|E.Guinea opposition says prisoners still jailed despite... Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache||
Equatorial Guinea's main opposition leader said Tuesday that political prisoners remain locked up in the country despite authoritarian President Teodoro...
|Equatorial Guinea Empowers Women and Youth in Partnership with International Labor Organization Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache|
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea, through its Minister for Work, Employment Promotion, and Social Security, Celestino Bonifacio Bakale Ndong, empowered women and youth in regards to equal and fair employment opportunities in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Equatorial Guinea and the ILO have worked together for over one year on decent employment opportunities, support for cooperative companies, and the promotion of self-employment, among other employment projects.
Equatorial Guinea also examined the reform of certain employment laws and regulations.
Equatorial Guinea has made significant strides in regards to economic activity in recent years as part of the Government directive to diversify the economy away from energy to include all relevant business sectors.
Economic diversification and the promotion of entrepreneurship are in line with Equatorial Guinea’s Horizon 2020 national development plan.
Equatorial Guinea has made great progress over the years on human rights, including the temporary amnesty against the death penalty, the plan of action to combat human trafficking, the implementation of the Children’s Parliament, the improvement of education for all Equatorial Guineans, and the complete abolition of child labor.
Equatorial Guinea has ratified numerous international conventions regarding human rights, and is active at the United Nations (UN) as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, where it strongly advocates for peace and security throughout the world. Equatorial Guinea at the UN has urged its fellow UN member states to prohibit the sale of arms to mercenaries and other organizations who are considered human rights violators.
|Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache||China, African Trade Hits $170b Yearly|
China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong said the growth was on the basis of interlocking interests since 1978.
The minister said this has therefore made China Africa’s largest trading partner during the last few decades.
In the same period Chinese investment in Africa reached a cumulative $ 110 billion.
Chen said Africa’s debt to her country is economically sustainable and should be no cause for alarm.
Chen, made the announcement in Beijing on Wednesday at the opening session of the 7th Forum of the China-Africa Expert Committee.
“China is attentive to the situation in Africa and seeks to help the continent to contain the risks of debt and relieve the pressure of payment,” the minister pointed out.
The minister said that Beijing also encourages companies in her country to do more investments as well as to explore new models such as public-private partnerships.
China, the official said, understands the importance of debt sustainability in Africa, thereby helping the continent to improve its investment environment.
China’s investments on the continent range from Zambian power plants, Egyptian trade deals, cobalt mines in Congo, rail links in East Africa and infrastructure in Equatorial Guinea.
|Remittance rip-offs Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache|| |
All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa.
But what these workers probably do not realize, since they usually only ever send to one country, is that the cost of sending money varies greatly. Now a study of the cost of remittances, carried out by London's Overseas Development Institute with support from the fund-raising charity Comic Relief, has revealed that transfers to African countries cost around half as much again as the global average, and twice as much as transfers to Latin America.
The ODI estimates that if remittance charges were brought down to the world average, the money saved could educate an extra 14 million primary school children, half of all those currently out of school on the continent.
The bulk of this money goes through money transfer companies rather than banks, since the recipients are unlikely to have bank accounts, and transfer companies are quick, efficient and have a wide network of agents. But just two big international players dominate the business in Africa, Moneygram and Western Union, and participants in a meeting to launch the research were highly critical of the way they seemed to be abusing their market dominance.
Rwanda's High Commissioner in London, Williams Nkurunziza, said he was shocked at what the report revealed. “If you look at the remittances, 30 or 40 percent of the money that goes to Africa goes to rural areas,” he said. “This money goes to the people who are most needy, and you are allowing a multinational corporation to take bread out of the mouth of hungry children. This is not what I would call responsible capitalism!”
Glenys Kinnock, opposition spokesman on International Development in the upper house of the UK parliament, who chaired the meeting, called on the country's financial regulatory authority to intervene over the issue of excessive charges. “It is not a technocratic issue,” she said, “although it may sound like one. It is also about people's lives and the future of their children... These things have to change. We can't put up any longer with the prospect of its making things so difficult, very often impossible, for people who have such needs.”
