sure that all countries accept the commitment that we need to be globally carbon neutral by 2050 to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees.
At the same time, I want to express my deep solidarity and the total support from the United Nations to the government and to the people of Tuvalu in your determined efforts to preserve your country – physically, culturally, in the economic and social dimensions, as a rich component of the Pacific and the international community.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saw the frontline of “the battle against climate change” for himself on Thursday, by taking to the tropical waters of the South Pacific off the coast of Fiji, on a solar-powered boat. More
Secretary-General’s remarks to Māori and Pasifika youth at event hosted by James Shaw, New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Auckland, 13 May 2019
Dear friends, it is an enormous pleasure to be here with some of the members of Generation Zero representing the very important leadership that youth around the world is providing to make sure that we are able to reach our central objective: not to have more than 1.5 degrees of increasing temperature at the end of the century.
The international community , and especially the scientific community, has been very clear that to reach this goal we absolutely need to have carbon neutrality by 2050. I’m extremely grateful to the leadership of New Zealand in this regard and extremely grateful to the leadership to the youth in New Zealand in this regard.
I’m confident that youth around the world will be able to convey to their governments a very clear message which is the message that I would like to convey here from the Pacific.
First, shift taxes from salaries to carbon. We must tax pollution not people.
Second stop subsidies to fossil fuels. Taxpayers’ money should not be used to boost hurricanes, to spread drought and heat waves, to bleach corals or to melt glaciers.
Finally, stop the construction of new coal plants by 2020. We want a green economy not a grey economy in the world.
It is very important that around the world young people, civil society and those that in the business community have understood that the green economy is the economy of the future and the grey economy has no future, it’s very important that you convince governments that they must act because there’s still a lot of resistance.
I went to Katowice not one, but three times, and I felt that resistance. Governments are still afraid to move forward. They feel the costs of climate action forgetting that the costs of inaction are much bigger than any costs of climate action. It’s very good to see – as we know, that nature does not negotiate – it’s very good to see youth in the frontline and I’m delighted to be with you here today and to learn from you, what you want us to do.
Thank you very much for your presence and it’s very important that your own government recognizes you’re a very important influence in what has been the exemplary New Zealand leadership in this regard.
Secretary-General’s upcoming travel to Geneva and the South Pacific
On May 12, the Secretary-General will travel to the South Pacific to spotlight the issue of climate change ahead of the Climate Action Summit that he is convening in September in New York. This visit will take him to New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
In each country, the Secretary-General will meet government leaders, civil society representatives and youth groups to hear from those already impacted by climate change and who are also successfully engaging in meaningful climate action.
In Fiji, the Secretary-General will be at the Pacific Island Forum, where he will meet with senior governments officials from each Member State in attendance, as well as with members of civil society.
In New Zealand, the Secretary-General will meet with Muslim leaders in Christchurch to express his solidarity following the 15 March terrorist attack.
Prior to traveling to the Pacific, the Secretary-General will be in Geneva from 8-10 May to attend the spring meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB). This is one of the semi-annual meetings that brings together, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General, the executive heads of 31 UN system entities. This session, which will be hosted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, will focus on the future of work in the digital age. The heads of the UN entities will also look to agree on ambitious and concrete steps to address climate change in advance of the September Climate Summit.
While in Geneva, the Secretary-General will also address a special session of the World Trade Organization’s General Council, where he will stress the importance of preserving the multilateral rules-based order – including on trade – for a fair globalization and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Secretary-General will be back in New York on 19 May.