Roundup: Addressing Italy's senate, UN chief renews appeal for global commitment on climate, migration


Addressing Italian senate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appealed for a renewed commitment on global challenges, and especially on climate change and migration.

A special session was held at the upper house to listen to the keynote speech of UN chief, who had arrived in Italy on Tuesday night.

"The climate crisis is no longer a long-term problem... It is here, and it is now," Guterres said.

He stressed the highest climate-related risks were for people living in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries that "were contributing the least to greenhouse gas emission yet were suffering the most."

"I am disappointed, as I said in the aftermath of the meeting, with the results of the climate talks, COP25, in Madrid," Guterres explained.

He referred to the UN Climate Change Conference held in the Spanish capital on Dec. 2-15, during which negotiators failed to reach a deal on global carbon market rules as enshrined in Art. 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

"The international community missed an opportunity to show increased ambition in mitigation, adaptation and finance in order to be able to tackle the climate crisis," he explained.

Nonetheless, the UN Secretary-General said he wanted to send a message "of hope, not of despair."

"We will not give up. It was clear at the talks that most countries are still determined to advance more ambitious climate action, and that businesses and financial institutions are moving ahead."

"The scientific community tells us the roadmap to stay below 1.5 degrees is still within reach, if we act now... The technologies needed are already available, and the signs of hope are multiplying," he added.

A most important signal on this emergency, according to Guterres, was that young generation were mobilizing and taking the lead in the fight against climate change around the world.

Yet, he added more political will was needed, stressing that the next Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be hosted by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy next year -- would be "a defining moment."

"We must meet the expectations of developing countries for resources and support towards climate adaptation and mitigation... we cannot ignore the social dimensions of the transition in energy," he said.

The second major topic addressed by Guterres was migration. He praised Italy, as well as Greece, for the "openness, care, and compassion" showed towards migrants and refugees in latest years, noting that the help so far received from EU partners could have been stronger.

"European Mediterranean countries that receive refugees and migrants -- like Greece and Italy -- are entitled to solidarity and support from their European partners," he said.

"Unfortunately, until now, we have not seen that solidarity and support fully materialized."

Once again, the UN chief pointed out migration was a global issue in need of "collective responses" that should include more development programs for young people, and an increase in regular pathways for migration and resettlement of refugees.

In early afternoon, Guterres held talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, while a meeting with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was scheduled in early evening, according to the PM's office.

On Thursday, Guterres will take part in a ceremony for the 25th anniversary of the UN Global Service Center (UNGSC) in the southern city of Brindisi, together with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, according to a ministry's statement.(2019-12-19 Xinhua)

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