At the end of last year, when the ODI did its research, the fees and charges to send money to most of Africa were around 12 percent - a bit less to Zambia or Tanzania, a bit more to Uganda, Malawi and the Gambia - against a world average of just over 8 percent. Even that is quite expensive; the governments of the G8 and G20 countries have pledged themselves to working towards reducing this to 5 percent.
It found that in more than 30 countries the two big players had more than 50 percent of the market; and in 10 countries they had more than 90 percent. Sometimes either Moneygram or Western Union had an effective monopoly, but even where both companies were present it did not necessarily mean that customers had much choice; one company could still have a monopoly of outlets in a particular area, and the companies habitually make their paying-out agents sign contracts promising not to also act as agents for their rivals.
Competition has been limited by the fallout from the US “war on terror”, with the banks who do bulk international transfers citing money-laundering and anti-terrorism regulations as the reason they are reluctant to extend facilities to smaller companies. Now only the biggest of the Somali companies, Dahabshiil, still has an account with a major British bank (Barclays) and even that concession was forced by a court case and is only until other arrangements can be put in place.
Inter-Africa transfers cost most
Dilip Ratha, who works on these issues for the World Bank says exchange controls are one of the reasons the rates are so high; in some places sending money out of the country is illegal. “So if you are sending money,” he says, “let's say from Benin to Ghana, it is actually allowed (in some countries it's not even allowed) but first the CFA has to be passed through into euros or sterling or dollars, and then it has to be transferred back into the local cedi, and in both cases you pay commission. Some sort of regional currency market really needs to be created.”
"So if you are sending money, let's say from Benin to Ghana, it is actually allowed (in some countries it's not even allowed) but first the CFA has to be passed through into euros or sterling or dollars, and then it has to be transferred back into the local cedi, and in both cases you pay commission. Some sort of regional currency market really needs to be created"
The report found 10 routes with bank transfer charges over 20 percent. Charges from Nigeria to Ghana were 22 percent. To send from Tanzania to the rest of East Africa, or from South Africa to its near neighbours is particularly expensive, peaking at 25 percent for bank transfers between South African and Malawi. Some of the fees charged by money transfer companies are even higher; if you send money that way from Ghana to Nigeria you may have to pay a staggering 39 percent.
In some places mobile phone based systems like M-Pesa have made in-country transfers much easier and cheaper, but they haven't really taken off internationally, largely because conservative, inflexible regulatory systems insist that all international transfers must go through conventional banks. And African banks tend to have very high charges, often because they are forced by governments to finance government projects or make uncommercial loans.
Chukwuemeka Chikezie of the Up Africa consultancy told IRIN a lot of the responsibility lay with African governments. “One of the reasons M-Pesa took off in Kenya was because the authorities nurtured and enabled innovation. If you look at other countries the regulators have tended to stifle innovation. They are very risk-averse and they don't enable even limited experiments to prove that the markets can absorb technical innovation.”
In addition, money-laundering regulations are putting impossible demands on systems designed to serve the poor, requiring, for instance, “know your customer” procedures like taking copies of ID documents for anyone receiving an international payout. Selma Ribica of M-Pesa points out this is an impossibility for agents in rural areas with no power supply. She told IRIN she would like to see a more realistic, tiered approach with much lighter regulation for small international transfers (under, say, US$200-300) which are most unlikely to have anything to do with money laundering.
Beware Facebook, Walmart
Facebook has just proposed allowing transfers between customers who have accounts with the company which they normally use to make payments for online games. So far this is only proposed for payments within the European Union, but Facebook has a huge geographical spread and has said it is keen to extend its reach in Africa.
And the big profits made by the transfer companies are tempting other players into the market. The latest to announce it is starting money transfers is the US supermarket chain Walmart, with recipients being able to pick up their cash from any shop in the chain. To start with this will only work within the United States and Puerto Rico, but Walmart is an international group with nearly 350 stores in South Africa, and it also has a presence in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Mozambique, opening up the tempting prospect of a new, and cheaper way for workers to send money home.
All these new ways of sending money aim to undercut Moneygram and Western Union. Now Western Union has responded by offering so-called “zero-fee” transfers to Africa if the money is sent from a bank account rather by credit card or cash. This would mean a saving of just under £5 ($8.40) for someone sending $100 from the UK to Liberia. The company would still make money (nearly $4) by using a favourable exchange rate, but it would bring the cost down to just below the G8/G20 target.
