UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres yesterday urged the world to act at the upcoming pre-COP27 climate talks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) against what he called “a life-or-death struggle for our own safety today and our survival tomorrow”.
Humanity has experience “immense” climate impacts across the world this summer, he told media at the UN headquarters in New York ahead of the Kinshasa talks, which pave the way for COP27 – the UN’s 27th summit-level gathering on climate change, due to take place in Egypt next month.
“A third of Pakistan flooded. Europe’s hottest summer in 500 years. The Philippines hammered. The whole of Cuba in black-out,” he said. “And here, in the United States, Hurricane Ian has delivered a brutal reminder that no country and no economy is immune from the climate crisis.”
“We know people and nations are suffering now ... failure to act on loss and damage will lead to more loss of trust and more climate damage,” the UN chief continued. “This is a moral imperative that cannot be ignored and COP27 must be the place for action on loss and damage.”
Delegates from over 50 countries are attending the two-day informal talks in Kinshasa, including US climate envoy John Kerry.
The event winds up tomorrow with side discussions.
No formal announcements are expected in what is billed as a ground-clearing exercise ahead of the next month’s conference, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 6-18.
Greater support from wealthier countries, historically the world’s biggest carbon polluters, to their poorer counterparts is expected to dominate the talks.
The United Nations meanwhile revised up its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan five-fold to $816mn from $160mn as it seeks to control a surge in water-borne diseases following the country’s worst floods in decades, an official said yesterday.
Nearly 1,700 people have been killed in floods caused by heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers in a crisis that the government and the UN have blamed on climate change.
“We are now entering a second wave of death and destruction” Julien Harneis, UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Pakistan said at a Geneva briefing.
“There will be an increase in child morbidity and it will be pretty terrible unless we act rapidly to support the government in increasing the provision of health, nutrition and water and sanitation services across the affected areas,” he said.
A girl carries a bottle of water that she filled from nearby stranded floodwaters, at a camp in Sehwan, Pakistan, where her family has taken refuge.