A green economy is “not one to be feared but an opportunity to be embraced”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, in a keynote speech to delegates at the opening of the COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid on Monday.
The tasks are many, timelines are tight, every item is important
Mr. Guterres outlined the work programme for what will be a busy two-week event covering multiple aspects of the climate crisis, including capacity-building, deforestation, indigenous peoples, cities, finance, technology, and gender. “The tasks are many”, he said, “our timelines are tight, and every item is important”.
The conference must convey a firm determination to change course, demonstrate that the world is seriously committed to stopping the “war against nature”, and has the political will to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, he continued.
COP25 marks the beginning of a 12 month process to review countries’ “Nationally Determined Contributions” or NDCs (the commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement), and ensure that they are ambitious enough to defeat the climate emergency.
Overcome divisions, put a price on carbon
Encouraging signs of progress, noted Mr. Guterres, came out of the UN’s Climate Action Summit, held in September, which saw initiatives proposed by small island nations and least-developed countries, major cities and regional economies, as well as the private and financial sectors.
The stated intention of some 70 countries to submit enhanced NDCs in 2020 – with 65 countries and major economies committing to work for net zero emissions by 2050 – while governments and investors are backing away from fossil fuels, were also cited as positive signs.
The UN chief called for leaders to end division over climate change, and reach consensus on carbon pricing, a crucial tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Doing so, he said, will “get markets up and running, mobilize the private sector, and ensure that the rules are the same for everyone.”
Is this the generation that ‘fiddled while the planet burned?’
However, failing to decide on a price for carbon will, warned Mr. Guterres, risk fragmenting the carbon markets, sending a negative message that can undermine efforts to solve the climate crisis.
Throughout his speech, the Secretary-General was crystal clear about the urgent, existential level of the climate crisis. Failure to act, he said, will be the path of surrender: “Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand, that fiddled while the planet burned?”
The signs of potential disaster are unmissable, he declared. For example, the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is comparable to that seen between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the temperature was between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than now and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than today.
Other indicators include the fact that the last five years have been the hottest on record, and have seen extreme weather events and associated disasters, from hurricanes to drought to floods to wildfires. Ice caps are melting at a rapid rate, sea levels are rising, and oceans are acidifying, threatening all marine life.
Meanwhile, coal plants continue to be planned and built, and large, important parts of the global economy – from agriculture to transportation, from urban planning and construction to cement, steel and other carbon-intensive industries – are still run in ways that are unsustainable.
“There is no time and no reason to delay”, concluded Mr. Guterres. “We have the tools, we have the science, we have the resources. Let us show we also have the political will that people demand from us. To do anything less will be a betrayal of our entire human family and all the generations to come”.
Time for politicians to lead, not follow
Speaking at a roundtable with Heads of State and government attending COP25, Mr. Guterres urged them to lead, and not follow, at a time when public opinion over the environment is evolving very quickly, and cities, regions and the business community are taking action to tackle the climate crisis.
The Secretary-General reminded them that at the recent G20 meeting of the world’s leading economies in Osaka, a group of asset management companies, representing some $34 trillion dollars had asked political leaders to enhance climate action, end subsidies to fossil fuels, and put a price on carbon.
The private sector, he added, is increasingly demonstrating a strong commitment to move forward, and complaining that it’s governments who are lagging behind: regulation is inadequate, fiscal systems are not favourable, subsidies are still going to fossil fuels, and companies face obstacles to climate action.
With a head of steam building for action, it is for political leaders to “to be able to take profit of this movement and to lead, for us to be able to defeat climate change”.
Climate crisis mostly effecting ‘those least responsible for it’
The Secretary-General also addressed a forum of “climate vulnerable” countries, where he pointed out the “great injustice” of climate change: its effects fall most on those least responsible for it.
He cited examples, including Mozambique and the Caribbean, ravaged by storms that cause devastation, in terms of lives lost, communities uprooted, and economies crippled; and drought in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.
Nevertheless, some of the most vulnerable nations are in the forefront of climate action, showing leadership at September’s Climate Action Summit: Mr. Guterres expressed his hope that their example will be followed by the world’s big emitters.
Multilateralism ‘struggling’ to solve world challenges
While multilateralism remains “committed to solving global challenges”, the deputy UN chief said on Sunday, United Nations Day, it is “struggling to find the path to effective implementation”.
“In the space of six months of the COVID-19 crisis, cooperation among the world’s top scientists had developed vaccines and multilateralism had delivered a vehicle to ensure their distribution across the world – the COVAX facility”, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said at Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“And yet today, we are still struggling to get the resources and cooperation required to ensure vaccine equity and to muster up a recovery that would put us on a better path”.
‘More to give’
Yet, there have since been struggles to “translate global commitments and the goodwill of a host of stakeholders into national actions and international finance commensurate with the challenge”, explained the deputy UN chief.
And although the world has the tools, knowledge and forums to prevent conflict, it continues as the planet experiences “the largest humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the second world war”, she added.
“This points to an international order that is not yet capable of following through on its own best intentions”, said Ms. Mohammed. “International cooperation and the United Nations have come a long way, but we have so much more to give”.
Living the goals
With 192 nations represented, the deputy UN chief described the Expo is “an auspicious occasion” to mark 76 years of multilateralism, guided by the founding UN Charter.
“The focus of Expo 2020 on sustainability and connecting minds to change the future is at the heart of…Our Common Agenda…vision for ensuring that multilateralism ensures that we – as one human family – breakthrough together”, said the UN official.
Against the backdrop of a global crisis of confidence, trust and collective action, she upheld the need for more effective multilateralism, renewed social contract, deepened solidarity, and stronger investments in youth – with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core.
“It is only through inclusion that we can renew our social contract and rebuild trust. And inclusion can only be achieved if we place our youth and women at the centre of the equation”, Ms. Mohammed spelled out.