For African's hard-pressed and hard-working migrants and their families back home, change may - finally - be on the way.
eb/cb99977 201404221522570983.jpg Feature Politics and Economics Remittance rip-offs IRIN LONDON Angola Burkina Faso Burundi Benin Botswana DRC Congo, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire Cameroon Colombia Cape Verde Djibouti Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Ghana Gambia Guinea Equatorial Guinea Guinea-Bissau Kenya Liberia Lesotho Morocco Madagascar Mali Mauritania Mauritius Malawi Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda Seychelles Sudan Sierra Leone Senegal Somalia Sao Tome and Principe eSwatini Chad Togo Tanzania Uganda Samoa South Africa Zambia Zimbabwe
|West Africa gears up to contain Ebola spread Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache|| |
As the Ebola caseload rises to over 5,350, aid agencies and governments in countries not yet affected by the deadly virus are gearing up for its potential spread across new borders by pre-positioning supplies, training health workers, identifying isolation centres, and disseminating prevention campaign messages, among other activities.
Countries that share a land border with the affected countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, and Mali, are considered to be most at risk.
"It is vitally important that, countries - especially surrounding countries that don't have Ebola cases as of yet - are prepared for a worst case scenario," said Pieter Desloovere, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO).
In August, WHO issued an Ebola Response Roadmap to help countries across the region limit the spread of the virus. One of its three objectives is to strengthen the ability of all countries to detect and deal with any potential cases.
"The reason that Ebola started in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia and other countries is that no one was paying attention," said Grev Hunt, the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF's) sub-regional coordinator for the Ebola outbreak. "We were caught unaware. But now, we are paying very close attention to what is going on and making sure the same thing won't happen again."
Unlike in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where response plans and training materials had to be created from scratch, UNICEF is now replicating those resources and giving them to neighbouring countries, saving time and effort.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says they have put in place Ebola preparedness and response activities in 11 countries across West Africa, and many local and international NGOs have been pre-positioning medical supplies, training health workers and educating the public.
"Failing to plan is actually planning to fail," said Unni Krishnan, the head of disaster preparedness and response for Plan International. "And we know from previous disasters that a dollar you put towards preparedness... tends to save thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of lives."
Key to prevention and preparedness in at-risk countries is having access to timely funding, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Senegal currently has US$5.7 million at the ready to use towards Ebola preparation and prevention.
Mali has around $3.6 million and Côte d'Ivoire $2.9 million. In Guinea Bissau, where the health system is extremely weak, only $800,000 is currently available for Ebola-related activities. "It's quite a fragile situation right now," said Daniel Sanha, a communication officers for the Guinea Bissau Red Cross. "We have a contingency plan in place, but the Red Cross still has no funds to implement any Ebola intervention activities. At the same time, the government doesn't have enough funds or equipment to take all the necessary precautions."
Mass public education campaigns
National media campaigns, including radio shows, TV programmes and other on-air broadcasts, are now under way in all sub-regional countries to educate people about Ebola and give them enough information to protect themselves, as well as to prevent rumours and misunderstandings from spreading.
"This is the first time we have had an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and part of the challenge we are facing is that people have no idea what the disease actually is or how it is spread," Desloovere said.
Volunteers in Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau are handing out pamphlets and flyers door to door, as well as posting them in public areas. Social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, along with text messages to mobile phone subscribers, are being used by Health Ministries and aid agencies to transmit information and to remind people to practise safe hygiene measures, and to go to a clinic if they detect symptoms.
UNICEF says the messages, which have all been approved by the Ministries of Health, are transmitted in local languages and in culturally appropriate ways. Rather than urging families not to bury their dead in the traditional way, for instance, aid agencies work with communities to find a safer burial procedure that both are comfortable with.
"Our message is very simple," said Buba Darbo, the head of disaster management for the Gambian Red Cross. "Don't touch a sick person, don't touch a dead body. If everyone follows this advice they will prevent themselves from getting Ebola."
Some messaging specifies that people should avoid shaking hands as a gesture of greeting.
Aid agencies have also begun working with religious leaders and local community leaders to spread messages about what to do, and not do, in case of possible Ebola infections.
