News in Brief 06 November 2017 (AM)

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The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, or COP23, in Bonn, Germany. UN Social Media Team / Karin Orantes

Climate change conference aims for “next level” on tackling global warming

The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, or COP23, opened in Bonn, Germany, on Monday, aiming to launch nations towards “the next level of ambition” when it comes to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

COP23 comes just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Agreement, and it’s hoping to further fuel momentum among cities, states, region, territories, businesses and civil society groups, in support of national climate action plans.

It’s also a core component of the whole 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

COP23 is being presided over by Fiji, which is the first small island developing state to hold the role, which is fighting for its survival against rising sea levels; one byproduct of global warming.

Fiji’s ambassador to the UN and chief negotiator for the COP Presidency, is Nazhat Shameen Khan.

“We expect the negotiations on the Paris Agreement work programme to advance, substantially. We expect consensus to develop around a document which measures progress in order that there’s a basis for negotiations next year, and we expect the launch of the facilitative dialogue at this COP in order that in 2018 the states can be engaged with non-state actors as well.”

Hunger crisis will continue in South Sudan, despite drop in food insecurity

South Sudan’s hunger crisis is set to continue, despite a drop in those suffering severe food insecurity across the country.

That’s according to the updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) released on Monday by the government of South Sudan, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian partners.

The arrival of harvest season is likely to see severe hunger drop to 4.8 million to the end of the year, down from six million in June.

However, that figure of 4.8 million is 1.4 million desperate civilians more than the same time last year.

Conflict is on-going in many parts of the world’s youngest country, and hyperinflation makes food unaffordable for many, says the IPC.

“Finding a peaceful solution to this man-made tragedy should be the top priority, or the situation will get even worse next year”, said Serge Tissot, FAO’s Representative in South Sudan.

Focus on support for Lebanese institutions, urges UN chief

Following the sudden resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday, UN chief António Guterres said he hoped that all sides would focus on bolstering the country’s state institutions.

In a statement, the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson said the UN remained “committed to supporting the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon”.

According to news reports, Mr Hariri stepped down in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia, denouncing the country’s Hezbollah group, and saying that he feared for his life.

The UN works on multiple fronts to assist the Lebanese people and government, including through the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

World day highlights urgency to place environment first in conflict prevention

Conflict over natural resources presents a serious threat to security and “the world needs to understand that killing the environment means killing ourselves”.

That’s the strong warning from Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) marking the “International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict,” observed annually on 6 November.

Despite the worrying trend that natural resources may amplify armed conflicts, Mr Solheim said the opportunities to link the environment and peacebuilding are “significant.”

“Let’s also not forget the power of environmental cooperation to drive peace and prosperity,” said Mr Solheim, adding that “there are encouraging signs that the world is beginning to wake up to this need.”

In this connection, Mr Solheim announced an innovative online course, developed by UNEP and partners, on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace.

“The goal is to build a new community of 10,000 practitioners that can make natural resources a reason for cooperation rather than conflict,” he said.

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration: 3’52″