Bonn New initiatives in energy water and agriculture sectors announced at UN

In the water sector, the majority of national climate plans with an adaptation component prioritize action on water, yet financing would need to triple to $295 billion per year to meet such targets, said experts on Friday. “Sustainable use of water for multiple purposes must remain a way of life and needs to be at the center of building resilient cities and human settlements and ensuring food security in a climate change context,” said Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, President of the Women for Water Partnership. The international water community co-signed on Friday what it called a “nature based solution declaration” to encourage the use of natural systems in managing healthy water supplies. Around 40 per cent of the world’s population will face water shortages by 2050, accelerating migration and triggering conflict, while some regions could lose up to six per cent of their economic output, unless it is better managed. “Involving both women and men in decision making and integrated water resources initiatives leads to better sustainability, governance and efficiency”, said Ms. Verhoef-Cohen. Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, President of the organization Women for Water Partnership, at the UN Climate Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany. Photo: UN News/Jerome Bernard New commitments and initiatives in energy, water and agriculture sectors were announced on Friday, at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, under the auspices of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action to help implement the Paris Agreement. The Marrakech Partnership aims at catalyzing greater climate action by public and private stakeholders as the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, calls on countries to combat climate change by limiting the rise of global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and strive not to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.Cleaner energy developmentIn Bonn, new initiatives were announced to push forward the transition to renewable energy and to show that more ambitious clean energy development can quickly become a bigger part of national climate plans submitted under the Paris Agreement. “With the price of renewable and storage technologies tumbling, and greater understanding on how to set the policy table for a cleaner energy mix and more integrated energy planning, the question before decision makers is, why wait?” said Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). Among key announcements, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released a new report, Untapped Potential for Climate Action: Renewable Energy in Nationally Determined Contributions, which suggests there is substantial scope for countries to cost-effectively increase renewable energy. The Climate Group also announced new members to its recently launched EV100 campaign, a major new global electric transport initiative designed to make electric vehicles “the new normal.” And 13 countries with the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced this week the launch of a new multi-year, 30 million euros plan to support clean energy transitions around the world.Investing faster and further in agricultural climate actionRegarding agriculture, leaders and experts said that investing faster and further in agricultural climate action and to support the sustainable livelihoods of small-scale farmers will unlock much greater potential to curb emissions and protect people against climate change. “Countries now have the opportunity to transform their agricultural sectors to achieve food security for all through sustainable agriculture and strategies that boost resource-use efficiency, conserve and restore biodiversity and natural resources, and combat the impacts of climate change,” said René Castro, Assistant-Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the livestock sector, for example, FAO estimates that emissions could be readily reduced by about 30 percent with the adoption of best practices. FAO released a new Sourcebook on Climate-Smart Agriculture. It recommends scaling up public and private climate finance flows to agriculture; spurring public-private partnerships; strengthening a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder dialogue; investing in knowledge and information; and building capacity to address barriers to implement climate action.Managing healthy water supplies read more

Read More

UN remembers Kofi Annan A leader who put people at the centre

UN Photo/Manuel EliasMartha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations, delivers remarks at the signing of the Condolence Book for former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away on 18 August 2018.“Kofi Annan faced up to the grave errors made by the United Nations in the 1990s – in its response to the Rwanda genocide and the Srebrenica killings – by shining a light inside the UN,” he said.“The reports he commissioned aimed to make sure such terrible mistakes are never repeated, and set the international community on a new course in its response to mass atrocities.”Kofi Annan died on Saturday following a short illness.   He was 80.As Mr. Guterres stated, his passing was “a personal loss” for many who work in the UN system.While the UN flag outside Headquarters was flown at half-mast for three days following the announcement of Mr. Annan’s death, staff members have been filling a book of condolences with expressions of sympathy to his wife, Nane, and family. During a wreath-laying ceremony in New York, the current UN chief António Guterres led staff members in paying respects to the mild-mannered diplomat from Ghana who rose through the UN system to become its seventh leader in January 1997, serving two consecutive five-year terms.“Kofi Annan’s years in office were an exciting time. He put forward new ideas. He brought new people into the United Nations family. He spoke passionately about our mission and role. He created a renewed sense of possibility both inside and outside our organization about what the UN could do and be for the world’s people,” said Mr. Guterres.“His most defining features were his humanity and solidarity with those in need. He put people at the centre of the work of the United Nations, and was able to turn compassion into action across the UN system.”That action included uniting world leaders to agree global targets on poverty and child mortality – linchpins of the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – and to join with civil society and the healthcare industry to save lives from HIV/AIDS.As his successor noted, Mr. Annan also did not shy away from addressing challenging issues. UN personnel also have been sharing their memories of a man who was wise yet humble, courteous and charming.Jean-Marc Ferré, a  photographer with the UN Office at Geneva, recalled Mr. Annan’s humanity, but also his sense of humour.“I remember when we were on mission in Oslo, there was a small work meeting in English and I wanted to be sure that I had understood everything, so I quietly asked Fred Eckhard (Mr Annan’s spokesperson) at which point Kofi stopped talking and asked me what was the matter,” he told UN News on Saturday.“After apologizing for the interruption, I reminded him that I wasn’t very comfortable with English, to which he suggested that Fred could help me afterwards. Then before picking up where he had left off, he looked at me and said, ‘You know, it doesn’t show in your photos that you don’t speak much English.’” read more

Read More