Health worker training
Doctors and nurses across the region are being trained to spot possible cases, as well as to follow protocol for reporting suspected cases, how to prevent any further contamination and how to protect themselves.
"Educating and protecting our health workers is a top priority," said Ibrahima Sy, a grants manager and health expert with the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA). "We need to put at their disposal all the materials they need to avoid contamination, and arm them with the information they need to avoid further spread of this virus."
In Côte d'Ivoire, for example, the Red Cross has been conducting staged simulations of Ebola cases, so that health workers know exactly what to do if they encounter a suspected case.
"We hope Ebola never comes here, but if a case were to be declared today, with the emergency health system we have in place, we are ready to take charge of it," said Franck Kodjo, the communications officer for Côte d'Ivoire's Red Cross. "All the actors, from the Ministry of Health to the local volunteers, we are prepared to take it on."
Other countries, such as The Gambia, have been training healthcare workers on how to handle the dead bodies of suspected cases.
Thus far over 300 health workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola, according to WHO.
Specialized prevention and response teams
To help coordinate prevention efforts and put such measures in place, many countries have created multi-sectorial committees to implement the measures. Senegal's National Crisis Committee, for example, now has a 10-committee unit dedicated to Ebola prevention and containment. They have been working with the Ministry of Health and other key partners, including the Senegalese Red Cross and WHO, to engage in activities such as resource mobilization, media and communication, surveillance, logistics, security and clinical care. The Gambia has a similar seven-committee Ebola response unit, which works alongside the government and various health partners and NGOs to implement prevention measures.
Items such as soap, chlorine, gloves, disinfectant materials, medicines, medical equipment, and hygiene kits are being stocked in countries across the region. In Mali, protection kits have also been given to some of the volunteers who are involved in contact tracing and mass education campaigns.
Identifying isolation and treatment centres
Some treatment centres and isolation units in at-risk countries have been pre-identified, but not in sufficient numbers, say aid agency staff.
Cameroon now has isolation centres and laboratories in selected hospitals throughout the country, as well as a quarantine zone in the Southwest Region of the country, near the Nigerian border. The Gambia has also established three Ebola treatment centres: one in the greater Banjul area, the second in the country's "middle belt", and the third in the far east. Senegal has established an isolation unit and has testing facilities at its Institute Pasteur, as do the Institute Pasteur in Côte d'Ivoire and laboratories in Mali. Guinea-Bissau has not yet identified isolation units.
Border closings and surveillance measures
Despite strong recommendations by WHO not to close borders, or to restrict travel to or from the affected countries, seven African countries have decided not to allow anyone from an Ebola-affected country in or out. Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, for example, have shut all land, sea and air borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Guinea Bissau has closed its land borders with Guinea, and Guinea, in an attempt to contain the outbreak, has shut its land borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Cameroon has also closed its land and air borders with Nigeria though refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks have been crossing the border.
All countries in the sub-region now have health workers posted at all main border crossings and points of entry, including the airports, where incoming travellers are screened for Ebola-like symptoms.
In Nigeria, where 21 cases have been confirmed, health workers are also going around communities to check people's temperatures and seek out the sick. Many schools, shops and restaurants now have handwashing stations set up outside their doors.
"It has become an everyday sight to see temperature-taking devices both at major border crossings, as well as hospitals and offices," said O. Nwakpa, of the Nigerian Red Cross. "They take our temperature and give you hand sanitizer each time you enter a building."
In Mauritania, not only do incoming travellers go through health checks, but outgoing travellers do as well, as the capital, Nouakchott, is considered a "last stop" before Europe.
Many communities in border areas most at risk have also created neighborhood watch programmes, in which people are encouraged to report anyone who shows Ebola-like symptoms.
Countries, such as Burkina Faso and Senegal, have set up toll-free numbers for people to call and report suspected cases.
Restricting public gatherings
To avoid potential bodily contact, many countries, such as The Gambia, have restricted or prohibited large public gatherings.
In Burkina Faso, the government has cancelled important high-level meetings, including the African Union Employment and Poverty Reeducation conference, which was scheduled to be held in the first week of September.