UN works toward ‘decisive breakthrough’
As the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow fast approaches, the world “must do better” at ensuring both women and young people are shaping “the critical decisions we need to make as a global society”, argued the UN official.
“What gives me immense hope is that UN staff right across the world are dedicated to nothing more and nothing less than securing that decisive breakthrough”, she stated.
From troubled corners like Afghanistan or Ethiopia to the world of diplomacy, common ground and solutions in New York or Geneva and from teams on the ground in Small Island States to UN Country Teams around the world, UN staff is working hard to achieve the Organization’s aspirations.
And sustainability is not only a common theme in all pavilions but the SDGs are incorporated in many of the Expo’s presentations and exhibits.
“Let us mark this day in full knowledge of the fact that the United Nations is not some abstract international organization but the will and commitment of the nations and peoples of the world to secure a better future”, said the Deputy Secretary-General.
“And let us capitalize on the powerful opportunity Expo offers us to unite in solidarity to end poverty, protect the planet, secure peace and improve the lives of everyone, everywhere in this critical Decade of Action”, she concluded.
Work together for peace
The Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra also performing a special “Hymn to the United Nations”, which was composed 50 years ago by legendary cellist, composer and conductor Pablo Casals to commemorate the UN’s work on 24 October 1971.
“Our presence at Expo 2020 offers the opportunity to build awareness about and support for the SDGs, the importance of individual actions, solidarity, hope and engagement”, said Maher Nasser, Commissioner-General of the UN at Expo 2020.
“To build a world in which everyone thrives in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet, we need to work together”.
Do You Really Need Name-Brand Cartridges?
Cartridges from printer manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard are notoriously expensive. Considering the price of their basic equipment, ink may cost almost as much as the machines. This economic model has been raising eyebrows for many years. Customers are looking for affordable alternatives, and this global demand is met by the generic cartridge industry. Discovered the best ways to buy inkjet cartridges in Canada.
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Consumers can slash their expenses if they purchase original products from independent brands or recycled OEM cartridges. Both options offer substantial savings, particularly in the long run. The best providers comply with international quality standards, which guarantees trouble-free printing (CE, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Reach, STMC). Here is how these types of products compare.
Original cartridges may be recycled. This process is known as remanufacturing, and it is based on the reuse of the original shell and internal components (with selective replacements if necessary). Essentially, used cartridges are emptied, thoroughly cleaned and filled with fresh ink, so they can be installed again.
This is the most sustainable method, as it reduces waste. Instead of buying a brand-new cartridge every time you need ink, you get a recycled product. Previously, consumers would take their old products to service providers at physical locations. Today, it is much easier to purchase these products online with free shipping, a money-back guarantee, and other benefits.
Since the first compatible cartridges emerged, printer manufacturers have tried to prohibit them. Fortunately for consumers, their lawsuits have failed. Products from third-party brands are legal, and they are also much more affordable than the OEM supplies. Both the cartridges and the ink come from the same companies. These products are designed for particular models of printers.
The equipment manufacturers may issue firmware updates preventing the machines from recognizing non-original ink. This restriction is easy to circumvent — just turn off the updates and use any supplies you like. When shopping around, pay attention to the following:
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Popular printer manufacturers sell affordable equipment with expensive consumable supplies. This lets them attract new buyers and profit from the ink for years. However, savvy customers know better than to follow their recommendations. Generic cartridges and remanufactured products offer great value for money — just do a bit of research to find trusted stores in your area.
UN chief condemns ‘ongoing military coup’ in Sudan
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres on Monday condemned the “ongoing military coup” in Sudan, saying Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and all other officials, “must be released immediately.”
Long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military following months of popular protest in April 2019, and a transitional government was set up comprising both military and civilian leadership, after a power-sharing agreement, that was due to lead to full democratic elections in 2023.
Now, according to news agencies, Sudan’s military has dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency. Protesters have reportedly taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and there are reports of gunfire.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Secretary-General said that “there must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition.”
“The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan”, Mr. Guterres assured.
Progress in jeopardy
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemned the attempted coup.
“These actions threaten the Juba Peace Agreement and jeopardize the important progress made towards democracy and respect for human rights”, Michelle Bachelet said.
She called on military authorities to abide by the constitutional order and international law, withdraw from the streets, and resolve any differences with civilian leaders serving on the Transitional Council through dialogue and negotiation.
“I utterly deplore the reported arrest of the Prime Minister, several Ministers, leaders of the Forces of the Freedom and Change and other civil society representatives, and call for their immediate release”, she continued.
Communication systems down
Ms. Bachelet also pointed out reports that the internet is down in the country and other means of communication are suspended.
“Blanket internet shutdowns contravene international law, and Internet and mobile services must be restored, as they are essential for people to seek and receive information, particularly in these unsettling circumstances”, she explained.
She asked military and security forces to refrain from unnecessary and disproportionate use of force, to respect people’s freedom of expression, as well as the right of peaceful assembly.
According to her, “it would be disastrous if Sudan goes backwards after finally bringing an end to decades of repressive dictatorship.”
“The country needs to move forward to consolidate democracy, a wish expressed countless times by the Sudanese people, including loudly and clearly on the streets last week and today”, she added.
The head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (UNITAMS), also released a statement, declaring that the arrests of the Prime Minister, government officials and other politicians are “unacceptable.”
“I call on the security forces to immediately release those who have been unlawfully detained or placed under house arrest”, Volker Perthes said. “It is the responsibility of these forces to ensure the security and wellbeing of people in their custody.”
The UNITAMS chief, who acts as a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, also urged everyone involved to exercise the utmost restraint.
“All parties must immediately return to dialogue and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order”, Mr. Perthes concluded.
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