NGOs and health volunteers across the region say they have stopped performing educational theatre sketches on Ebola for fear of encouraging crowds to gather.
jl/bo/aj/cb100645 201407311238290807.jpg News Health West Africa gears up to contain Ebola IRIN DAKAR/OUAGADOUGOU Burkina Faso Benin Côte d’Ivoire Cameroon Cape Verde Gabon Ghana Gambia Guinea Equatorial Guinea Guinea-Bissau Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Sierra Leone Senegal Sao Tome and Principe Chad Togo Samoa West Africa Africa
|The hidden role of women in monitoring nineteenth-century african weather. Instrumental observations in Equatorial Guinea Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache|| Cruz Gallego, M. y Dominguez Castro, Fernando y Vaquero, José M. y García Herrera, Ricardo (2011) The hidden role of women in monitoring nineteenth-century african weather. Instrumental observations in Equatorial Guinea. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92 (3). pp. 315-324. ISSN 0003-0007 |
|World: Security Council: Climate-Related Security Risks Cache Translate Page Web Page Cache|
Source: UN Security Council
Country: Iraq, Somalia, World
11 JULY 2018
8307TH MEETING (AM)
Note: A complete summary of today's Security Council meeting will be made available after its conclusion.
AMINA MOHAMMED, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared: “It is clear that climate change is a real threat and is proceeding at a relentless pace.” The years 2015, 2016 and 2017 were the three warmest years on record, carbon dioxide levels continue to rise and resulting droughts, wildfires, heat waves and floods are being witnessed around the world. While no country will be spared from those effects, they disproportionately impact socially vulnerable and marginalized groups. “We must act together, with a joint vision and a commitment to multilateral cooperation,” she said, stressing that the impacts of climate change will go beyond the strictly environmental and “is inextricably linked to some of the most pressing challenges of our time”. Fragile countries are at risk of becoming stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster; where resilience is eroded, communities may be displaced and exposed to exploitation. Citing the drastic shrinking of Lake Chad — by more than 90 per cent since the 1960s — she said the resulting environmental degradation, socioeconomic marginalization and insecurity affects some 45 million people.
Recalling that she had grown up in that region, she emphasized that she had seen the impact of climate change with her own eyes — “it is real”. Meanwhile, the Boko Haram insurgency in north-east Nigeria and neighbouring countries has left more than 10 million people displaced and resulted in massive destruction of infrastructure, health and educational facilities, commercial buildings, private houses and agricultural assets. The multidimensional nature of those crises underlined the complex relationship between climate change and conflict, she said, urging Council members to view climate change as “one issue in a web of factors that can lead to conflict”. It acts as a multiplier, applying additional stress on prevailing political, social and economic pressure points. Acting on climate change is urgent, and an integral part of building a culture of prevention and ensuring peace, she said. Outlining various ways the United Nations is currently tackling the risks posed by climate change — in particular in the Lake Chad Basin, West Africa, the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa — she said the Organization takes seriously its responsibilities and stands determined to fully mobilize against the phenomenon.
In that vein, she cited the Secretary-General’s forthcoming report in conjunction with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), which will report on recent developments including the climate-security nexus in the region. The recalibrated United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel is also taking a climate-oriented focus, prioritizing building resilience, improving the management of natural resources and decreasing malnutrition and food insecurity. At the international level, the United Nations helped to connect efforts to combat climate change and ensure that its related frameworks are linked up and complement one another. In September, the Secretary-General will convene a climate summit to galvanize greater climate ambition for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Going forward, she said, the world also needed to push towards getting its greenhouse‑gas emissions under control — namely, well below the 2°C target — and to pursue the 1.5°C target as agreed in the Paris Agreement. Further work must place women at the heart of such efforts, as they remain disproportionately affected by climate change, and the United Nations should work to build institutional capacity and foster partnerships in impacted regions.
HASSAN AL-JANABI, Minister for Water Resources of Iraq, said the debate is a step forward regarding international responses to new challenges, as climate change has a negative impact on the pillars of peace. Rising temperatures exacerbate other threats and risks, increasing their complexity and intensity while making it impossible for countries to implement the Sustainable Development Goals amid growing numbers of displaced persons and migrants desperately looking to improve their lives. Major river basins in Iraq and the rest of the region are subject to the greatest ever threat, resulting from climate change, as well as competition for shared water resources.
He said the absence of implementable bilateral and multilateral agreements or regional frameworks for the equitable use of shared water is contributing to potential conflicts that could and should be avoided. The combined effect of climate change consequences, including a reported 25 per cent decline in rainfall and snowfall, and the operational modes of large dams that reduced the rate of inflows by 50 per cent in the Euphrates River since 1998 has triggered desertification, shrinking green cover and rising temperatures while reducing land productivity. This is true for the whole region, as climate change and water depletion are destroying soil fertility and causing food insecurity.
The international community must intervene to enhance resilience and stability in fragile areas, he said. In taking proactive and preventive actions, the global community can avoid humanitarian tragedies, typically most heavily felt by women, children and vulnerable groups. Many of the measures required may be legally binding on member States of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and compatible with commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. Providing an example, he said excessive water use and the diversion of ancient rivers are among factors that led to the environmentally deteriorating Iraqi delta of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Efforts to revive marshlands at the confluence of the great rivers in Mesopotamia have returned life and the native population to the area after decades, leading the area to be enlisted in 2016 as a World Heritage Site. In the face of current water scarcity, the Site could only be saved if effective and cooperative regional approaches are implemented and Member States’ obligations to relevant conventions are met.
Turning to other threats, he said Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) has wreaked havoc on the population and the land and its resources. An approach to the phenomenon of terrorism requires a coordinated, international and regional approach to extinguish hotspots threating peace and security, with Goal 13 on climate change being beneficial to the region. Iraq fully supports diplomatic means to solve water scarcity issues, including through “water diplomacy” and similar initiatives intending to maintain the security of the planet with a view to creating an environment of trust and cooperation.
HINDOU IBRAHIM, International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, said that the Security Council must address climate change as a security risk. Climate change is humiliating millions of people by trapping the poorest in poverty. In the Sahel, 90 per cent of the economy relies on agriculture and pastoralism. A heat wave and drought has the potential to immediately hurt the economy and the people, she added. At the regional level, climate change contributes to reinforcing terrorist groups as they take advantage of poverty to recruit the youngest and most fragile. Climate change also creates insecurity at the international level. Take a man in the Sahel, for example, she said. He must take care of his family, feed them and pay for his children’s education. He has two choices: either he can join a terrorist group, that can pay him with money coming from illegal activities, or he can try to cross the Mediterranean Sea to find a job in Europe.
Even in the smallest nomadic community you can find a bottle of Coca Cola, but you cannot find electricity or a radio, she said. “Why give them things that are useless, but not things that can help them and keep them in peace,” she asked. Invest in the local development, she urged the international community, stressing also the need to directly invest in local people and their well-being. Development projects are often limited to big cities, ignoring the people living far from town. She urged the international community to give hope to the young in the Sahel. “They do not have a choice but you do have a choice,” she stressed, adding: “You must give them something beyond hope, because they do not deserve to just survive, they deserve a life.”
MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Council President for July, spoke in her national capacity, noting that, during her recent visit to the Sahel region, she met with people dealing first hand with the everyday consequences that a changing climate was having on peace and security. Migrants and refugees are displaced by droughts and floods and traditional livelihoods, such as fishing and farming have evaporated, giving rise to tensions.
“The link between climate and security continues to be a priority for Sweden in this Council,” she said, calling on the organ to “catch up with the changing reality on the ground”. It has been seven years since the Council last debated climate and security, and it is far past time to further discuss how climate change interacts with the drivers of conflict. In that regard, she stressed that the Council first needs to better understand climate-related security risks themselves; it must develop improved tools and reporting on the issue; it should support the establishment of an institutional home for climate and security‑related issues within the United Nations system; and it must frame its response based on the efforts of countries on the front line, learning from their experiences and good practices.
EUGENE RHUGGENAATH, Prime Minister of Curaçao, speaking on behalf of the Netherlands, said that, where climate change threatens international security, the Council has a responsibility to act, pressing delegates to imagine if, 15 years ago, they could have foreseen the millions of people in the Lake Chad region needing relief from water stress, or those in Somalia displaced by severe drought. By responding in a timely manner to warning signs of climate-related security risks “we can adequately address root causes, prevent instability and conflict, and sustain peace”, he said. The Council must ensure action by the United Nations, both in New York and in the affected countries, notably through greater analytic capability, needed for risk assessments, conflict analysis and early warning. It also should encourage conflict- and climate-sensitive prevention and development efforts, as well as encourage the Secretary-General to include climate‑related risks in his reports to the Council, when appropriate. Institutionalized cooperation, properly coordinated across the Organization, was also vital.
YERZHAN ASHIKBAYEV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said climate change is becoming a central theme throughout the world community. It poses a risk as a “threat multiplier”. Calling for “climate diplomacy” to become a part of the United Nations overall conflict prevention efforts, he said it should also be treated as an underpinning concept in sustaining peace — not an end process, but one which ran parallel to prevention, resolution, recovery and rehabilitation. He also called for better climate-related security risk assessments and management strategies, stronger international cooperation, more joint projects to build the capacity of developing countries and investments in new diversified economies. Kazakhstan, for its part, has taken voluntary action to cut its use of fossil fuels by 2030 and replace it with renewable energy by 2050.
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) said the nexus between climate and security “is not an abstract risk” but one that already threatens lives and livelihoods around the world. The shocking estimate that 720 million people are at risk of being pushed into poverty by 2050 by climate change could also mean reversing the major gains of recent years. “We are working against ourselves if we don’t take action against this,” she stressed, noting that the United Kingdom is committed to championing efforts to build greater resilience to climate change in collaboration with a range of actors. It has also committed $7.7 billion in international climate finance, and is among the first countries to carry out a national climate risk assessment.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) underscored the vital importance of understanding the humanitarian crises and conflicts sparked in part by climate change, as well as the threats they pose to international peace and security. The Council must strengthen and harmonize its coordination with those United Nations bodies and agencies charged with addressing the impacts of climate change while fully respecting the mandates of those offices. Spotlighting Peru’s particular vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, he said the retreat of High Andes tropical glaciers has led to floods and other serious challenges. The Council must better shape its decisions, on a case-by-case basis, informed by a stronger understanding of such evolving, modern challenges as climate change. In that vein, he asked the Council to consider a correct assessment of climate risks — as well as the tools required to mitigate them — and to collaborate more closely with a wider range of partners.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said the Council should consider phenomena such as natural disasters — as well as others that impacted populations and caused widespread displacement — in its work. “In response to these crises, we are all on the same side,” he said, noting that the United States currently applied innovative solutions to assist countries around the globe. In that regard, he described projects aimed at restoring access to water and electricity to Iraqi communities formerly under the control of ISIL/Da’esh, adding that it had contributed $265 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization in Iraq since 2015. Outlining a range of other joint projects — including alongside the Governments of the Netherlands and Sweden — he said the United States is also listening carefully to developments in the Lake Chad Basin region and recognized the special challenges faced by small island developing States.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that not a day goes by without someone falling victim to the adverse effects to climate change, whether it be drought, salinization or other threats. “We cannot turn a blind eye to the situation,” he said, urging the international community to tackle this existential challenge. “Each lost day heightens the magnitude of the threat,” he warned. The fact that Council Members are here discussing climate change in no way undermines the Paris Agreement and other multilateral frameworks on climate change. Each country must establish ambitious climate policies. This way, the international community will be positioned to keep the average global temperature in check. The international community must decide to cooperate to tackle the impacts of climate change. It is time to craft recommendations and measures that will be implemented by Governments worldwide to address the adverse impacts of climate change and protect and restore biodiversity.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said today’s Council meeting is disappointing and not because his country objects to collective efforts to address climate change. The meeting is another attempt to link the issue of environmental conservation to international peace and security. “We are creating an illusion that the Council will tackle climate issues and that there will be some kind of turning point,” he added, stressing that this is simply a “misguidance”. Climate change is a grave threat, however, the Council does not have the expertise or the mechanisms to effectively counter its effects. Climate change is not a universal challenge to be addressed as a matter of international peace and security. It should be addressed within national borders and with specialized approaches and solutions. Each United Nations agency and department must operate within its area of responsibility. Some say climate change is a threat multiplier, yet fail to acknowledge the adverse consequences of violent military operations and unilateral sanctions, as evident from experiences in Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria. No one today has mentioned the great damage caused by bombings or the subsequent health hazards caused to the people living there. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing of Yugoslavia caused a spike in cancer among people living in the affected area. In Libya, the bombing of oil fields led to significant damage to the atmosphere, he said, also noting the adverse effects of the intervention in Syria and the fighting in Donetsk, Ukraine. The Russian Federation stood ready to and is already contributing to efforts to combat climate change. However, today’s discussion is a departure from practical action.
VERÓNICA CORDOVA SORIA (Bolivia) said developing countries continue to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. Between 2000 and 2013, 211 million people were affected by extreme and catastrophic disasters. Some of the most industrial countries are shirking their responsibilities, she said, stressing the need to address the capitalist and excessive consumption models. Climate change represents an existential threat, loss of biodiversity and a loss of food security. The shortage of natural resources can further flame tensions. The adverse impact of climate change brings in its wake a range of direct and indirect consequences, violating many basic human rights. “We need to pursue a cooperative and coordinated approach,” she added, expressing concern that large military empires have destroyed entire civilizations to seize oil and other resources. The inequality between States is immoral and intolerable, she added.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) called on Council members to draw lessons from today’s meeting, especially regarding the need to “not be partial” on such critical issues as climate change. He called for concerted global action and described the 2015 adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as “multilateralism at its best”. In some circumstances, climate change could create conditions leading to conflict or exacerbate it, he said, spotlighting the high risk of cross-border conflicts or tensions around natural resources. However, it is important to note that climate-related environmental changes do not automatically result in conflict. In that regard, he called for enhanced efforts to address the root causes of such climate-induced problems as mass migration and displacement. Such global accords as the Paris Agreement are prerequisites in that regard, he said, noting that developed countries should fulfil their commitments under those agreements, assisting developing nations to meet their climate change mitigation needs.
MA ZHAOXU (China) said the international community should work together to address climate change by “actively rising up to existing challenges”. That means providing assistance to developing countries, including through technology transfer. Meanwhile, States must uphold the international principles of equality and justice, respect global climate-related agreements, reject “zero-sum mentalities” and promote win-win outcomes. The international community should implement the Paris Agreement while also adhering to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respecting differences in the circumstances of States. Calling on the global community to build a new concept of common, comprehensive security and sustainable development, he said China has long participated in global action on climate change, including in the context of South-South cooperation, and remains committed to assisting other countries going forward.
ILAHIRI ALCIDE DJEDJE (Côte d’Ivoire), noting that the impact of climate change could create fertile ground for the activities of extremist groups, he said the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel regions symbolize the environmental challenges being faced across the entire African continent. Against that backdrop, United Nations bodies should “go beyond usual divisions” in an effort to reverse the arc of climate change, he stressed, calling on the Council to effectivity analyse the root causes of climate-related conflicts and take action to address them. Describing a large and alarming depletion in Côte d’Ivoire’s forest cover, as well as instances of drought and water scarcity, he said such challenges could compound demographic shifts, displacement and food insecurity. This is especially true where Boko Haram and other criminal networks have taken root, he said, associating himself with the outcomes of a recent African Union Peace and Security Council public debate on the nexus between climate change and conflict. Those include calls for more support for African nations struggling with those issues, as well as more action at the subregional level, he said.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said international peace and security are threatened by many factors. Climate change exacerbates existing risks and has a direct impact at the core of human life. It shrinks the availability of resources, flaming conflict and tensions. Climate‑related issues should be mainstreamed in all reports submitted to the Council. This would help Member States tackle its adverse effects. He urged the need to improve the analysis and information available on climate change to help the United Nations make informed decisions.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland) said the Security Council is instrumental to enhancing United Nations response towards conflicts, in particular in the context of conflict prevention in regions affected by adverse effects of climate change, such as the Lake Chad Basin, West Africa, the Sahel and Somalia. The Council should also underline the need for better climate-related security risk assessment and management strategies. “We cannot overestimate the critical role of reliable data about climate‑change‑related risks which is key to avoid conflicts, build resilience and prevent natural disasters,” he said. Regular discussions on climate change and security in the Council could complement other deliberations being carried out throughout the United Nations.
For information media. Not an official record.